Improving an account's reputation will simultaneously improve an account's delivery and vice versa.
How is my account reputation calculated?
Each Elastic Email account has its own reputation and can be accessed in your account. Points are deducted for complaints, invalid addresses, content analysis, not having a verified sender domain, not having a verified tracking domain, and sending less than 10,000 emails per month.
Complaints are also known as "abuse reports". These are generated when a recipient marks the email as Spam or Junk. The Elastic system is able to track complaints for most major ISPs and ESPs via feedback loops. The actual percentage of recipients that complain is multiplied by 400. The result is subtracted as points from the reputation.
Invalid Addresses are email addresses that do not exist. Invalid addresses are generally recognized by the 5xx bounces errors returned by recipient servers. The actual percentage of invalid addresses is multiplied by 2. The result is subtracted as points from the reputation.
Our system will analyze email content using Spam Assassin which is an industry standard spam analysis tool.
The sending domain is the domain that emails are being sent "From". 5 points are subtracted from the reputation if the domain is not verified using SPF and DKIM. Learn how to verify a sender domain domain.
The tracking domain is a way to white label statistical tracking and subscription management links in emails. 5 points are subtracted from the reputation if the tracking domain is not verified. Learn how to verify a tracking domain.
How do these factors affect delivery?
Problem: When a recipient marks an email as Spam or Junk in their email client this indication that the recipient did not subscribe to the email. In response to complaints, recipient servers will start putting matching emails directly in Spam folders and will block and blacklist Elastic sending IPs.
Solution: Try to use only recently subscribed addresses. When you have a new subscriber, send them an email to confirm their subscription. Place bold working unsubscribe links at the top and bottom of your emails. Though complaints recorded via our feedback loops are put on the account's Block List we still recommend removing complaints from sending lists. Keep the Block List intact as back up.
Problem: There can be 15-25% of addresses that are invalid in a list that is just 6 months. This is simply because the addresses are no longer used, have been deleted, or no longer exist. Sometimes these old addresses are turned into spam traps. Spam traps cause your email and Elastic IPs to get blocked and blacklisted.
Solution: Send emails to your subscribers as often as you can and weed out the invalid addresses slowly. Or use email validation services such as BriteVerify before sending to the list.
Problem: Recipient servers will run a content analysis on almost all email looking for characteristics of unsolicited email. Some recipient servers have very strict rules and will filter emails that have just a low spam score. Bounces that are categorized as "Spam" are usually a result of content problems. Content problems that go unfixed will result in the email and the sending IP getting blocked or blacklisted.
Solution: The Elastic system will run and display a content analysis of emails sent through the account in the Reputation Details of the account. A score and list of content issues are given. We recommend using test websites such as Mail-Tester to see how well the email may be received prior to sending a campaign. You can also learn more about Spam Assassin here. Try to fix as many of the content issues as possible. Often this simply requires testing different layouts and word usage.
Problem: Every email needs to have a "From" address. Spoofing is a common problem that occurs when a sender uses a false "From" address and is pretending to be someone else. Many ISPs will reject emails if they are being sent from a non-verified sender domain. They may also reject emails if the from address is a Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo address, etc.
Solution: Verify your sender domain with SPF and DKIM. When SPF and DKIM records are added to your domains DNS settings it will let recipient servers verify the sender's identity. This will make recipients much more likely to accept emails. More information on how to properly add these records can be found in our Domain Verification Guide.
Problem: For security, tracking, and subscription management purposes, all links are redirected through our system. These links will show "api.elasticemail.com". Some recipients are less likely to respond to redirect links that go through a third party domain.
Solution: Whitelabel your links with your domain. A tracking domain is an easy setup by creating a CNAME record (we recommend "tracking") in your domain's DNS settings and point it to "api.elasticemail.com". More information on how to set up a tracking domain can be found in our Domain Verification Guide.