Ask the Experts: Answers to Tough Deliverability Questions

Posted by Mary Sohn 

Thanks for joining us on August 31 for our Ask the Experts webinar! Due to the number of questions that flowed in during the Q&A, there were a few questions we didn’t get to, so we wanted to address a few of them for you here.

  1. What will happen to my deliverability if the sending IP’s reputation is good, but the sending domain’s reputation is poor? 
    Expect to see delivery issues at mailbox providers that base filtering decisions on domain reputation, such as Gmail (especially), Yahoo and Microsoft (,, etc.). Domain reputation is becoming increasingly more important with the introduction of IPv6 which makes IP addresses more disposable. Also, if there are issues with your domain reputation, depending on the amount of volume that the domain is contributing to the IP address, the IP address reputation may not stay “good” for long.

Looking to improve your domain reputation? Learn more about Domain Certification.

2. How do we find our sender domain name? My company has several brands with different URLs.
The tricky thing here is that you may be using several sending domains, even within a single email. You can find this by opening emails and viewing the “email header”.

  • If you are using Gmail / Google Apps, you can find this by using the top-right drop-down menu to “show original”.
  • If you are using Outlook, you can find the email header by popping out the “Message Options” to find “Internet Headers”.

From here, you will find your sender domain name(s) by checking the domains used for “From”, “Return-Path” and “Authentication-Results” (both DKIM and SPF results). There may be other sending domains listed in your email header, but these three (From, especially) are the most important for domain reputation.

3. What’s your advice for changing ESPs?
Forrester Research regularly publishes their recommendations for ESPs. However, this is a paid-for resource and not customized to your needs. I would recommend that you reach out through your network, such as the “Email Marketing Gurus” group on LinkedIn, to gain reviews and recommendations for an ESP based on the needs of your mailing program. If you are a larger sender, I would recommend publishing an RFP so that ESPs can provide you with information on their services, as well as any customization they’re capable of to fit your needs. Who knows, your own ESP may respond to your RFP and shed light on new services you weren’t aware of.

In the end, moving ESPs can be a very painful process which may require a completely new setup: New sending IP addresses, sending domains, authentication setup, database management, suppression handling, warm-ups, feedback loops, whitelists, etc. You’ll want to cross-check your new setup against. best practices, and if you are a Return Path client, make sure to send test campaigns through our seed list to catch any infrastructure mistakes/gaps.

4. I love your blogs and download of all your research collateral. Where can I get even more information on deliverability?
Here are some additional great resources for you to check out:

  • Return Path’s Help Center has curated content that is kept updated and fresh, based on email deliverability FAQ. If you are a Return Path customer, remember to sign in for full access to all content!
  • DeliverabilityNext, Spam Resource and Word to the Wise have excellent blogs for email deliverability and news.
  • Twitter will often have real-time information on any wide-spread issues. Accounts to follow:
    Mailboxes, such as , and
    Subject Matter Experts, such as our very own 
  • To view the full webinar, visit the on-demand video link here.
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About Mary Sohn

Mary brings years of advertising experience to email and views deliverability data from a marketer's perspective. In her spare time, you'll find Mary eating through Canada's best diners, drive-ins, and dives (without the justification of a reality TV show). Follow Mary on Twitter @juenology for a haphazard glimpse into her life as a hungry-for-food email specialist.

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