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Please note that the Project’s IP and Domain Reputation Checker is the only place where removals are handled.
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Posted by The Spamhaus Team on 15 Feb 2022
"You can't buy a good reputation; you must earn it." These are wise words indeed from the American businessman Harvey Mackay. Whether it’s personal, business or email, reputation must be earned. Here's a look at why reputation matters when it comes to email and what you need to be doing to improve it.
Since reputation systems became the de-facto method of spam filtering in about 2010, the focus was mainly on IP reputation, with domain reputation lagging. However, this has changed significantly in the last few years; IP reputation is less important than the reputation of domains and content for inbox placement.
One of the reasons IP reputation is falling behind is the advent of IPv6. It’s HUGE. It has 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 IP addresses available; enough IP addresses for every single device in the world to have its own, and there would still be IPs left over.
This glut of IPs means that cybercriminals can afford to burn IPs like paper (and they do), and therefore we cannot solely rely on blocking by IP to protect users. IPv4 is still the default for email, but it’s running out very quickly, and spam filters need to be ahead of the game.
In the modern email ecosystem, IP/domain reputation and recipient engagement are the elements that drive email reputation. The days of “whitelisting” are long gone; we are unaware of any ISP that offers allowlisting in any form today.
Reputation systems are designed to automate spam filtering and enable ISPs to react to reputational changes in a rapid and agile manner. Another point to note is that they are agnostic:
Reputation is composed of an unknown number of variables that ISPs or reputation providers like Spamhaus do not reveal. But some general components are known, and you can manage them with appropriate address acquisition and data hygiene.
Today, inbox placement is dynamic and almost entirely dependent on IP/domain reputation, which is re-calculated exceptionally quickly in response to end-user reactions and thousands of other heuristics, so the way an email stream is treated can change by the moment.
Spam-folder placement is also driven by reputation and user-defined mailbox preferences.
Reputation is established during the IP or domain warmup/ramp-up phase – this makes the preparation for the warmup process critical.
It is very much like going on a first date: first impressions matter a great deal and linger for a long time.
Increasing rates of volume and speed should depend on the results of each previous deployment. This means that today’s email marketers should be focusing on engagement as much (or more!) than on IP reputation. The days of ‘”batch and blast” are over, but the good news is that the more engagement an email receives, the better deliverability gets, and this has a positive knock-on effect on a sender’s ROI. It is not instant and can be very frustrating, but it is worth it.
It is much, much easier to drive reputation down than it is to fix a damaged one – this behavior was created by design, and there is no override! Don’t try and short-cut building good reputation; otherwise, you’ll be spending a lot of time, effort, and potentially money rebuilding it.
Next in our series, we’ll be looking at the legalities around address acquisition!
* In the advent of Apple’s Email Privacy Protection, measuring “clicks” is now a less accurate measurement to rely on.
13 May 2022
Change.org's, Alice Cornell, Director of Email Deliverability, shares some true gems of real-world experience in email deliverability and explains how change.org achieved consistent inbox placement once they got the basics nailed down.
15 February 2022
There is no shortcut to successful email deliverability. This series offers guidance to marketing and deliverability teams providing best practices to ensure email deliverability.
Here are pointers to help you distinguish yourself from miscreants who send spam. Because you don't want is to be perceived as a spammer.