Hosting troubles any thoughts?

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Hosting troubles any thoughts?

Postby utharda » 5:59pm, Thu 09 Jul, 2009

I'm having some trouble with my web host, and I'm looking for advice.

I send out a newsletter weekly to support a b&m financial services business. I've got a list of about 15,000 realtor's that I've collected via my website sign ups, through card drop contests at conferences etc, (very clearly stating that the card drop was to be added to my newsletter list and for the raffle.) I use a double opt-in for web sign ups, and confirmation emails for the card drops. I'm rigorous about processing my bounces and removing bad addresses, I make sure every newsletter goes out with a clear unsubscribe link, and I remove those once per week, the day before the news letter goes out. The newsletter has actual content, one article per week, and usually some form of promotion. The news letter has the physical address of the office, the phone number and the name of the manager on it, because honestly I want clients to call whether they have a problem or want my services. In other words, I'm doing everything I can think of to make sure my list stays white, the newsletter is worth receiving, and that its very easy to unsubscribe or complain to me. Now I've been threatened with suspension for "a" (singular) spam complaint.

I have an couple of ideas about the sources of the complaints. Customers may forget they signed up for the newsletter, or get tired of them etc and complain. I know that since a lot of my clients work for the same real estate agencies so I might send emails to 60 or 70 people out of an office of 100 agents and that might look like spam to an IT person. That might also have generated the complaint.

I sent the explanation above to the hosting company, and I'm still waiting for a response from them. Its been a couple of days, so I'm beginning to worry. I was hoping some of you might have suggestions on how I can improve my process to eliminate complaints, or suggest web hosts that will do a good job and let me market my business.


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Re: Hosting troubles any thoughts?

Postby gotmick » 5:33am, Wed 15 Jul, 2009

Kris, the biggest problem is that most people have always been told to NEVER click on unsubscribe links. Therefore, they click on the "This is SPAM" button. I remember being told "It will confirm your email address to spammers" way back when. And you're absolutely right about people forgetting. But combine that with the Spam button, and you've got people calling you spam left and right. Believe me, more than you realize.

It's not uncommon for my confirmation message and welcome messages to be reported as spam too. It just proves how easy some hosts make it to call something spam. Most shared hosts are just trying to protect their IP address from being banned because that will affect everyone on the server. I host PHPLIst on my own server, and I completely understand their concern. One day everything is fine and the next day thousands of messages are rejected from Yahoo's servers and piling up in my Postfix queue. Then you spend four days trying to reason with Yahoo and get your IP address off their blacklist. And I'm still banned from a couple smaller telcos who use a "reputation service" that extorts money from senders to get white-listed.


- Don't take it personal. ID these people and get them off your list as fast as possible. They did it once, they'll do it again.
- A good way of ID'ing them is to subscribe to feedback loops. AOL, Hotmail, and Yahoo offer them. You'll get a copy of the message every time someone flags your message.
- Set up DKIM on your server. Hopefully your host will help with this because this is server side.
- Set up an SPF record. I haven't done it yet, but I intend to. It's supposed to help.
- Make EVERYBODY opt-in. No exceptions. It's not worth it. Sounds like you are covering this, but it's critical.
- Process your bounces often. You look like a spammer when you keep sending the same bad emails.
- I remove an email after one hard bounce (5.x.x) or 5 consecutive soft bounces (4.x.x). PHPList doesn't do it, so I have a script that runs daily which goes through my bounce tables and unconfirms those users.
- Watch your image to text ratio. This is my biggest problem because of my HTML emails. I make sure a fair amount of text is in every email. Otherwise, it's straight to the junk folder.
- Make sure you are sending from a real address. You don't have to monitor it. Some email hosts try a handshake with it to see if it works before accepting your messages.

I could go on and on with stuff like throttling, but those are the big things that are important. I hope it helps.
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Re: Hosting troubles any thoughts?

Postby bharte » 10:56am, Wed 26 May, 2010

I use Campaignmonitor to send out my newsletter. Most of my subscribers seem to follow the process quite well and can unsubscribe from it easily. I have had a handful of people label it as spam but so far campaignmonitor haven't flagged this up.

The biggest think though is that seperating the hosting from my newsletter is that if anything happened to my newsletter I could move it elsewhere and my hosting would not be affected either way.

I hope this helps.
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Re: Hosting troubles any thoughts?

Postby lauraabc » 11:01am, Fri 21 Oct, 2011

we had a similar problem.
how long do you use the Campaignmonitor?
i will try it:)
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