As a sender, what can I do to ensure that my email goes to the right folder?
To ensure that your email gets delivered to the inbox, simply send emails that users want. Our studies have indicated that when users see messages miscategorized, they notify us within hours of delivery. We will quickly react to the user feedback and update our filters automatically.
How can you ensure that you are sending email that users want? We have found that mailing lists that follow the following guidelines have more success than those that do not.
- Send email to those that want it. We have found that using bought email lists is the quickest way to ensure that your email will be delivered to the bulk mail folder. Instead, use confirmed, opt-in email lists. To do this, after you receive a subscription request, send a confirmation email to that address which requires some affirmative action before that email address is added to the mailing list. Since only the true owner of that email address can respond, you will know that the true owner has truly intended to subscribe and that the address is valid. Without this process, you cannot be sure that the recipient requested your mail. Unintended recipients will likely tell us your message is spam. If you have not read The Story of Nadine, you should do so.
- Honor the scope of the list's intent. If customers believe they are signing up for a specific list on a specific topic, and they are subscribed to other lists or receive unrelated, off-topic messages in the process, they will likely mark such messages as spam.
- Honor the frequency of the list's intent. If customers believe they are signing up for a list that will message them once a week, and they receive messages daily, they will likely mark messages as spam.
- Don't hide your identity. Misleading "From" names, subject lines, and forged headers are not likely to help you win your customer's hearts.
- Include valid unsubscribe links and periodically refresh your list. Unfortunately, spammers have taught users that unsubscribing is a bad idea. By periodically sending a confirmation email, you can be sure that the people receiving your email want to receive it.
- Honor unsubscribe requests as fast as you honor subscribe requests. When a user unsubscribes, they don't want to receive that mail anymore. Promptly removing them from the list should help to prevent user marking messages received after unsubscribing as spam.
- Segregate your lists to different IP addresses. If you maintain several lists (or clients, especially for an ASP), you may want to segregate your lists to ensure that users are marking each list on its own merits. If user sees both spam and legitimate mail from the same IP, their notifications to us will be hazy and will likely result in the spam overriding the legitimate mail.
- Secure your mail servers. Open proxies, open relays, broken formmail scripts, and other insecure servers are frequently found by spammers. Make sure users are telling us about your mail, not someone abusing your system.
If you want to ensure that your email is prioritized and your SMTP connections are not deprioritized, please do the following:
- Remove email addresses that bounce. Bounces are an indication that the mail could not be delivered because the user does not exist, no longer exists, or is unable to accept your email. List managers should remove addresses that generate bounces. A particularly popular technique for managing bounces is to use VERP to identify the recipient address that has failed.
- Maintain accurate reverse-DNS information for your mail servers. Yahoo! Mail makes extensive DNS checks for each connection, and an accurate reverse DNS will ensure prompt processing of your connection and email.
- Pay attention to the responses from our SMTP servers. The SMTP protocol defines response codes that tell your server what to do next. In particular, our server will send "500" SMTP response codes to indicate problems that you need to investigate. For example, if you send email to too many recipients in one connection or to too many invalid recipients, our servers will respond with a "500" range SMTP code, indicating a permanent error. You should not immediately retry these errors as you will get the same response.