Why You Need to Pay Attention to Reputation

Posted by George Bilbrey 

Last week Lyris released a deliverability study that finds that content does not cause email to be filtered. This finding echoes a study we did in October that reported that content matters only about 17% of the time.

Lyris came to their conclusion by sending messages through their content checking system and noting that the SpamAssassin “spaminess” scores were very low – much lower than should be a cause of filtering. And yet, the messages weren’t necessarily making it to the inbox. Any marketer who has used a spam checker system and gotten the “all clear” only to see their email land in the junk folder (or worse) will understand this phenomenon.

Our study we took a different approach. We took messages that had failed to reach the inbox and re-sent them off a “clean” IP address. Most times, the email reached the inbox, indicating that it was the reputation of the IP and not the message itself, which resulted in filtering.

In both studies, the message is the same: Content isn’t getting you blocked in most cases.

This is good news and bad news for marketers. The good news is you can use the word “free” again! You can be a marketer – the words that drive response are not going to drive your message into the junk bin.

The bad news is that changing the word “free” to “complimentary” can be much easier than repairing a bad reputation. Depending on why you have a bad rep you may have a lot of work to do. But, sort of like renovating a house, the results will be well worth the effort.

Not sure where to begin figuring out your reputation or how to fix it? Well, you are in luck. My colleague Tammy Shimp and I just did a one-hour webinar on this very topic. Download the recording now – I promise it will be well worth your time.

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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 Worldprints.com 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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