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How to comply with Email regulations and spam

Today I got a call from one of my customer and he had a few queries about sending email and knowing more about the spam.

Most of the people are aware about the SPAM emails but I am wondering how many of you actually understand the term spam. Since internet was invented, SPAM was a introduced to the world as an unwanted by-product which is still ongoing today in 2022. SPAM is the free source of promoting any product / business or any service to vast number of email subscribers without them signing or requesting that information.

To explain in simple, sending “unsolicited” or promotional email which is intended to sell your business or service to anyone who has never signup with you, is considered as spam. 

What is the difference between sending newsletter and Spamming?

Ok this is a very basic question most of you may have when signing up with any web hosting services or email hosting services.

I am intending to send a newsletter to 5000 subscribers. Will it be considered as a spam?

The answer is, did you collect those 5000 emails from your subscribers from each of them may be via website, or manual notes or any other way. We need to keep in mind, that those subscribers should be aware that they are sharing their email with you, and you are likely going to contact them in future with any kind of news / information / newsletter or promotional content.

The recipient who has willingly shared their email with you and is ready to receive your business emails is called a “Subscriber”.

So sending email to such subscribers is not considered as SPAM. The nature of emails could be anything such as it could be a newsletter of your company, any new product launch, or simply sharing some information about your business.

This term is called as “Solicited” subscriber.  Sending email to solicited subscriber with his consent is not considered as spam.

But if you obtained an email list from someone and have not collected those emails without permission of those subscribers in list, then sending email to such subscriber is called as Spamming. Spamming is illegal and considered as an act of crime by several server providers.


How to send mass email or newsletter to my subscribers?

If your website is hosted on a shared server then chances are that you have a restriction of sending bulk emails.

Usually this restriction is put in place to avoid the server IP from getting blacklisted on RBL networks.

RBL network means remote block list or realtime blackhole list. There are several free and paid RBL providers who maintain database of IP’s that are known to send spam. These databases are updated every hour and if any IP is blocked in such RBL list, then chances are that email sent from that IP may not make it to the recipient.

There are several websites which maintain a list of such RBL websites and help us identify if any server IP or hostname is blocked at any of those RBL’s.

For eg: HetrixTools or MXtools and many such 3rd party websites.

Other than such self-proclaimed RBL list providers, there are self created RBL lists by popular email providers such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo etc.

If you intend to send mass email to your “solicited” subscribers, then below are a few policies or suggestions that you can consider for maximum delivery of your email or newsletter to your recipients:

  1. Make sure you are sending email to your solicited subscribers. Unsolicited subscriber may report your email as spam and get your IP / domain name flagged in RBL.
  2. Consider sending email / newsletter in batch of say 300 emails per hour. This will help your IP not to report as suspicious to destination mail server.
  3. Consider drafting email / newsletter with less hyperlinks or images. More the number. of hyperlinks, more is the email possibility to be considered as spam.
  4. Avoid using spam words such as sex, viagra, cialis, etc.. If your email has such words, it is likely to be considered as spam by recipient email filter.
  5. Use valid method of SMTP authentication to send emails to your subscribers. Sending email using any mail script without smtp authentication increases your changes of email getting flagged as spam.
  6. You can consider using 3rd party email services such as MailChimp who offer free email delivery to 2000 email subscribers. They also offer paid plans for sending email to large number of subscribers.
  7. If you intend to send email newsletter from your shared hosting account, then consider using a dedicated IP from your web hosting provider, so that a valid PTR record is setup for your IP and it will act as your mail server IP thus not affecting the shared server IP reputation if it gets flagged for some reason by RBL providers.

You do not need any kind of permission from any Government identity of organisation to send newsletter but make sure you follow the valid practises of sending genuine email to your solicited subscribers so that it is not considered as spam.

Email till date remains the most effective form of communication and promotion only if used wisely and with regulations. If not, then your domain may get blacklisted as spam sending domain and it loses it’s credibility over internet.