Monday, July 28, 2008

Stay off the Dreaded Blacklist

Most email marketers know about the Can-Spam Act. If you want to stay off the dreaded Blacklist you should follow these simple protocols. When it comes to being in compliance with the Can-Spam act it is simple. You don’t want to run the risk of receiving a penalty that can cost your company time and expense .You want to make sure that you are on the whitelist or that the customer has your domain saved in the address book.

Simple steps you can follow:

  • Keep an eye on your reputation- Make sure you stay up on the law of the Can-Spam act.

  • Allow users to add their email to your list via your web site.

  • Collect email addresses when in contact with customers to build your list of wanted users.

  • Do not use misleading subject lines or headers

  • - The subject line should accurately state what content the email contains. Use Call to action to increase Opens.

    - The “From” , “To” and “Reply-to” email address and domain should state the company the email is coming from

  • There should always be a valid physical address on each email sent out.

  • Allow your users to opt out on receiving emails. This can lessen the chance of more users placing your email in spam to get rid of receiving emails from your company.

  • If a user chooses to unsubscribe or opt out on receiving emails from your company you should honor the request within 10 days the latest.

  • Manage and know what other companies you have hired to do any email advertising for your company.

  • - You want to make sure that they are in compliance as well

It is best practice to stay off spam lists. You want your message to be heard. Being in compliance with the Can-Spam Act will help you stay off the dreaded Blacklist. For more information search Can-Spam Act.

Author: Amarilys Rivera
Editor: Roopal Rawani

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Knowledge is Power Part I - AOL Spam Filters

Let me try and shed some light on AOL’s basic anti-spam architecture as a process flow and how it affects inbound email. There are three main types of spam filters that AOL uses i.e. blacklist filter, reputation filter, and a whitelist filter.

A blacklist filter is when an email is checked against AOL’s internal blacklist. If the sender domain is blacklisted, the mail will be blocked. The reputation filter then reviews the reputation metrics in the form of “abuse data” (spam complaints and spam traps). Once it passes the two filters, the domain is checked by a whitelist filter where it runs a check if the from-address (consisting of the domain) is in the recipient’s address book or if the IP and Domain are on any of their whitelists. Being on AOL’s whitelist allows emails to go through and be place directly into the inboxes with images displayed.

There are more filters used by AOL. However, if enhanced whitelisting status has been achieved with AOL then some or all of these following filters are bypassed. These filters include volume filters, content filters and recipient filters. If the sender domain or IP is not on AOL’s whitelist, the email is then routed through AOL's volume filters. The content filters then applies its proprietary content filtering and Bayesian filtering rules. Recipient Filters are when an email may pass a domain block, recipients personal Bayesian (defined by previous actions) rules or recipient’s personal filters. If an email does not pass these filters the email will be delivered, but then placed in the spam folder or completely blocked.

The best way to improve deliverability with AOL is to setup a Feedback Loop with them to reduce the number of complaints they receive from their end users. AOL has also planned to introduce SPF & DKIM into the reputation model soon. This means they will be using it as a means of authentication and reputation checking for connecting IPs as an added data point to help them determine the final status of email. Keeping content relevant and fresh along with emailing to active users also helps in increasing deliverability.