Send Less Mail, Make More Money

Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Representatives from fashion designer Nicole Miller shared that unsub rates have dropped and revenue jumped, all thanks to reducing send frequency, from three emails each week down to one single weekly email.

This shows that that over-saturating your recipient base causes subscriber fatigue; it makes those subscribers less interested in what you're selling.

At its extreme, you can end up reducing a recipient's mail box to a pile of smoking rubble. Last week I tested a signup process for a potential client. One form submission with one checkbox, and 72 hours later, I had received 94 follow up email messages. Not surprisingly, 85% of them went to the Gmail spam folder.

Who invented email?

Not this guy, apparently. Writes Gizmodo: "Shiva Ayyadurai didn't invent email—he created "EMAIL," an electronic mail system implemented at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, New Jersey. It's doubtful he realized it as a little teen, but laying claim to the name of a product that's the generic term for a universal technology gives you acres of weasel room. But creating a type of airplane named AIRPLANE doesn't make you Wilbur Wright."

Interestingly, 1978, the year Mr. Ayyadurai claims to have invented email, was also the year a young Gary Turk sent the first piece of spam.

You Get the Deliverability You Deserve

You might know Neil Schwartzman. In his long and active career in email and anti-abuse, he once-upon-a-time handled compliance issues for Return Path certified senders,  has consulted with other senders looking to comply with Canada's recent anti-spam legislation, and has long been one of the driving forces behind anti-spam advocacy group CAUCE. Now a member of the sender community via his new role as VP of Receiver and Sender Relations for Message Bus, I'm excited to be able to share some blog space to invite him to share what's on his mind. -- Al Iverson

Do I Deserve This? (Part 1)

I was out with a bunch of email geeks for Dim Sum, the weekend after M3AAWG in San Francisco, and after savaging several typical public policy whipping posts, like big pharma, drug research and public medicine, the conversation ended up, inevitably, on email and commercial senders.

My friend Mike Hammer made a stunning comment. Mike works for a very large sender, who has had their difficulties with getting their email to the inbox over the years.

Mike quipped: “We get the deliverability we deserve."

Does Hotmail use the SBL (Spamhaus Block List)?

Yep, Hotmail does indeed use the Spamhaus SBL as part of their spam filtering and blocking system. I received a report yesterday of this specific SMTP error response received: "550 OU-001: Mail rejected by Hotmail for policy reasons. If you are not an email/network admin please contact your Email/Internet Service Provider for help. For more information about this block and to request removal please go to:"

Hotmail has posted more information about the different types of blocks a sender can receive over on their Sender Troubleshooting page.

A wizard did it.

Did a wizard do it? No, it was engagement.

Mickey Chandler: "If you already have a good program, then mailing inactives isn’t likely to hurt you much. On the other hand, 6 or 8 times per month I’ll see a client who is having their mail delivered to the bulk folder trim their sends back to their most highly engaged recipients and things start appearing in the inbox again. The reason why isn’t magical, it’s engagement."

It's not all spam, is it?

Over on the Mainsleaze blog, Catherine Jefferson points out that the Obama campaign is sending mail both to an address she purposely signed up to receive their mailings, and also to a spamtrap address.

What does a reputation system do with that? What should it do with that? If it's a reputation system that deals with just individual spamtrap hits, then that IP address is now tagged as having a bad reputation, because it hit a spamtrap address. But it's also sending wanted mail at the same time. A blacklist operator or an ISP postmaster might go either way on this -- you're hitting my spamtraps -- so I'll block you. But maybe my users will complain, so maybe I can't block it.

It's a bad situation for a sender to be in. They're sending mixed reputational signals. If you're really about staying in the inbox, shouldn't you be staying away from mixing bad lists or bad data into that good, wanted mail stream? I think you should.