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Avoiding SPAM filters

You already know what SPAM is, and you know what we at Mailee think about it. Ok, but, how about when messages are caught by SPAM filters, even though are not considered SPAM (they were send with users’ permission)? In this guide, you’ll learn:

  1. How these filters work
  2. How to act so that they don’t interpose between your clients and your messages

The anti-SPAM filters

Filters preventing SPAM have a list with several criteria to decide which emails are valid and which are not. Some example are phrases such as “Click here”, “For free”, “Buy now” etc. They attribute different points for each one of those items. If the messages show an amount of SPAM-triggering words higher than a specific threshold they will go straight to the SPAM folder. This threshold is different for each mail server.

Naturally, this list of phrases, characteristics and elements is dynamic, and is constantly updated by the servers. Filters always learn new words and expressions, everytime someone marks an email as SPAM. Beyond that, servers exchange information about new SPAM criteria. So, keep in mind that there isn’t a magic formula. Here are some common mistakes to be avoided:

  • Phrases such as “Click here”, or “For free”
  • Lots of exclamation marks
  • Writing only in capital letters, especially for the subject line of the message
  • Using colored fonts, such as green or red
  • Just converting a .doc file into HTML or using a badly formatted HTML file with syntax errors
  • Creating an HTML consisting of one large image, with few or no text

At its Support Center, Google posted an article with some explanations on its filters, providing some very useful information. Check it out.

How do I notice that my messages are going to SPAM filters?

Pay attention to your opening rates. If it falls under your average, maybe your emails are comsidered SPAM when going through a filter. It is also helpful to pay attention to your hard bounces rates, since they’re also a criteria for the servers to determine if a sender is or not a SPAMMER.

How to check if a campaign is good against SPAM filters before sending it?

There are some tools to analyze a campaign before sending, so you be warned about problems with the code and chances of the message falling in the filters. Email on Acid and Litmus, are both good paid suggestions. Get Fractal helps you build and test email designs for the main clients and email providers.

Abuse reports

When a receiver gets a message, it can be labeled as SPAM. When this happens, the server gets a warning. If the receiver gets a predetermined number of those warnings, they can send an alert message to the sender. If the abuse continues, servers can even block an IP from sending emails.

When a message is marked as SPAM, you get a report alerting which contacts unsubscribed from your messages and also marked it as SPAM. At, this is shown at the reports area.

Remember: Even those who don’t create SPAM messages are subject to be marked as spammers. Actually, statistics show that even the right lists, fully opt-in, have one or two SPAM reports for 50000 sendings. Sometimes it is just a mistake: an inexperienced user marks your email as an abuse because it is easier to cancel a newsletter subscription. But even a mistake is something serious, since it can affect the deliveries of thousands of other legitimate messages.

Reasons for getting false abuse reports

Receiving this warning can be a simple mistake. But more often than not, it is the sender’s fault. Check out these tips to keep this from happening:

  1. Email addresses were legitimately collected, but the sender took too long to send anything. Who would remember having subscribed to a newsletter two years ago, when it arrives out of the blue?
  2. You have a store, and each client of the store has a registration with an email address. You want to send them a newsletter, since they’re already your clients, but you do that without asking if they want or don’t want to receive your messages.
  3. Buying or renting email addresses from a company, and adding them to your list without permission.

Notice that the underlying tone here is sending material without consent. Even if you obtained those addresses legally, respecting the receiver is primordial.

And how to avoid?

Respect and consent, always.

  1. They’re already your clients? Don’t send them offers without asking if they want to receive these offers. Have a separate campaign, explaining you’ll start a newsletter or a specific campaign and give them reasons to sign up for it.
  2. Don’t buy email lists. Ever.
  3. Keep the unsubscribe link very obvious. Nobody wants the “mark as SPAM” button to be more visible.
  4. It is important to give a professional appearance to your campaigns. If they don’t look like that, people can report them as SPAM for thinking it is something fake.
  5. Stick to the previously accorded amount and frequency of emails you said you would send. If you intend to send a weekly newsletter or a monthly email with offers, then stick to it. Don’t mix them all up!
  6. Don’t wait too long to get in touch with people who want to receive your messages. Be quick, so they remember they subscribed to your contact list.
  7. Use double opt-in to add receivers.

What’s double opt-in?

It is a way to make sure your clients want to receive your messages. It’s pretty simple: a user registers in your website to receive a newsletter. They then receive a confirmation link by email. They’ll only be added to your list if they clicks the link. If they don’t, then they won’t be added. This process is automatic when using subscription forms generated by


Bear these tips and practices in mind and your chances of failing to go through the anti-SPAM filters will drop visibly.

Info from here.