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Yesterday we talked about why you should give each of your customers their own IP address.

But for various reasons, not everybody can do that – at least not right away – and so, as promised, today we are going to talk about segregating your outbound mail across different IP addresses based on opt-in quality.

Which, simply put, means that you send all of your confirmed opt-in (double opt-in) email from one IP address, all of your single opt-in email from another IP address, and all of your opt-out (if you’re sending opt-out email, which you’d better not be) from yet another IP address.

Email service providers sometimes modify this system to also segregate their mail streams based on “new customer” versus “long-standing customer with a proven track record of not spamming”.

Now, why would you want to do this?

It goes back to what we discussed yesterday – you don’t want the email which is more likely to have deliverability problems to drag down the email that is being sent using all of the best practices, such as confirmed opt-in. And make no mistake, if your email isn’t confirmed opt-in, it is going to have problems with delivery.

The bottom line here – the driving factor – is that an IP address’ reputation can never be better than that of the WORST email which it sends. Email receivers such as ISPs and spam filters look at the lowest common denominator when it comes to the opt-in level – and the wantedness, if you will – of the email which an IP address sends.

So, if you are sending email to a single opt-in list, and to a confirmed or double opt-in list, from the same IP address, the confirmed opt-in email is going to get treated just like the single opt-in email is by the ISPs and spam filters (that is to say ‘not very well’).

This is because single opt-in email generates far more spam complaints, and because ISPs and spam filters whitelist – and blacklist – based on IP address, and the overall profile of that IP address. If your IP address is generating spam complaints because of it being used to send to single opt-in (or the dreaded opt-out) lists, then that is what the ISPs and spam filters see, and so the delivery of your email to confirmed opt-in lists – if they are going through the same IP address – will be prejudiced by that reputation.

By segregating email so that all of the email to the confirmed opt-in lists – and only email to the confirmed opt-in lists – goes out through one IP address, and all of the email to the lesser quality opt-in lists goes out through another IP address, you ensure that the deliverability issues which the single opt-in lists will generate don’t taint the deliverability of the confirmed opt-in lists.

And there’s another reason to segregate your email across IP addresses – because it provides incentive to move the folks in the single opt-in lists over to a confirmed opt-in list, where they can enjoy far better deliverability. If you are an email service provider, you can tell your customers “if you start using confirmed opt-in, those people can get mailed from our confirmed opt-in IP space, and you’ll enjoy premium deliverability.” If you build your own lists, you’ll see that the deliverability – and thus the ROI – you enjoy from your confirmed opt-in lists and IPs will make taking the time to reconfirm your lists worth it.

[We realize that people are scared to reconfirm lists to create a truly confirmed opt-in list when they have lists with tens of thousands of single opt-in subscribers whom they fear they will lose. We’ll talk about that tomorrow!]

Finally, if you are thinking of becoming certified with us (and of course, we think that you should), segregating your IP addresses allows you to take full advantage of our unique IP address certification and scoring system (but don’t let non-segregation of your IP addresses stop you from applying – we can help you with that too)!


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