PowerMTA whiz needed @ dotmailer

Email service provider dotmailer is looking to hire an Email Delivery Engineer based in London.

Responsibilities include: Configuring and managing email servers and MTAs. Working alongside the Deliverability team on designing timelines and configuration plans to warm new IP addresses for email purposes. Monitoring and reporting delivery statistics and metrics to internal and external audiences, and more.

Sounds like a good opportunity. For more information or to apply, click on through to their website.

ESPs and Purchased Lists

Over on her Word to the Wise blog, Laura Atkins shares a wonderful list of links to almost every email service provider's policy prohibiting use of bought lists or purchased email addresses.

It's funny, working in this business. A prospective client might say, "well, ESP X lets us use bought lists, they have no problem with it, so you have to be OK with it if you want our business." Then later, I might run into somebody from that ESP at a conference. I'll mention that interaction to them, and they'll usually laugh and say, "you know, we had some other customer come to us and say that YOUR employer was fine with using purchased lists, so we should be, too." Meaning, no matter where you work or where you mail through, somebody, somewhere is always going to have some sort of malformed understanding of what an email service provider wants to allow to be sent through their system. It's kind of like a game of telephone.

Do reputable email service providers knowingly allow clients to send to purchased email lists? No, they don't. Because, as Laura points out, using purchased lists tends to cause deliverability issues that basically can't be resolved until and unless you stop using purchased lists. In other words, you have to stop drinking the poisoned water before you can expect to get better.

Why do I use the word "knowingly" above? Because most email service providers are self-service platforms. It's not always easy to immediately figure out that a client has uploaded a list that violates an ESP's acceptable use policy or contractual opt-in requirements. Eventually it catches up with the client, but that happens later, after the complaints come in. Maybe after multiple mailings. After the damage of annoying uninterested email users has already happened.

(And if you're receiving spam yourself from some ESP, please report it! If you don't want to report it to the ESP, at least hit the "report spam" button if you've got one, so the spam gets noted by an ISP or spam filter. The more spam reports, the more active feedback you're providing to both the ESP and ISP to help them better police senders.)

Now Hiring: SmartFocus

Email and marketing message provider SmartFocus is hiring.

Note that this position is based in London, and it doesn't sound like working remote is an option.

L2 Deliverability Consultant 
The Deliverability Consultant is responsible for monitoring and maintaining high email deliverability rates, detecting and analysing problems as well as educating clients and enforcing email privacy and permission email standards. They will be a trusted advisor for both internal and external clients, delivering recommendations on deliverability issues.

Responsibilities:

  • Keep up-to-date with ever changing legal requirements, privacy regulations, and related email and multichannel (SMS) marketing best practices;
  • Share knowledge through whitepapers, internal and external training sessions, blog posts, industry group participation, etc. 
  • Provide support services to clients and educate them on issues specific to our compliance policy and email best practices, focusing on the goal of maximizing inbox delivery
  • Review inbox audit results with customers providing information on how to improve delivery through changes in their infrastructure, practices, and policy;
  • Generate and review reporting related to deliverability-focused metrics such as bounce rates, engagement rates, bounce details, etc.
  • Devise client on boarding plans based on database segmentation and strategic requirements
  • Work with Pre-sales, Sales and Account management providing deliverability advice on key accounts and deliver consulting engagement for key accounts if required
  • Maintain own knowledge of Smartfocus Email Delivery tools
  • Become well-versed in e-mail marketing metrics, and deliverability best-practices.
  • Educate clients on issues specific to our compliance policy
  • Abuse management: processing all direct complaints from recipients, identify the responsible client, unsubscribe recipients and request a proof of opt-in from the client; 

Qualifications:

  • Experience with computers, software and email marketing, including managing outbound deliverability for an ESP or inbound for a consumer based ISP or mailbox provider;
  • Proven track record in computer/software or technical support preferred;
  • Understanding of legal compliance, privacy issues, and challenges related to global email and multichannel marketing (internationally) 
  • High level of HTML and CSS;
  • High level of English is mandatory, another European language considered a plus;
  • An analytical mind and ability to work in a team effectively in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment.

For more information, visit their website or contact their HR team here: hr@smartfocus.com.

DeliverNow: New Filters @ Orange, SFR, Laposte

According to France-based Deliverability monitoring company DeliverNow, French ISPs Orange, SFR, and Laposte.net have deployed a new spam filtering mechanism powered by Vade Retro.

This new filtering will dynamically block senders who have an elevated spam complaint rate. (I don't currently have data on what would constitute an elevated spam complaint rate in this scenario.) I am told that the fingerprinting for complaint rate calculation is based both on the sending IP address, subject line and various bits of sender identification. This strongly implies that a sender with complaint issues won't be able to bypass this filtering by sending via multiple IP addresses or via multiple email service providers.

As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Ensuring you have permission before mailing recipients, ensuring you weed out unengaged recipients, and sending only expected mail will always go a long way toward making sure that your spam complaint percentages aren't any higher than those of the next sender.

(H/T: Arnaud Clément-Bollée)

Sending mail over IPv6? Authenticate!

Josh over at Word to the Wise explains that as Microsoft brings live IPv6 support for its Office365/Exchange Online Protection email platforms, they're mandating that all mail sent over IPv6 must authenticate with either Sender Policy Framework (SPF) or DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). Unauthenticated mail will be rejected. Read more about it here.

Domains clear.net and clearwire.net have been retired

If you're trying to send mail to subscribers at clear.net or clearwire.net today, you'll notice that all delivery attempts are being rejected, because wireless data provider Clearwire has retired all email services as of April 15, 2015.

Once upon a time, Sprint was the biggest investor in Clearwire, and Sprint's 4G data service was provided over the Clear WiMAX network. Sprint fully acquired Clearwire in 2013, and announced that it would be shutting down the Clear network sometime in 2015. It stands to reason that this email domain retirement is likely related to that overall acquisition and service shutdown.

I was not able to find any information related to the transition of clear.net or clearwire.net subscribers to other domains.

Now Hiring: Home Improvement Leads

A downtown Austin (TX) technology company whose focus is to connect homeowners with high-quality local contractors, Home Improvement Leads is looking to hire a a sharp, motivated, organized, and experienced Email Deliverability Specialist. This position will be working with various ESPs and ISP postmasters, as well as improving existing email marketing practices.  This role performs technical investigations into email systems, reviews message, and makes recommendations based on analysis of email programs including sender reputation and inbox deliverability.  Responsible for the company’s overall email performance as related to deliverability.  The candidate should have solid experience in the field, and truly love the fast-paced action and lots of quantifiable real-time data that comes with the territory.

Responsibilities & Qualifications
  • Complete understanding of email end-to-end delivery including IP addresses, DNS, SMTP, authentication and email headers
  • Knowledge of CAN-SPAM, CASL and other email marketing regulations as well as email best practices
  • Experience with outbound or inbound email deliverability
  • Understanding of major email authentication methods (SPF, DKIM, etc) and sender/IP reputation management.
  • Knowledge of email filtering technologies.
  • Previous experience handling ISP Relations, FBL signups, whitelisting, email block resolution
  • Reviewing data and conducting email delivery analysis
  • Investigating and addressing email delivery problems by engaging directly with relevant ISP abuse desks, email blacklists, and anti-spam technology providers.
  • Experience with email validation, deliverability and reputation management services. 
  • Experience with the management of large (1MM+ subscriber) email lists.
  • Advanced knowledge of Excel, specifically for data analysis of delivery metrics and success.
  • Work with our engineering department to help spec out business requirements as we expand our email management platform.
  • Excellent project management skills, with an emphasis on self-motivation and follow-through
  • Ability to juggle multiple projects and meet deadlines.
  • Excellent written and verbal English communication skills, analytical and problem solving skills, with a strong attention to detail.
Salary is DOE and position has quarterly bonus potential. Benefits include Healthcare, Dental, Optical, as well as a casual work environment, flexible paid time off, snacks, weekly company lunch. Note: This is a full-time salaried position open to individual candidates only.  Position is located in our office in Austin, TX.  Agencies, telecommuting, and freelancers will not be considered.

Interested? Click here to apply.

Special thanks to Leslie Huffines of Home Improvement Leads for sharing this open position.

Outlook.com Deliverability Support Form

Lots of folks seem to have an outdated bookmark (or have found an outdated link) for the Outlook.com (aka Microsoft Hotmail) deliverability assistance request form.

Here's the correct link (as of April 2015):
https://support.live.com/eform.aspx?productKey=edfsmsbl3&ct=eformts

For information on how to troubleshoot deliverability issues when sending to Outlook.com, visit the Outlook.com Postmaster website. Their Troubleshooting page may be of particular interest.

More Jobs @ the Litmus Job Board

Looking for other, non-deliverability related email jobs? Check out the Litmus Job Board.

Troubleshooting AOL Deliverability Issues

A client asked me the other day, how do I go about troubleshooting AOL deliverability issues? Since AOL is an ISP where (for the most part) it's easy to solve deliverability issues, I thought I would share some general guidance here, to make it easy for people to get started.

If you're having trouble delivering mail to AOL, it tends to be one of these three things.
  1. Is your IP address whitelisted with AOL? Most ESPs manage this process for you, and most of them have probably submitted all, or big groups of their IP addresses, to AOL for whitelisting already. But, stuff happens. AOL doesn't tell you if your IP address falls off of their whitelist. Ask your ESP to check this for you. Ask them to resubmit your IP address to the AOL whitelist. If it is already whitelisted, the attempt will fail with a simple "this address is already whitelisted" error, and then you'll know. If you send on your own, not using an ESP, here's where you can find more information about the AOL whitelist.

  2. Are you set up with AOL's Feedback Loop? A feedback loop (FBL) is what allows you to receive a complaint back from a subscriber, when they click the "this is spam" or "junk" button inside of a webmail's user interface. AOL and many other ISPs over FBLs. They indirectly (but importantly) help with your deliverability by allowing you to cease mailing people who complain; preventing repeat complaints. More importantly, if you have an excess of spam complaints, they help you tie complaint numbers back to specific segments or processes that you may need to refine or retire if you want to stay in AOL's good graces (and in the inbox). Like with whitelisting, ESPs tend to manage this process for you. Ask your ESP to help you confirm that your AOL FBL is set up properly and working. Check your ESP's user interface to scan for unsubscribes or complaints that would have been delivered back to you via that FBL. And if you send on your own, not using an ESP, learn more about and sign up for the AOL FBL here.

    (An important note for ESP users: Do not sign up for the AOL FBL yourself unless your ESP has given you permission to do so. Your FBL signup attempt can interfere with the ESP's own attempt to manage this process for you. Bad things can happen, like you could accidentally redirect spam complaints to somebody at your company, who won't know what to do with them. Complaining subscribers will not get unsubscribed, and your deliverability will suffer.)

  3. Is your spam complaint rate just too darn high? I don't exactly know what constitutes "too high a complaint rate" in 2015. AOL used to publish a threshold of .1% as an allowed complaint rate. Later it was .3%. A quick Google search isn't finding me any updated numbers. Regardless, the AOL bounce error message would probably give you some insight to whether or not excessive complaints are at issue. A common block is "554 RLY:B1" which does indeed indicate that your mail is generating too high a complaint rate as measure by AOL. How do you fix that? Try to tie complaints back to specific segments or processes. If one generates more complaints than others, that may be the culprit. The devil can be in the details, so it might be wise to engage a deliverability consultant for assistance. (AOL does publish some fairly good-but-high-level sender best practice guidelines as well.)
How do I know if I have a good sending reputation at AOL? Here's a link to AOL's IP reputation lookup form. Plug in your sending IP address and their system will tell you its opinion of the mail being sent from that IP address.

Do other ISPs have reputation lookup tools, feedback loops, and postmaster websites? My friend Laura Atkins over at Word to the Wise has put together an excellent matrix listing all of the different ISP resource details and links that she is aware of. This is well worth bookmarking.

Do you have additional insight to share with regard to troubleshooting AOL deliverability issues? Please share in comments.

Now Hiring: Email Operations Engineer/Groupon

Hey, thanks to Ryan Boyd of Groupon who reached out in response to my last post. He says that they are currently looking to hire an Email Operations Engineer, "responsible for actively monitoring, maintaining, and supporting all aspects of global email delivery infrastructure." Interested? Click here for more information.

Are you hiring for deliverability?

I know a few folks who are looking for deliverability-related positions due to layoffs and downsizing at various companies recently. Are you hiring? Feel free to drop me a line and I'll be happy to post your job opening here on Spam Resource for free.

Great work, MAAWG!

On March 10th, the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) published a new version of the Senders BCP (Best Common Practices) document -- a solid overview and set of recommendations on how to not be a spammer.

They're not particularly rough or tough recommendations to follow. If you're not a spammer, you're probably following most or all of them already. They outlay good/better/best recommendations for opt-in permission. They explain that email append is unacceptable. They say that subscribers should never unknowingly end up on a mailing list. It should always be easy and simple to unsubscribe. Be transparent in what you do as a sender. Again, this is not earth shattering stuff, but it is good to see it published in a good industry forum, in an easy to digest format.

Do these recommendations matter? Yeah, because just about every mailbox a sender is going to want to send mail to is hosted by an ISP or company represented in M3AAWG. It's a pretty clear guide to what the rules are.

(H/T: Josh over at Word to the Wise)