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Poor list hygiene = blacklisting

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Saturday July 8, 2006 )

When was the last time you removed email addresses that continually bounce from your lists?

An email list loaded with addresses that bounce isn’t just sloppy marketing that sucks up bandwidth and slows down your deliveries; it can have more drastic consequences.

Some ISP’s, including Hotmail, are now blacklisting companies who engage in poor list hygiene practices by continually sending marketing messages to abandoned email addresses.

In the case of Hotmail, if a user doesn’t access their account for 6 months, it becomes inactive and then some time afterwards becomes a spam trap. How long after it’s marked as inactive that it then becomes a problem for unsuspecting marketers Microsoft isn’t saying; but it’s rumored to be 6 months after the “inactive” date.

If you don’t use list management software to handle bounces, or your software doesn’t provide this functionality, this is the type of bounce error to watch for:

550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable.

In these cases, it’s probably best to remove the user right away, unless you have some means of tracking how many times a particular email address produces this error. Most good list management software or services will also allow you to set a retry level before removing the address from your list; as in some cases, the user will still be active, but the 550 error has been caused by a problem at the ISP’s end.

Read more

Autoresponder and mailing list management software and services guide/review.


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