Those Images May Get Your E-mailed Blocked

Jun 01, 2007 1:34 AM  By

Contrary to what many marketers believe, spammy looking content is generally not the reason Internet service providers block incoming e-mail, according to a study from Lyris Technologies.

User complaints and heavy use of images are two of the more prevalent reasons e-mail gets blocked, according to the e-mail software provider’s ISP Deliverability Report Card.

Another reason e-mail gets blocked is that the “from” line contains numbers or symbols rather than an actual name, the study said.

According to the report, deliverability remains one of e-mail marketers’ top challenges, and there are no easy fixes.

“It’s an oversimplification to place blame primarily on content filters when a campaign has poor returns, when in fact most delivery challenges are due to subscriber feedback,” says Stefan Pollard, director of consulting services at EmailLabs, a sibling company of Lyris, both of which are owned by J.L. Halsey. ìItís an oversimplification to place blame primarily on content filters when a campaign has poor returns, when in fact most delivery challenges are due to subscriber feedback.

ISP representatives have said repeatedly that user complaints are the number-one gauge they use to determine whether to block incoming mail as spam. But the message apparently has yet to sink in with many marketers.

“When I talk to marketers, the easiest thing for them to change is the content, and the first thing they think about is ‘How do I get past the spam filters?’” says Pollard. “I still hear marketers time and time again thinking that [content] is what they can change, because they don’t want to look at the harder stuff, which is they’re not sending something that’s wanted and relevant to the recipient.”

Of the 25 ISPs tracked by Lyris’ EmailAdvisor Report Card, some of the best-known names have the highest rates of delivering permission-based e-mail into users’ junk folders. While XO Concentric was the ISP with the top percentage of permission-based mail ending up in subscribers’ junk folders at 48.3%, Bell South and Gmail were second and third with 28.3% and 27.8% of permission-based e-mail ending up in users’ junk folders respectively.

Yahoo! was fourth with 18.6% of permission-based e-mail going into users’ junk folders, according to Lyris. Hotmail was number five at 16.2%. AOL was number 14 with a junk-delivery rate of just 2.3%.