Deliverability Emergencies from the ISP Side of the Desk

Posted by Neil Schwartzman on

Neil Schwartzman
By Neil Schwartzman
Senior Director, Security Strategy, Receiver Services

I recently read an interesting blog post over at Word to the Wise, about Delivery Emergencies .

Laura Atkins makes the point that many email emergencies are a result of poor planning, or an error on the part of the sender.

I’ve written about this before, check out my post: “Is Your Email an Invited Guest or a Drunken Frat-boy?”

Fortunately, most people grow out of their college fraternity phase, and the same applies to most email senders. As folks become aware of industry standards and best common practices, they adapt their mailing paradigms to what is expected of them by receivers, and recipients. Those that don’t, suffer the consequences.

But email is not a 100% reliable thing. It wasn’t designed to be, and in real-world deployment, simply isn’t. Outages at major receivers happen all the time, and ringing your newfound buddy you met at a conference when their system is down isn’t going to endear you to them, especially since they are probably a bit busy trying to get the system back on its feet.

Of course, even when the whole system isn’t down these guys are pretty busy. They are understaffed, underappreciated and under-the-gun to perform with limited resources. (I think a lot of us feel this way, so perhaps you can relate?) Which means that emailing them when you haven’t done your homework to ask a dumb question won’t go far, either.

A colleague at a very large email abuse industry association tried to make this concept clear to the senders among the assemblage. He pointed out that the people dealing with inbound delivery problems at ISPs also deal with spam and network abuse issues, both inbound and outbound. Email marketing makes up, I’ve heard, no more than 10% of all the email a typical receiving site deals with. As my colleague said “On my list of fifteen things to do today, senders’ delivery problems are number sixteen.” Words to think about, before you try to pick up the “bat phone” and ask for special treatment. You might just get it.

Of course the best way to avoid deliverability “emergencies” by implementing email best practices and keeping your email above reproach.


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