Over the last few months, we have had a number of clients experience problems with their email systems. From issues with their servers being slow, through to emails being bounced back and recipients not receiving them. After thorough investigation by the team, the reasons behind all these issues were the same. The clients were sending mass emails from their own email server. There are many reasons why sending mass mails from your own system is not a good idea, both technically and ethically. Below are some of the reasons and some solutions to those issues.

You look like  you are sending SPAM

With SPAM being a problem for everyone in this day and age, there are more and more systems out there which are looking for servers sending SPAM. If these systems consider your server to be the source of SPAM it will get listed on their database and will become ‘blacklisted’. This means that any other email systems that use these databases for SPAM protection will consider your server a source of SPAM and you will find your mails get rejected or quarantined. Quite often you will receive a ‘bounceback’ explaining the mail couldn’t be delivered. This is an autogenerated email from the recipients server telling you that it has been rejects for whatever reason.

Sending mass mails is a sure fire way of getting flagged as a SPAMMER.

You can quickly and easily check if your server is blacklisted here:

Check for Blacklisting

You could be slowing your server and internet down

If you send one email to 50 people, 50 emails leave your server. If that email is just text then you probably won’t notice it. However, if that email has attachments and – as was the case with one client – the email is 5mb in size, your server has to send out 50 emails at 5mb in size or effectively it has to send 250mb of data out in one go. This is a whole lot of data for any system and on a slower internet connection it can bring things to a crawl whilst it tries to process it. If you send this amount of data AND you are ‘blacklisted’ then you will find you have 50 bouncebacks then trying to come in to your system – slowing things down even more.

You are probably breaching guidelines and regulations

SPAM is such a problem that most countries have regulations and guidelines for electronic communication. The most common act you need to adhere to is the Can-SPAM act, which is a US act but recognised internationally. This act states:

  1. Refrain from using false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
  3. Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
  4. Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.
  5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.
  6. Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
  7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.

Unless you are putting a lot of effort into ensuring your emails are in compliance, they probably aren’t.

I still need to send mass mails, so what’s the ‘proper’ way of doing it?

The easiest way of sending mass mails and still being Can-SPAM compliant is to use a dedicated mass mailer service. There are many around but Orbits prefer Mailchimp for its ease of use and price – ie Free. We have used it for all of our email marketing and newsletters and without fail it has performed as expected.

Try Mailchimp

If you really must use your own email server for mass mailing, then we would recommend sending your mail through an authorised SMTP server, otherwise known as a smarthost. Sending your mail through one of these servers means that you are not risking your own server being blacklisted and if the smarthost is configured properly it should ensure your mail reached the intended recipient. If you do use one of these services, try to break your mailings down into blocks of 30 or less contacts or you may find the service restricts you automatically.

Orbits IronClad email system has a 100% clean smarthost as part of the package.

Try Orbits IronClad email