A random rant about best practices and leading the horse to water

A few weeks ago, a particular consulting discussion with a potential client ended up not working out -- cold leads and purchased lists, which is not really something a deliverability consultant can help with, without a complete 180-degree turn around in practices. Not everybody’s willing to do that.

"You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink," as the old saying goes. I can only help when my advice is desired and the other person is interested in accepting that advice. And I can't force it; my advice goes only where it is welcome and wanted.

So, life goes on and we move on to the next one. Oh, well. I understand where people are coming from, and that they sometimes face challenges that I don’t face. I hope they’ll eventually come around and want to work within a best practices framework, but for me to try to pressure or scold them in that direction, that's just not something that I'm going to do. They've got their own challenges to deal with, and my goal isn't to make them feel bad -- it's to help them, if they want my help.

The advice and guidance I give, that regularly helps people achieve deliverability success, comes based on best practices, cooperation and collaboration. The things I suggest avoiding, the reason I do this is because I’ve watched others engage in those bad practices and I’ve observed that they don’t usually work well.

Every once in a while, I might get a potential client who’s upset and feeling judged, or I might receive a random email from a weirdo calling me a “fatso who secretly works for spammers” or whatever that insult was supposed to be (I’m still not quite sure – he wasn’t very articulate) and I stop and think, okay, what if I were not part of this best practices equation? And I know that even if I were not here, spam would still be unwanted, best practices would still be best practices, and there are still many folks out there defining, enforcing (and guiding marketers on those) best practices.

I felt a bit externally vindicated yesterday, when, while checking something else, I saw that the domain of a "cold leads warming tool" (that was recently told to knock it off by Google) seems to now be blocklisted by Spamhaus. Proof to the point that it doesn't matter what I think about purchased lists and cold leads; it's that those who gate keep the inbox don't like them. Proof to the point that my guidance comes from a place of practical experience and understanding -- it's not just some fever dream of a practice that I've created in my mind where I'm randomly trying to bend the world to my view.

It’s that most of the world, and just about all of the mailbox providers, don’t like spam.



  1. Great article, Al! Love the advice, humor and excellent knowledge. Keep up the great work! :)


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