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Christopher Knight

Is EarthLink Dropping Your Permission-Based List Members?
By Christopher Knight

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I knew something was up when my hard bounces for a recent mailing shot up 454%. Today, an important lesson on what will happen to your Earthlink & Mindspring email list members when their new challenge/response system eats your members for lunch.

I have a very simple routine that helps protect my email deliverability:

  1. Right before I send the next email to my newsletter, I always review the stats from the previous mailing to make sure that everything is ok.

  2. I check things like Subs & Unsubs, Open Rate, CTR, and Hard/Soft bounces as compared to the recent 30 days of mailings.
By doing this simple routine, I won't wake up one day to having half of my list gone due to my ignorance of not watching my email deliverability stats. Last Thursday for one of my weekly newsletters that normally has 8-22 hard bounces per mailing had 122 hard bounces (73 from Earthlink/Mindspring). That's a 454% jump!... so I knew something was up. A week later, I did a review of the 122 bounces and then proceeded to mail to 12 of them manually to just check and see if their email addresses were really dead. Guess what 6 of the 12 of the Earthlink tests sent me back?
I apologize for this automatic reply to your email.

To control spam, I now allow incoming messages only from senders I have approved beforehand.

If you would like to be added to my list of approved senders, please fill out the short request form (see link below). Once I approve you, I will receive your original message in my inbox. You do not need to resend your message. I apologize for this one-time inconvenience.

Click the link below to fill out the request:
Their Challenge/Response system needs work because they are sending ALL of my emails to MY members who have DOUBLE-OPTED IN to my list to the bit bucket and reporting to my email list server that these email addresses are DEAD... when in fact, they are not dead! Earthlink, are you listening? Can you imagine how many tens of thousands of your customers who turned on your challenge/response system will never receive legitimate emails that they asked for because you're reporting them as DEAD.

Challenge/Response is not Evil

Look, I have no problem with challenge response and I would have gladly sat through having to hand-approve 73 challenge/responses from Earthlink and Mindspring members... but I was denied that opportunity and the Earthlink mail servers reported their members to my list server as DEAD. At least SpamArrest gives me (the Publisher) a chance to approve their challenge to authenticate myself as a legitimate publisher. Ohh yeah, the other 6 from my test? 3 of them wrote back asking me to add a NON-earthlink email account back onto the list. Ezine Publishers: Your Earthlink & Mindspring members need careful attention before they are purged off as false positives by your email list server or email service provider.

This Ezine-Tip was submitted By Christopher Knight -- Email List Marketing Expert, author and entrepreneur. Get your weekly dose of Email newsletter publishing, marketing, promotion, management, email-etiquette, email usability and deliverability tips by joining the free Ezine-Tips newsletter:

Ezine-Tips for June 22, 2006

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