The increased importance of domain reputation on your deliverability

When you send your email from dotmailer (or any other ESP), it could be that your messages are sent from a shared pool of IP addresses. These pools are used to send mail faster, especially during the holidays when volumes peak. Another benefit of this approach is that if an ISP or receiver blocks one of the IP addresses, it does not impact the other IP addresses in your pool so we can keep sending your email.

In recent years, email classifying technologies have moved beyond basic IP address reputation measures and have focused on other signals, including placing a heavier value on domain reputation.  This means the classifier looks at all of the data associated with the sending domain — therefore the singled-out IP address is overshadowed by the other ‘good’ IP addresses.  In addition, domain-based measurements incorporate the reputation associated with transactional email sent from the same domain, which will most certainly help overall sender reputation.

Earlier this year I moderated an email receiver panel, comprising Google, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo! and Comcast.  During our time together IP address and domain reputation was discussed, and while the change has not yet been formally adopted by all receivers, they are taking steps now to shift to this – meaning – they are now looking at domain reputation closer than ever.

The overall message is very clear: domain-based reputation is the future.

The good news

For most senders, this change will actually benefit their delivery rates.  The fact remains that ISP classifiers still have ‘false positive’ situations where an individual IP address is singled out due to insufficient data or a glitch in the system, while the same sender’s other IP addresses are highly reputable and reach the inbox.

The bad news

If there truly is a reputation problem from anywhere within a sender’s domain, it will affect all of the mail coming from that sender.  This means that senders must be mindful of their complaint rates and email acquisition practices because they both will affect their domain-based reputation — and by extension, their ROI.  Equally important, if a sender is using the same domain for transactional messaging, those emails may also see their deliverability rates decline.

If you are using an unbranded or shared from domain, like dotmailer’s cmp.dotmailer.co.uk or dotmailer-email.com, you risk having to deal with the bad news.  This is because not only are you sharing an IP address in a pool, but you are also sharing a domain name.  With receivers looking at both the IP and the domain, if you are stuck with a bad actor on your domain, you have a very high risk of email deliverability issues.

One simple way of better representing yourself in the new world of domain reputation is using a custom from address.  The cost of these addresses is low compared to the potential cost in lost revenue due to email deliverability problems.  Not only do you gain the ability to differentiate yourself in the eyes of the email receivers, you also have a fully branded email solution, incorporating your own custom domain name in the “from address”.  This helps your recipients better identify your mail, giving it a branded feel and fostering trust.

For more information on how to order and set up a custom from address for your dotmailer account, take a look  at our help center or please contact your account manager.