The Bait and Switch…Know Your Partner’s Reputation

Posted by Janelle Pelletier 

I’m sure we’ve all heard one or two online dating horror stories. It starts with the picture that hooks you in…buff, full head of hair, and cute! Then the profile says things like, “own my own business,” and “enjoy taking long walks.” So when you finally get to meet Mr. Wonderful, you’re more than a little surprised to find out that he’s filled out some and that there’s more hair in his ears than on the top of his head. And “my own business” and “long walks” really mean that he currently has no income and he lost his license and can’t drive.

Sounds bad right? You don’t want to be in the same predicament when it comes to meeting up with a new partner in the world of email marketing. While that third-party marketing platform sounds so easy to use and will take a huge load off your team, would you trust your business to them if they don’t have good sending practices and are known as “bad guys” by mailbox providers? What about that company you’re thinking of doing some joint marketing with? Do you want to have your brand associated with a sender that maintains poor list hygiene and racks up unknown user bounces, complaints, and spam trap hits?

I’m guessing you don’t. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to check up on their reputation before you enter into a partnership? Thankfully, you can do just that using the Research Sender feature included in Return Path’s Reputation Monitor tool. The Research Sender feature allows you to input a partner’s IP address or domain to determine their associated Sender Score and drill down into the impact of each reputation measure. Take the example below. You might want to think twice about a partnership with this sender.

senderscore (1)

Now, don’t be fooled by a false facade. Sender Score really does matter when you’re talking about getting into the inbox. The 2016 Sender Score Benchmark study states:

“Inbox placement rate starts at around four percent for the senders with the lowest Sender Score, slowly increasing to about 45 percent for senders with a Sender Score of between 50 and 80. Inbox placement rate increases dramatically to an average of about 80 percent for senders with a Sender Score between 80 and 100.”

So what is the Sender Score and what is it really telling you about your potential partner? The Return Path Sender Score is an algorithm that looks at over 100 variables and then condenses those into seven key measures:

  • Complaint Rate—An indication of how often your subscribers mark your mail as spam or move it to the junk folder. This measure is calculated based on the number of complaints divided by the total volume.
  • Message Filtered Rate—The message filtered rate is the percentage of deployed email that was accepted at the gateway by the mailbox provider, but filtered into the bulk folder or not delivered to the inbox.
  • Sender Rejected Rate—Rejected email is defined as any message blocked at the gateway by the mailbox provider.
  • Infrastructure—Infrastructure represents the hardware used to deploy emails or are deployed on your behalf (email service provider). Return Path’s reputation network reviews two key components to determine a pass/fail metric: reverse DNS and host type.
  • Unknown Users—Unknown users are addresses on your list that are either misspelled, have been abandoned, or never existed.
  • Spam Traps—Spam traps are email addresses activated by mailbox providers and others for the sole purpose of finding senders with poor data hygiene and collection practices.
  • Blacklist—A list of IP addresses that spam filtering companies, mailbox providers, or anti-spam organizations report as “known” sources of spam.

Bottom line…don’t get caught off guard and surprised when you meet up with “Mr. Wonderful”…aka your new marketing data partner. Do your research and see if they are who they really say they are. Your reputation is on the line!

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About Janelle Pelletier

Janelle is an Account Coordinator at Return Path. Her goal is to help align Return Path's data and insights from their Email Optimization Tools with her clients' business strategies and help them develop world class email marketing programs. Outside of work you can find Janelle spending time with her family or climbing the Rocky Mountains on her road bike. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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