I don’t send a lot of volume campaigns. Can my list quality really impact my e-mail deliverability rates?

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Answer: It’s no secret that having a messy list can get you blocked at ISPs. If you send to too many “unknown users,” you can look like a spammer. While that is more common with high-volume mailers, there is another list issue that can happen to anyone: sending to abandoned addresses that are now being used as spam traps.

Spam trap addresses have historically been those set up by ISPs and corporate receivers just to “trap” spam; because they never belonged to a real person, e-mail sent to them is assumed to be unsolicited. Now, some receivers are using abandoned addresses as spam traps as well.

If you have not cleaned up your e-mail list lately, you likely have a lot of old addresses on your file. By running your list through an e-mail list hygiene service, e-mail change of address (ECOA) service, and by making sure you run the proper bounce algorithm on your file regularly, you can limit the bad addresses on your file that can get your program in trouble.

By doing these things, you’ll see your e-mail delivery rates rise.

George Bilbrey is VP-general manager of Return Path’s Delivery Assurance Division (

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