Ask Al: The Strange Case Of The Help Request Gone Awry

Jeremy asks, "Al, Help! I submitted a support ticket to [an ISP] for my IPs which were getting tempfailed, and 24 hours later they were completely blocked! Why?"

To answer this question, I thought it might be best to go to the source -- ask somebody who works for an ISP, somebody who deals with the other side of this very kind of issue. So, I turned to my friend Annalivia Ford at AOL. Here's what she had to say:

"Sometimes, asking an ISP for help regarding bulk- or list-mail sending IP addresses can backfire. If messages being sent from your IP address are being temp failed, do yourself a favor and check their reputation scores on the various sites first, and evaluate your mailing practices and content. Check your complaint rates. Ask yourself what you would think if the mail you send landed unexpectedly in your own inbox. If you bring your shoddy IPs to the attention of an ISP, be it Hotmail, AOL or Yahoo! or any other, you run the risk of handing them a perfect blocking opportunity. They have no obligation to deliver your mail, and have very good visibilty into the quality of your mail stream. If their stats say your mail stream is poor, they will do the opposite of what you were hoping for, and hard block the IPs instead.

"The take-away here is that an honest evaluation of your mailing lists can save you a lot of grief. A block is a lot harder to undo than getting them blocked in the first place, and fixing your mailing practices without involving the ISPs will result in better delivery and more revenue for you, the sender. If you don't know how to do this, consider hiring a consultant or an ESP to help you."
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