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Old 06-02-2010, 05:54 PM   #51
Varius
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davy View Post
I wish vbulletin had an automatic bounceback email removal feature.
I'm getting swamped with thousands of messages a day.
There's one addon that claims it can do this, but I haven't looked into it, yet.
At the very least you can replace their email validation function (found in includes/functions.php) by this, it'll help you cut some of the garbage emails by using a proper regex check + MX record check:

PHP Code:
function is_valid_email($email) {
    if (!
ereg("^[^@]{1,64}@[^@]{1,255}$"$email)) {
            return 
false;
      }
      
$email_array explode("@"$email);
      
$local_array explode("."$email_array[0]);
      for (
$i 0$i sizeof($local_array); $i++) {
            if (!
ereg("^(([A-Za-z0-9!#$%&'*+/=?^_`{|}~-][A-Za-z0-9!#$%&↪'*+/=?^_`{|}~\.-]{0,63})|(\"[^(\\|\")]{0,62}\"))$",$local_array[$i])) {
                  return 
false;
            }
      }

      if (!
ereg("^\[?[0-9\.]+\]?$"$email_array[1])) {
            
$domain_array explode("."$email_array[1]);
            if (
sizeof($domain_array) < 2) {
                return 
false;
            }
            for (
$i 0$i sizeof($domain_array); $i++) {
                  if (!
ereg("^(([A-Za-z0-9][A-Za-z0-9-]{0,61}[A-Za-z0-9])|↪([A-Za-z0-9]+))$",$domain_array[$i])) {
                    return 
false;
                  }
            }
      }

    if (
checkdnsrr($email_array[1], 'MX')) {
        return 
true;
    }
    else {
          return 
false;
    }

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Old 06-19-2010, 01:39 PM   #52
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Great article. Also i would suggest to add about white list process with major email providers.
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:27 PM   #53
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thanks I love this site!
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:28 PM   #54
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Keith, what the fuck?!

You pinky swore at Spamfest 2003 not to reveal any secrets!!!
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:45 AM   #55
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excellent article. very well written and very informative. thank you very much and keep posting such nice articles.
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:30 PM   #56
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Thx

Thanks for the info
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:35 AM   #57
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If these links or passes are going to work, i will be very much glad and haappppiiiiiii
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Old 05-20-2012, 05:55 AM   #58
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interesting
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Old 06-09-2012, 04:12 PM   #59
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gfelife is da best

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varius View Post
In this installment of the "GFY Educational Series", I'd like to touch on a topic that is critical to many businesses, but often misunderstood. The information is out there, but it takes quite a bit of digging to put the pieces together. It's my hope that I can save some of you that work and improve your bottom line with a few simple changes in how you manage your mailing campaigns.

This article is meant for legit, compliant mailing and not those looking to simply engage in mass spamming. This article will touch on mostly technical aspects of mailing and not approach it from a marketing sense, as we have already had an excellent Series article regarding that aspect.

1) IP Addresses

The first thing you need to do, above and beyond all else, is understand your current IP address and its history. You may have ordered a new server at your current host, moved to a new host or been guaranteed to have a "fresh" IP. You should not just take anyone's word for this; verify those claims yourself. There are numerous free tools to investigate IP addresses, so I'll let you find your favorite, but here is a checklist of what you are looking for:

- IP found on Blacklist(s). If your IP is found on a Blacklist and was a new IP given to you by your host, demand they give you a different one. Most Blacklists don't answer remove requests promptly (or at all). If this is an IP address you have been using for awhile though, as you'll see later in this article, it may have benefits to trying to "clean" it as opposed to starting from scratch with a new IP.

- IP in "Neighbourhood" found on Blacklist(s). If there is an IP on your C Class that is allocated to another client of your host who has a bad reputation for their mailing practices, this may affect your delivery. As above, get yourself a new IP on a different Class or possibly even change hosts (as you don't want to be associated with a host who is lenient towards spammers).

Except in rare cases, you should also not rotate IPs when you send mail out. This may work short-term, but ultimately causes you more hassle than it's worth long-term as well as preventing you from being granted whitelist status at many ISPs. If your volume of mail requires multiple dedicated mailservers, so be it, but try and limit this as much as possible. If you have several load-balanced webservers, simply have them relay their mail through a single dedicated mailserver (or cluster if absolutely needed). For redundancy, you should always have a backup mailserver ready to take over the original's IP and MAC address to takeover operations.

I also recommend that for separate websites, you use separate IP addresses when possible. This is akin to "not putting all your eggs in one basket". If one IP or site gets blocked, your other sites are not immediately "guilty by association".

Once you have verified your mailserver's IP address is clean, you are not in a bad neighbourhood and you are not rotating dozens of IP addresses, you have completed Step1

I recommend you setup regular monitoring of your IP address' reputation (either manual or automated), so you can be alerted if your situation ever changes and not let days go by wondering why your conversions/sales have dropped.


2) Reverse DNS

While this is an extremely simple point, many large sites seem to neglect it. Put simply, you want the IP address of the server your mail is sent from, to resolve to the mailserver's hostname. For example, if my mailserver's IP is 123.456.123.211 and it's seen by the outside world as "mail1.mydomain.com", then you want that anybody looking up that IP address sees it resolve to "mail1.domain.com".

Ususally, you don't own your own IPs, so you can simply ask your host to setup any reverse records you require. If you do own your IPs, you must set these up at your nameservers.


3) Bounce Management

While most sites employ valid unsubscribe features, very few utilize bounce management. There are many reasons an email will bounce and many of them are not your fault. However, ISPs pay heavy attention to who manages their bounces and who doesn't. In fact, a company like Yahoo! will not grant your whitelist request unless you can demonstrate proper bounce management.

There are multiple reasons for bounces, but they generally fall into 2 categories: soft bounces and hard bounces. A soft bounce is usually a temporary problem, such as a user is over their allowed quota (their mailbox is full). Hard bounces are permanent failures, such as emailing a domain which doesn't exist.

Whether you build or buy an application to handle bounces automatically, or have someone manually handling them, this is not something that should go on ignored.

If you receive a hard bounce, you should remove/block the email address immediately. Do not send to it again. If you receive a soft bounce, how you handle it is up to you, but generally I would block an email after receiving 3+ soft bounces over a 48+ hour period.

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST...
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:42 PM   #60
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oh fuck... incredibly well written topic !!
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Old 05-18-2014, 02:04 PM   #61
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Amazing read. Thanks for writing that all down. Especially the advice about not rotating IPs was good. Because that's exactly what I've been doing (rotating 8 IPs to be exact) since I had to move away from a third party service.

Having that said, I do have a question:

What do you think about email accreditation services like isipp? Is it a replacement for getting SenderScore Certified and do they help when it comes to deliverability? Or would a webmaster be better off spending their money in another way?

Also, did anything change on the MTA side of things since you wrote this article? Do you recommend an expensive one like PowerMTA? Or still recommend the free MTAs?

Also, do you start sending as much mail as possible from the get-go? Or do you gradually build it up to warm the IPs up?

Thanks again for thsi amazing read. Sincerely enjoyed it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varius View Post
10) SenderScore Certification

Microsoft's answer to a whitelist, getting SenderScore Certified is an often lengthy process and costs a decent amount of coin (depending on your volume). It was formerly known as Bonded Sending, where you have a pool of money that is substracted from with every complaint. If you follow the above guidelines, getting Certified should be fairly simple (but may take up to 90 days). This especially helps with Hotmail and other Microsoft products.


11) Mail Software Footprints

When using third-party software for managing your mail campaigns, always run tests and see what, if anything, they add to the header of a message. For example, many softwares like to place their "signature" into the header, typically as an X-Header: field. Some of these softwares, having been popular with spammers, draw red flags due to these signatures so turn them off when possible or research your software carefully before investing in it.


12) Open Relay

While most people are aware of this these days, by default, most mail agents allow open relaying and this is something you NEED to restrict. An open relay is a system that allows anyone to use it as an SMTP server for sending mail out; not just authorized users and addresses. Restricting it varies per mail software, but is generally quick and painless. Aside from the obvious problem of spammers finding and using your server, ruining your IP's reputation you worked so hard on keeping clean, ISPs can run a quick test to tell if you are "open" or not and if you are, they won't accept your mail in most cases.


13) Content / Filtering

Even if you pass all the above tests with flying colors, you still face a powerful foe; content filtering. This is more of a case-by-case issue, but I will attempt to give you a few tips.

First, know the major filtering softwares. For example, SpamAssassin is still a popular standard. Install them on your own if you have to and perform some trial and error, to determine the what words and email characteristics are heavy triggers and which don't carry much weight. Filter systems can check everything from "Do the domains in links in the email match the From: address?" to "what is the HTML/Text ratio versus images" along with weighing specific words, for example "viagra" is a commonly-blocked one.

Try and test your campaigns before sending them out for real, to get as low of a score as you can with different filtering systems. Again, this is a case-by-case basis factor and no one answer will magically get you through all filters.

One additional note: try and keep your HTML emails simple and clean (valid XHTML/CSS). Some ISPs are taking this into consideration.


14) Conclusion

There is still plenty more information on this topic, but the above points will hopefully have you understanding how to send emails out and how to reach your customers' inbox better than you currently do. Some industries, such as dating, rely on mail so much that a single day of being blocked can result in a conversion drop of up to 50%. The truth is, if your business relies heavily on email marketing, you should have someone dedicated to monitoring and fixing issues with your mail systems at least 2-3 hours per day.

Also, always remember that there are no guarantees in mailing. Unfortunately, due to abuse, some ISPs have become so tight that clients have a hard time receiving mail they want to receive! You may find yourself blocked for no apparent reason for a day or two, only to return to the inbox for another few months. Just do your best and you will see your deliverability increase.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask them in the thread below and I will answer them as best I can. I did not want to show any bias by recommending any particular monitoring or consulting services (as well as, I don't recommend anything I haven't used myself), but there are many out there who do genuinely know what they are doing. There are, of course, others who simply want your money and have no idea what they are doing.

I'll leave you with a handy tool, a method to easily test your SPF, Sender-ID, DomainKeys, DKIM and SpamAssassin score:

Send a test email out (ideally with the content you actually intend to send and from the real mailserver) to [email protected] and within minutes, they will reply to the From: address in your email with a report. Enjoy!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Varius (Keith) is best known around here for his many years in the adult dating space, being a part-owner of IwantU. He has regularly sent out millions of emails a day and spent a large amount of time understanding how to reach customers' inboxes. He currently is involved in multiple partnerships involving Adult, Gaming and Mainstream projects.

Last edited by BigSpider; 05-18-2014 at 02:11 PM..
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Old 06-06-2014, 03:54 AM   #62
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Me, myself is having a problem with my email address. This one is a good read and help if done. Thank you!
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Old 06-28-2014, 10:50 AM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigSpider View Post
What do you think about email accreditation services like isipp? Is it a replacement for getting SenderScore Certified and do they help when it comes to deliverability? Or would a webmaster be better off spending their money in another way?

Also, did anything change on the MTA side of things since you wrote this article? Do you recommend an expensive one like PowerMTA? Or still recommend the free MTAs?

Also, do you start sending as much mail as possible from the get-go? Or do you gradually build it up to warm the IPs up?
Obviously, much has changed since I wrote this article (and far as Canadian subscribers, much will be changing July 1st with the new consent rules) - but here's my quick reply to your questions:

Far as transactional emails, go through Amazon SES. You won't have to worry about a thing as long as you don't break their rules (and try sending high volume, unqualified marketing leads through). They will accept adult as long as it's transactional in nature (order receipts, registration confirmations, password resets, etc...) and doesn't contain obscene content. It's easy to setup to relay through and it's dirt cheap. Let them worry about delivery (they do a nice job at it).

Far as promotional emails, it is getting much harder to build stable reputation on your own IPs not recognized as owned by a major ESP. Many will deny this, but it's true if you talk to key people behind-the-scenes involved in that industry.

It will cost quite a bit more, but starting off with an already-warmed up, well-reputed shared IP pool through an ESP and then slowly shifting volume to a dedicated IP pool is the best route.
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Old 11-27-2014, 03:33 PM   #64
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thanks it's very important topic for marketing!
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Old 12-10-2014, 04:33 PM   #65
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Thanks Varius, great post
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Old 12-10-2014, 05:37 PM   #66
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Bookmarked!
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Old 12-12-2014, 01:10 AM   #67
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Great article!
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Old 12-12-2014, 01:10 AM   #68
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Excellent information. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-12-2014, 01:10 AM   #69
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Thanks for super information!
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Old 12-12-2014, 01:10 AM   #70
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Great tips.
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Old 12-12-2014, 02:57 AM   #71
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Very interesting reading and thank you.
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Old 12-12-2014, 02:57 AM   #72
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Cool read!
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Old 10-16-2015, 02:56 PM   #73
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Thanks so much! Been meaning to brush up on my email game
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:44 AM   #74
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Thanks for sharing, very informative.
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Old 02-23-2016, 03:02 PM   #75
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What's one of the easiest ways to get emails from your customers
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Old 12-28-2016, 02:53 PM   #76
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good stuff
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