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Have you audited your program lately?

A few months ago, I got spammed by a major brand. I know their ESP takes abuse seriously, so I sent a note into their abuse desk. It bounced with a 550 user unknown. I sent another note into a different abuse address, it bounced. I sent mail into their corporate HQ, it disappeared into a black hole. I eventually connected with their delivery person and he’d not seen hide nor hair of any complaint. Their entire abuse handling system had broken down and no one noticed.
In the recent past, I was dealing with a client’s SBL listing. We were talking about how their fairly clean subscription process ended up with multiple Spamhaus spamtraps on the list. They mentioned bounce handling, and that they’d not been correctly managing bounces for some period of time. Their bounce handling system was broken and no one noticed.
Last year, I was working with another client. They were looking at why some subscribers were complaining about unsubscribes not taking. A bit of poking at different forms and they realized that one of their old templates pointed to an old website. Their unsubscription form had broken and no one noticed.
Another client insisted that their engagement handling removed any addresses that didn’t open or click on mail. But after ignoring their mail for 6 months, they still hadn’t stopped mailing me. Their engagement handling was broken and no one noticed.
Periodic monitoring would have caught all of these things before they became a big enough problem to result in a Spamhaus listing, or recipient complaints, or lawsuits for failure to honor CAN SPAM. Unfortunately, many companies don’t check to make sure their internal processes are working very often.
Email marketing is not set and forget. You need to monitor what is happening. You need to make sure that your processes are still in place and things are still working.

1 comment

  1. Michael says

    That’s an interesting point. I keep thinking that even though we monitor these routines every week suddenly something changes or doesn’t work anymore. If it’s not monitored for weeks or months it will surely be a problem.

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