Adaptive Delivery® and ISP Relations

Kate Nowrouzi
Jun. 22, 2011 by Kate Nowrouzi

The goal of any email marketer is to get email delivered to inbox and not get blocked at the ISP gateway or diverted to the spam folder. What makes this so challenging is the very high volume of spam traffic on the Internet, and the spam filters put in place by ISPs. But while priority #1 for email marketers is getting messages to the inbox, ISPs have far different priorities. In fact, of the top 10 priorities for ISPs, taking care of the concerns of email marketers comes in around #11.

I learned this firsthand working in anti-spam operations at AOL, and it took a bit of adjustment for me as an anti-spam analyst to move to the marketing side of the equation. So I’d like to think I have some insights into how email marketers can build better relationships with ISPs. The primary things marketers need to do to increase inbox delivery are to 1) comply with ISP acceptance policies, 2) provide clear information to ISPs when blocks happens and 3) authenticate your mail. Issues 1) and 2) are where Adaptive Delivery has been really successful at supporting and sustaining better relationships between email marketers and ISPs.

ISP abuse desk professionals spend most of their time blocking serious malicious stuff, and preventing it from making its way to members’ inboxes. So there is so little time left to resolve marketer’s delivery issues. The expectation on their part is that email senders will comply with their acceptance policies. ISP postmasters do not have the time to investigate blocks for email marketers and find out what caused the issue on the sender side. So when something does go wrong, the mailer needs to provide basic information needed to start the troubleshooting. Believe me, the last thing any mailer wants to do is to contact an ISP with no information.

Adaptive Delivery is such a big step forward because now, in the case of blocks or temp failures, Adaptive Delivery automatically makes an adjustment, like a suspension or throttle-down. It addition, it will notify the deliverability team by email and provides them with the useful information they need to start troubleshooting. In fact, each report includes the Domain, Binding, Host, Trigger and the Action that was taken by Adaptive Delivery. So when something does go wrong, the sender can identify the source of the block in a much shorter time frame. And if they do need to approach the ISP to seek a fix, they do so with comprehensive information in hand.

In addition, Adaptive Delivery is updated regularly with ISP acceptance policies, which change constantly due to the shifting nature and tactics of spam perpetrators. It also now has the ability to take action when there is a spike in “Complaint Feedback Loops” and certain “Hard Bounces”. These actions will help senders safeguard their reputation and enable them to detect and mitigate problems such as security breaches when they occur.

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