We recently had a customer muse to us "I think there's got to be a phone number at the ISP that we could call, so we can ask them to explain the reason we are being sent to the junk folder." As most of you who read this probably know, well, there isn't such a phone number. But why not?
This has been a long time coming. We've been asked and asked to do this, and so now we finally are. The Email Sending Secrets Insiders Circle.
Challenge response systems have been around long enough now that pretty much everybody has an opinion on them. The end users who use challenge response systems seem to love them. But legitimate email senders often never respond to challenges, and so the end users are actually missing out on a lot of wanted email.
Many email senders rage against the machine - the spam filtering machine, that is. And it's easy to understand why: legitimate email getting caught and misidentified as spam - what we call "false positives" - is a big problem. But, consider this: what would the email world look like without spam filters?
We got the following in the mail this week from United Airlines: "Watch your email during the week at August 11 to receive a valuable limited-time offer from United for international travel this fall." Something has gone horribly wrong when in order for an email marketing campaign to be effective, you first have to send your customers something via the post office to alert them to watch their inbox.
This came into my inbox today. This is an example of just about everything we tell you not to do here. And this is a company that is going to have serious deliverability problems.
Many are asking me what do I think about - and indeed, how do I feel about - this morning's announcement that ReturnPath is acquiring Habeas, the company which I helped to found. And, was I surprised?
One of the most frustrating things for commercial and volume email senders is that different ISPs have different standards for what they require in order to ensure that your email gets delivered. On top of that, many ISPs don't seem to adhere to the agreed industry standards in terms of how their receiving mail servers interact with the sending mail servers - for example five different ISPs may use five different SMTP error codes when they bounce an email because the email address doesn't exist, even though people believe there to be one generally accepted code for that situation (along the lines of "550 user unknown").
A couple of things happened today which reminded me that a) we're all in this together, and b) not everybody realizes or feels that we're all in this together. What I mean is that legitimate email senders and ISPs really want the same thing: they want to not send or deliver email to people who really don't want it, and they want email that is wanted to be delivered to the people who do want it.
One of our mottos is "In all things, be honourable." I demand it of our employees. We insist on it with our customers. I strive for it in my personal interactions. And I expect it of others in our industry. Unfortunately, and always to my surprise (as I am eternally pollyannic), my expectations for honourable behaviour among our colleagues and competitors are not always met.
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