Why We’re Careful to Take Account Suspension Seriously

Phillip Merrick
Dec. 21, 2016 by Phillip Merrick

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Every time I think about the dramatic growth of SparkPost (in fact, we are the world’s fastest-growing email delivery service), I am grateful for the trust you’ve shown in our company and the role you’ve allowed us to play in supporting your business.

There are many reasons why SparkPost’s technology is trusted to deliver more than 25% of the world’s non-spam email. Yes, we have a robust and elastic cloud infrastructure that easily scales to meet the needs of the largest senders. And, of course, our remarkable team of email deliverability experts understands the complex needs and challenges faced by developers and email senders. But there’s another reason, as well: we take our responsibility for fighting spam and other abusive email very seriously.

Let’s make no bones about it—spam is a terrible thing. Unchecked, it can overwhelm our inboxes. Some, like phishing or other fraudulent emails, even can be dangerous. That’s why mailbox providers like Gmail and Microsoft have rigorous spam filters and other shields to protect their customers. And it’s why SparkPost goes to great lengths to make sure our email delivery service isn’t used to distribute these harmful emails. (This is something our industry is united on. Although SparkPost is particularly diligent about steps such as domain validation, our peers and competitors take protective measures as well, and we work together in groups like M3AAWG to establish best practices.)

In addition to its impact on recipients, spam also hurts you as an email sender. Proactively managing feedback loop (FBL) and other signals from mailbox providers is critical to maintaining our customers’ deliverability. That’s because sender reputation has a very large effect on how ISPs treat your email.

So I hope it’s clear why we are diligent about preventing email abuse. It begins when you register for a SparkPost account. Every customer agrees to comply with our terms of use and a clear messaging policy that prohibit not only spam and outright fraud, but other inappropriate or illegal uses as well. And although I won’t go into technical details here, SparkPost’s deliverability and operations teams use a variety of tools and systems that monitor our infrastructure and mail streams to detect and block abusive email.

If an account is flagged as violating our messaging policy or shows other signs of unusual activity, we will suspend it. If that happens, you will receive an email outlining the reason at your registered email address. We also will post a notice on your SparkPost account dashboard. While your account is suspended, you will not be able to send email through SparkPost. You can learn more about account suspension on our support site.

In our zealous guarding against spam and other harmful email, we know we sometimes make mistakes—a “false positive,” to use the industry’s standard terminology. I don’t want to brush that under the rug, and I am genuinely sorry if a false positive has affected you. But more than that, you have my personal commitment that we’ll fix false positives swiftly and work our hardest to make things right.

The easiest way to reactivate your account is to respond to the email ticket, and our customer support team will work with you to resolve the problem. They’ll help you sort out what might have triggered the suspension, and they’ll identify any remediation necessary to get back on track.

Account suspension is not an action we take cavalierly. We know that our customers’ businesses depend upon email to drive revenue and nurture customer engagement. That’s why we always are striving to improve these systems and to reduce false positives. We also are working to make it easier to reactivate accounts that are incorrectly suspended.

We’re in this together. We’ll continue to do everything we can to keep email a positive tool for communication and growth—and to protect our customers’ sending reputations to ensure reliable delivery to the inbox.

If you have any questions or concerns about how SparkPost works to achieve that goal, or how it affects your business, please tell us. I’d like to hear how we’re doing—and what else we can do to support your business and your reputation as a sender.

—Phillip Merrick

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