Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for my weekly newsletter, "Confident Computing", for more solutions you can use to make your life easier. Click here.

Why Does Email I Send to a Large Contact List Bounce so Often?

//

I recognize the problem that spam is to email recipients. But I have problem that’s almost the opposite of a normal spam question.

I put together a website following our 50th high school reunion so my classmates could remember the event and share some memories. I found that when I add content to the site and send emails to my contact list, many of the emails are not getting through to someone on the list because their server sees my message as spam. Are you aware of any way a person can send bulk emails to friends that want to receive them and be assured that they are not filtered as spam?

The short answer is no. There’s really no way to bypass spam filters, which is essentially what you’re asking. And if you think about it, you’ll see why that is.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

Spam and more spam

Spam is absolutely a problem and spammers are a devious lot.

The problem of course is that anything that you could do to ensure delivery, spammers they can do as well. You’re not a spammer, and I know that, but spam filters don’t; and just saying “I’m not a spammer” … well, that’s exactly what spammers would say.

So there are no hard and fast “do this and it’s spam” and “don’t do that and it’s not spam” kind of rules. Spam detection these days is basically a series of analyses of things that count in your favor and things that do not.

Strikes against you

Things that may mark your email as spam include: sending large numbers of emails at once, including certain terms in your message, certain URLs and much, much more. And of course, these vague rules vary from ISP to ISP. So from your perspective, the rules are different for each and every one of your recipients.

There are two things that I think that are counting against your particular situation and counting against it pretty hard. Fixing them might help.

No SPAM!One, you’re sending a lot of messages at once. I don’t know how many but from my guess from your description, it’s well above 10 and perhaps even in triple digits. That alone can be considered the mark of a spammer.

One solution then? Send in groups of less than say, five or ten, spread apart over time. And yes, I know that’s a pain. The solution to the next issue will actually solve the first one as well.

The second issue is that you’re sending a large number of emails from your home computer. It’s what spambots and zombie networks often do, or make it look like they’re doing. Thus, it counts against you.

The solution here is not to send it from your home computer and to not send it using a regular, normal email program. For large enough lists, there are a couple of approaches that I really recommend you look at.

Mailing services

Mailing services like Mail Chimp or Aweber are designed specifically to email large numbers of messages.

I use Aweber, for example, to send over 67,000 email messages every Tuesday morning. They use different techniques to seriously increase the odds that your email will be delivered. They do the sending. You just set things up using their systems.

Another approach is to use something like a Yahoo Group. While a Yahoo Group provides much more functionality than just an email list, it actually does a do pretty good job of providing an email list. The downside, of course, is that your recipients need to have Yahoo accounts to access your group and get the emails (although they do not need to be using Yahoo email addresses).

Ultimately, sending large numbers of emails to a large list like this from your home computer is probably the single biggest issue that you’re facing.

3 comments on “Why Does Email I Send to a Large Contact List Bounce so Often?”

  1. Why Yahoo Groups? From my perspective (I maintain several email groups for various non-profits) Google Groups is better. For one thing, if all they want is to get the individual emails as they are sent, the recipients do not have to have Google or Gmail accounts. And Google Groups have all the usual functionality, including all messages, digests, and web only.

  2. For a newsletter or mailing with a relatively small number of subscribers, as in the situation mentioned in the question, MailChimp is probably the best solution. They allow you to send 12,000 emails a month to 2,000 subscribers for free.

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article. Comments indicating you've not read the article will be removed.
  • Comment on the article. New question? Start with search, at the top of the page. Off-topic comments will be removed.
  • No personal information. Email addresses, phone numbers and such will be removed.
  • Add to the discussion. Comments that do not — typically off-topic or content-free comments — will be removed.

All comments containing links will be moderated before publication. Anything that looks the least bit like spam will be removed.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.