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BizReport : Email Marketing : May 25, 2011

Report: Legitimate email may not make it through filters

If you aren't seeing a good ROI on email campaigns lately, a new study from Return Path may indicate why. According to their research about half of marketing emails are flagged as spam by ISP filters. Those messages never reach the inbox.

by Kristina Knight

The Return Path study focused on the UK, but the information can apply to other countries or regions. Researches monitored and collected data from more than 465,000 email campaigns between July and December 2010.

According to Return Path:

• 14% of marketing emails did not reach consumer inboxes
• 25% of emails sent to BT Internet customers didn't reach inboxes
• UK inbox delivery rates fell by nearly 5% for the year
• Of email requested by consumers, 1 in 7 did not reach the inbox, 1 in 12 disappeared completely and 6% went directly to spam folders

There is good, albeit frustrating, reason for spam filters to filter out legitimate emails, even though it is frustrating for the legitimate sender. The sheer number of spam messages, the lengths spammers are going to and the White Hat-esque tricks they are using can be confusing.

"ISPs bear the cost and burden of finding the minute amount of email messages that are not spam and delivering them to consumers' inboxes. Their networks are overwhelmed with trillions of messages every year that are spam, phishing and spoofing messages," said Richard Gibson, Channel Relationship Manager at Return Path. "ISPs are stuck in a no-win situation between spammers' attacks and their users' expectations. They are constantly strengthening their defences against the ever-growing sea of criminal email and as a result marketers' continued lack of effective email best practice is giving their emails the characteristics of spam, which results in their emails being blocked."

As one example, new data from Symantec's MessageLabs finds that many spammers are now creating their own URL shorteners to 'hide' the destination point of malware laden sites. Consumers then click on the bad links and are taken to spammers' websites.

MessageLabs research shows:

• 30% of email-borne malware contained links to malicious websites, a 16% increase over April
• More than 3,100 websites were found to harbor malware (daily average)
• Russia is now the most-spammed country with an 82% spam rate

Tags: email content, email marketing, email messages, email trends, MessageLabs, Return Path, spam, spam trends

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  • Craig Kindy

    Aren't more and more legitimate B2C email senders resolving the problem of spam filters blocking legitimate emails by seeking and obtaining special certifications from "White List" providers which are designed to assure ISPs that the business's emails are NOT spam and the ISP can safely allow passage through their spam filters?

  • It's an unfortunate truth that spammers make it harder for the legitimate e-mail campaigns to succeed. Sometimes even the best intentions and great content aren't enough to guarantee that e-mails are delivered successfully.



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