How ISPs and Email Providers are In Control of Spam

June 28, 2012 | Email Marketing, Spam Compliance

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In my last two posts (7 rules to follow to comply with the CAN-SPAM act and What is the Legal Definition of Spam?) I outlined the legal definition of spam as determined by the FTC when it put together the CAN-SPAM act of 2003.

I think we can all agree that this law has done nothing to decrease the amount of spam we all receive.

Everyone hates spam

Face it, we all hate getting spam. But, if you are trying to use an e-newsletter as a marketing tool you need to understand what is going on to try and diminish spam.

Everyone hates spam, so nearly everyone is happy when a tool or service is applied that reduces the number of spam emails that reach our inbox. Our email providers know this. Whether you get your email through work, through your home ISP, or a third party email service such as gmail, or hotmail. We all hate being bothered sorting and trashing unwanted emails. In an effort to try and help us, these email providers are trying to block spam.

But what rules do they use to determine if something is spam?

They are using a combination of rules and checks to make a determination if something is spam. Some of the ways that classify something as spam include:

  • Using an old email address that is no longer valid. ISPs keep these as markers.
  • Using subject lines and content that seem like spam. Viagra, money transfers, FREE! special offers, etc. can all be triggers.
  • They are watching the actions of people who receive your email. Do they open it, trash it, or mark it as junk or spam?
  • They sometimes even look at an email to see if it looks like spam.

In my experience, over the past 18 months or so, we’ve seen an incredible rise in the number of complaints of legitimate businesses being unfairly marked as spammers.

As your list grows, you will probably run into more and more issues with this. Here is a screen shot of how you can see if you are being blocked by any individual domains or ISPs when using the Mail on the Mark system.

Report showing soft bounces, hard bounces and domain blocks

If your emails are getting blocked, let us know so that we can work with the ISPs and see if we can resolve the matter.


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