Updated M3AAWG Best Practices for Senders


M3AAWG has published a new version of the Senders Best Common Practices document and the contains a lot of new information since the original publication in 2008. The new document covers how to vet ESP customers, considerations when selecting a dedicated or share IP to send mail, and includes best practices on a number of technical processes.
The Senders Best Common Practices document is targeted at deliverability teams and email marketers. Any company that is sending marketing emails, using an Email Service Provider, or provides an email enabled platform, it’s always good to go back and periodically review your system to ensure nothing was missed and to stay up-to-date on all new recommendations.
A few of the recommendations include the use of the List-Unsubscribe header, publishing a clear WHOIS for domains used for sending mail, and how to process non-delivery report messages.
The List-Unsubscribe header provides an additional way for users to opt-out of email messages. Gmail and Outlook.com both use the presence of the list-unsubscribe header to provide a one-click button to allow the user to unsubscribe from the mailing list. Often enough, if a user cannot find an opt-out link, they’re marking the message as spam. Allowing a recipient to unsubscribe easily is critical to maintaining good delivery reputation.
A WHOIS is query to determine who is the registered user or assignee of a domain name. During a session at the most recent M3AAWG meeting, it was announced that spammers throw away 19 million domains per year. When a postmaster or abuse desk receive a complaint, they’ll often query to see who owns the domain the email was sent from or who owns the domains used in the hyperlinks. If the WHOIS record is out of date or set to private, this limits the ability for the postmaster or abuse desk to reach out to the owner of the domain.
Processing non-deliver reports is critical to maintaining a high delivery reputation. Many ESPs have an acceptable-use-policy that includes a bounce rate. Mailjet recommends a bounce rate of less than 8% and Mandrill recommends less than 5%. If a system is not in place to remove the hard bounces from your mailing list, the sender’s reputation will quickly deteriorate.
The Senders Best Common Practices document can be downloaded at M3AAWG.org.

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