Why Is My Email Blocked?
Why is my email blocked? This is an area where a lot of folks are really confused, and it's through no fault of their own!
There are three types of blocks; three reasons that your emails might not be getting through to your prospects.
- IP address related issues;
- Domain name or URL related issues; and
- Content related issues
So let's talk about each of these and what you can do.
1. IP Address Email Blocked:
Basically for mail to go from you to your prospect, it has to go through a "funnel", if you will.
Your email needs to go through that funnel and the small piece of that funnel that actually gets the stuff out is your IP address.
If your IP address is blocked, or that "funnel" is clogged, then your messages are not getting through and that is across the board.
Let's say that Hotmail has blocked your IP. That means none of your messages are getting to Hotmail.
Something that is important to pay attention to here is that if you are sharing an IP address with multiple people - and one of those people or businesses does something to get blocked by Hotmail - then your emails messages are blocked as well.
There is no differentiation between you and anybody else. Itís all the IP address so it's all good or it's all bad.
There is no gray area when we are talking about an IP address block.
This is why it is so important to have your own IP address, a dedicated IP address for sending mail. This is one of the most common blocks and it is one that anybody can actually take control of very easily by simply setting up your own hosting account. Your own dedicated server with a dedicated IP address for sending mail.
2. URL-Related Email Blocked:
The next type of block is a URL or domain name. What we're referring to here is a URL found in the content of an email message, or the email body.
This could be in the form or order links, affiliate links, membership links, product launches, joint ventures, corporate websites... basically any link (URL) in your website that winds up on a list that basically say this URL is known to send spam type content.
The reason why this is important is that if you are sending out promotions for other people (aka affiliate offers), their URL may be on a block list.
If their URL is on a blocked list and you include that URL in your email to your customers, prospects and subscribers, then that email is not going to go through. It's going to bounce back.
So in other words if you are doing a promotion for a joint venture partner - and their URL is on a blocked list then - your email is not going to make it through to the providers that are using that particular URL block list.
Now the bigger picture here is that if you do multiple promotions with that same URL back to back, and the issue is not resolved, it could ultimately cause your IP address to have reputation issues.
This is one of the reasons why the deliverability numbers of these third party email providers or email solutions are so often inaccurate.
If you send out an email - and are using one of these services - and a URL in the email is blocked, then there is nothing that the particular service can do to get my email delivered. What's more... is that they're not even letting me know that an email message isn't getting delivered due to an issue with the domain.
In other words, you are not made aware that there's a problem AND the email provider can't do anything to get your email message delivered. It's outside of their control.
Before sending out an email containing a URL, check the URL against block lists. Two common such lists include: uribl.com and surbl.org.
If the URL is on a block list, then use a "snipped" link or some other tracking link that's NOT on the list. If it's YOUR domain on the block, then take corrective action to have the block removed.
There is one other issue regarding domains and URLs if you've got affiliates or other people mailing out your links. And that's the fact that if the affiliate engages in "spammy" email practices, your URL could end up on a block list. Though it's not your fault, it can still be a problem.
3. Content-Related Email Blocked:
The third type of email block is a content block, and this is where the message itself looks like spam to the ISP's filters, causing it to get blocked entirely or sent to the spam folder.
Again, the third party providers cannot do anything for you in this case. If the content in your message appears to be spam, it is going to be flagged by the filters. PERIOD.
Your next message may get through just fine, but this particular message is not going to get through.
To minimize these types of blocks, run your emails through spam assassin - or similar tool - prior to sending out your message. This is not a guarantee for deliverability but it will help.
All the different ISPs like Hotmail, Yahoo, Comcast, Gmail, AOL, etc. have different algorithms, so there is no guarantee that any one spam assassin task or anything is going to get you through all of them, but it is a good starting point.
If you are flagged in spam assassin, then you know that you are going to have some issues. Generally content blocks are temporary and relatively easy to resolve.
One thing to consider... when you know that you have been blocked because of content by a particular email provider, you can change the content and resend to those subscribers.
This kind of information is important when it comes to getting messages out to all of your customers and prospects.
To recap, there are three main types of email blocks. You have your IP-related email block, your URL or domain name related email block, and finally, you have your content-related email block.
When you are using third party services to send your email, the only one that they are really going to be able to help you with is the IP block, and in many cases, they're never going to give you the information regarding the URL and the content blocks. You'll just simply lose subscribers due to multiple bounces.
Author: Heather Seitz
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