Ask Al: Automating IP warming?


Diego asks, "I want to find out from you if their is a script or software that one can use for warming up an IP. I will buy even if it's not free."

Not only did Diego just write in with this question, but this topic came up when chatting with a potential client a few days ago. What can you do to shortcut or automate IP warming?

The answer is: not much. IP warming, in its most basic definition, means building up your sending reputation through starting your dedicated IP address sending at low volume, and growing that send volume day-by-day for the first few weeks of sending. The gradual increase of volume from zero, plus sending wanted mail, is what dedicated IP senders need to do to build up long term inbox placement and deliverability success.

A lot of different ESP platforms provide guidance on IP warming

At least one platform says they can automate IP warming for you-- methodology that probably involves limiting volume per day on your dedicated IP (regardless of how much you send), and pushing out any excess email volume through shared IP addresses. Doing this right probably gets to be pretty complex in execution, so that is perhaps why you don't really see many other email sending platforms offering something similar.

Beware automatic IP warming "services" that tell you to send to their lists. The game there is that the "people" on these lists -- either bots or perhaps people in far off lands working for pennies -- will interact with those email messages, boosting your sending reputation by way of boosting your engagement metrics. Which, in theory, makes IP warming easier. I say "game" because it's gaming a process in a way that ISPs don't like and want. Some may have initial success, but it's not a long term strategy (especially for the company selling the service) because ISPs will block this process and undo gains, when discovered.

Ask me about the guy who got sued by Microsoft for programmatically reporting his own mail as "not spam" to try to boost his sending reputation. I don't know the final outcome, but I'm guessing it wasn't cheap to defend against, and it didn't sound like a winning business model back in 2010, much less today.

And finally, just a reminder that Jennifer Nespola Lantz (my colleague at Kickbox) has put together a very comprehensive overview of IP warming. When it's time to migrate your email marketing program to a new sending platform, this is the one you'll want to bookmark. Find the overview and links to individual sections here.

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