CategoryDelivery Improvement

Life of an Email

I’m repeating the presentation I gave at M3AAWG in London for the Certified Senders Alliance.It’s all about how to send an email by hand, and how knowing the mechanics of how an email is sent can help us diagnose email delivery issues.We’re starting in about five hours from when I post this.Register at

Sending email

I did a class at M3AAWG teaching the basic mechanics of sending an email, both really by hand using dig and netcat, and using SWAKS. No slides, but if you’re interested in the script I’ve posted a very rough copy of my working notes here.

Step by Step guide to fixing Gmail delivery

I regularly see folks asking how to fix their Gmail delivery. This is a perennial question (see my 2019 post and the discussions from various industry experts in the comments). Since that discussion I haven’t seen as much complaining about problems. There are steps that work to get delivery fixed at Gmail. Verify that your mail is actually going to bulk. I had one client that had a bad /...

When opens hurt reputation

Podia has scraped the Word to the Wise blog and I’m currently receiving an ongoing drip campaign from them absolutely begging me to mention them in my blog post on cold emails. I get maybe a dozen of this style of email a week. It’s pretty annoying but whatever. I delete them, blog about them or, very occasionally, share them with some folks who might have a big bigger of a stick to...

Purging to prevent spamtraps

Someone recently asked when they should purge addresses to remove spamtraps. To my mind this is actually the wrong question. Purging addresses that don’t engage is rarely about spamtraps, it’s about your overall communication processes. Well maintained traps will actively bounce mail for 6 – 12 months before turning the address into a trap. In those cases it’s mostly the whole...

An open is not permission

A decade or so ago I was helping a client troubleshoot a Spamhaus listing. They, as many companies do, had a database with addresses from a number of different sources. Spamhaus was asking for them to reconfirm the entire database, which they didn’t want to do. I came up with the idea that if we had some sign of activity on the email address, like an open or a click and some other...

Measurements

One of the things I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about lately is how we measure deliverability. Standard deliverability measurements include: opens, bounces, complaints, and clicks. There are also other tools like probe accounts, panel data, and public blocklists. Taken together these measurements and metrics give us an overall view of how our mail is doing. More and more...

Gmail suddenly puts mail in the bulk folder

One of the delivery challenges that regularly comes up in various delivery discussion spaces is the “Gmail suddenly put my mail in spam.” From my perspective, there is rarely a “suddenly” about Gmail’s decision making process. As I was answering one of these questions I had a number of thoughts. I’ll share them here on the blog so I can find them in the future...

Dead addresses tell us things

There was confirmation this week that the increase in “user unknown” messages from Yahoo is actually Yahoo cleaning out abandoned accounts. At the same time a Yahoo is sending out notifications to folks to log into mail. The first thing every sender should do is remove all these Yahoo addresses from their lists. They’re done, kaput. Gone. There are some other things worth doing...

My domain reputation is bad, should I get a new domain?

Many companies have the occasional “oops” where they send email they probably shouldn’t have. This can often cause a decrease in reputation and subsequent delivery problems. Some companies rush to fix things by changing domains. Getting a new domain does not fix the problem! Brand new domains, those registered less than 30 days, have really bad reputations. Blame the spammers...

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