Why your emails are not reaching your recipients in-box

November 11th, 2005 | By Mark Lewis | No Comments

You may have noticed that sometimes your emails being sent to valid email addresses are not reaching your recipients. In a recent study by Assurance Systems indicated that as much as 12 percent of all email messages sent to valid addresses are not ending up at their intended destination. These messages, industry labeled an unknown bounce, are becoming a new area of focus.

The definition of an unknown bounce is when ISP?s divert your email message to a junk or bulk-mail folder. When this happens, you are not aware of it because you are not returned any information telling you this has happened.

There are several reasons why email may not be delivered to a valid email address:

  • SPAM/BULK FOLDER – ISPs may accept your message and label it as spam or bulk, resulting in a non-delivery or a delivery to a bulk/spam folder.
  • FULL INBOX – when a recipients inbox is full, incoming messages will soft-bounce
  • OVERLOADED SERVERS- Due to issues such as worms or spam overload, email servers may become taxes during periods of high volume, resulting in a soft bounce.
  • FALSE POSITIVE – Up to half of all email is spam. To combat this issue, ISPs have a number of filters in place to identify spam. These include content filters, volume filters and black lists.

The False Positive Problem

A Flase Positive is when a legitimate email is incorrectly identified as spam. Understanding the types of false positives:

  • Content-Based Filters - Content-based filters block email messages based on words, phrases, symbols and other content-based identifiers and label them as spam.
  • Volume-Based Filters - Spammers typically send many messages at once, and ISPs use volume identification to combat bulk spammers. If messages exceed a certain volume threshold, the email messages will be blocked, labeled as spam or redirected to a junk mail folder.
  • Blacklists - Blacklists are simply a list of IP addresses that have been identified as an originating source of spam. There are several hundred blacklists in use today, and even legitimate email marketers may end up on one for any of several reasons.

How Email Transmit Handles the False Positive Problem

Obviously we can’t control every circumstance that could result in a false positive. However, we continually work to make sure our service keeps your false positive number at a minimum. How we achieve this:

  • We’re legitimate. We do everything we can to keep our servers and our outgoing messages to be as legitimate as possible- that means we follow all proper and logical email procedures and best practices.
  • We check the blacklists. On a frequent basis we make sure Email Transmit has not been incorrectly identified as source of spam.
  • We get on the whitelists. We work with ISPs and businesses to get on their whitelists (a list which does not question emails from identified legitimate sources).
  • We work with our clients. If a client notices a large number of false positives, we check their lists and messages to try and identify why this may have happened.

What you can do to reduce false positives

Occasionally you may notice false positives in your campaign. To reduce this, make sure your content does not contain any content that may trigger a spam filter, and make sure you are not sending massive amounts of email to any one domain at a time. If you do need to reach a domain with large volume messages on a recurring basis, contact Email Transmit so we can work with that domain to ensure proper delivery.

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