Reputation is King 83% of the Time

Posted by George Bilbrey 

It’s official. The endless hours spent tweaking your content to beat spam filters are not necessary after all. When it comes to email blocking and filtering, reputation — not content — can be blamed 83% of the time.

We have long held this to be true, and now can back up our opinions and experiences with real numbers. A study we released this week that shows that sender reputation causes 77% of delivery failures, while an additional 6% are triggered by the reputation of domains included in the email content. Content, then, only is a significant factor 17% of the time. And guess what? Most content filtering is directly impacted by Brightmail, which in part filters on reputation of the content itself. So words like “free” and phrases like “10% off” are not the problem very often.

The bottom line for marketers is that no matter what kind of email you send — marketing or transactional — you’re vulnerable to filtering if your reputation is not strong. If you don’t know your email reputation, find out what it is. Then manage it to make sure you’re avoiding the junk folder and being lost in email cyberspace.

For more information, read our full study that details reputation filtering percentages by ISP. You can also come talk to me at the DMA to learn more ways to boost your email reputation — I’m presenting that topic on Wednesday.

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About George Bilbrey

George Bilbrey is the founder of the industry’s first deliverability service provider, Assurance Systems, which merged with Return Path in 2003. He is a recognized expert on the subjects of email reputation and deliverability and is active in many industry organizations, including the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) and the Online Trust Alliance (OTA). In his role as president of Return Path George is the driving force behind the ongoing innovation of our products and services. Prior to Return Path, George served as Director of Product Management at and as a partner in the telecommunications group at Mercer Management Consulting. He holds a B.A. in economics from Duke University, and an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business, University of North Carolina.

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