Skip to main content

You Need A Proper Email List

If you aren't very internet savvy and you are putting together a list of email addresses in order to keep people in the loop about something, you might think "I'll just add everyone's email to the To: field." Or, worse, you might decide to BCC a bunch of folks to help protect their privacy so you aren't sharing everyone's email address with everyone else. For the sake of convenience, you may also be adding attachments to these emails.

These practices can get your email flagged as spam. It can also result in your email address being blacklisted.

Adding attachments is not only a red flag that you might be a spammer who should be blacklisted, it also increases the risk of spreading viruses and malware. It is a best practice to not routinely use attachments. Training people to open attachments from just anywhere is potentially training them to open malware.

If you send something to a bad email address and it doesn't go through, you will get a bounce message. But if you end up in the spam folder or on a blacklist, you will not be notified that your messages aren't getting through.

The internet doesn't want to tell bad actors "You are in email jail." That would only help them misbehave.

The whole point of blacklisting is to minimize harm from bad actors. So if you get blacklisted, you may have no idea why no one is calling you back, why no one is attending your thing, etc.

If you have a distribution list, you need a proper distribution channel, like a Google Group. Google Groups are free to set up and not technically challenging to administer.

I've been online a lot of years. Part of my college education has come from online classes and I have served as a moderator on both forums and email lists.

So I have gathered together some articles supporting the above point that you can read if you so desire. The short version is that you should not be emailing a ton of people on a regular basis without setting up a proper list.

And you really should not be BCCing them with attachments. It looks very shady and can come back to bite you.
  • Email Blacklists 101: What You Need to Know A blacklist is a real-time list that identifies IP addresses or domains that are known to send spam. They’re used by organizations like internet service providers (ISPs), free mailbox providers, and anti-spam vendors to prevent spam from coming into their systems.
  • The 5 Mistakes That Will Land Your Email in the Spam Folder An ISP filter can flag an email if the origin domain or IP address is deemed untrustworthy, or if the email itself has a high probability of being spam.
  • Avoid being Flagged as a Spammer It is better to send an individual message to each recipient, rather than using multiple addresses in the BCC field because many spam filters (and many ISP's) automatically flag multiple recipients as spam.
    Also: Minimize your use of attachments
  • 9 Ways to Avoid Getting Your Email Flagged as Spam "Provide an Easy Way to Unsubscribe"
    (Hint: This means a button they can click themselves. It does not mean forcing them to track down the proper contact person and begging said person to remove them from the distribution list.)
  • Why Is My Mail to this Person Not Getting Through? Spam typically doesn’t bounce Because bouncing email flagged as spam would give the real spammers too much information about how to bypass the spam filters, it’s simply not done. Email flagged as spam is simply not delivered, or is delivered to the recipient’s spam folder, where they may or may not find it.

Popular posts from this blog

A Lean, (Ever)Green Machine: Website Tips for Small Shops

I've been making little websites to serve up information on various topics for close to two decades. I'm basically a one-woman shop, so my websites have to be lean, evergreen, low cost and low maintenance to make any sense at all.

I currently live in a small town and I sometimes attend public meetings where people are enamored of shiny tech but don't know how to use it. They get all envious of projects and talk in glowing terms about "Wouldn't it be GREAT if we did something like that?!" and I bite my tongue and don't say "You have no idea what on earth you are talking about. You have neither the resources nor the expertise to do a project like that."

Those experiences inspired me to write this post. I would love to help people in the small town where I live to establish an effective web presence, but I really am going to need to do a lot of educating if that is ever going to happen.

Most locals have no idea how to make a website that…

Me. Woodward Park, Fresno, CA. January 2016.

My favorite pic of me that's sort of recent-ish. (No, you aren't lost. As of June 1, 2020, redirects here.)

Actionable Content Marketing Tips

This is a TLDR of Content Marketing Tips from Experts at First Round Capital and A16Z (found via HN). The original podcast meanders a lot, which makes it hard to extract actionable tidbits from it. Some pieces of this TLDR are direct quotes. Others are paraphrased. I have made no effort to indicate which is which.

First, how do you measure the effectiveness of your content?

This is not a solved problem. But, there are some obvious measures you can look for, like page views and time on site. However, you really need to look for a metric that ties it to goals. Ask yourself what are we trying to measure and why? How does it fit our strategy and our goal? Stronger measures than page views are time on site, engagement and uptake.

And so, to make that more specific, what is a good (metric)?

What is the amount of length that you actually need to convey the point? It’s more about information density to me, like how many insights are you conveying? Are you really packing it in, or are you…