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14.9. How do I know if my eMessage got Spam filtered?

Updated 08.18.14

Well, there's no magic button or crystal ball to tell us when our eMessages get Spam filtered, but it's inevitable that Spam filtering will occur - sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose.  The best approach is to avoid Spam Filters whenever possible.  Jump on over to our page on eMarketing Tips & Etiquette to learn how.

That being said, you should also pay close attention to the Track Results feature for each eMessage you send.  If you see a higher-than-normal "unopened" rate for a group or eMessage, you may want to take a fresh look at the subject line and contents, to see if they may be "spammier" than your other eMessages.  If the eMessage is different in some way (like it has more images, more hyperlinks, a dangerous Subject Line like "You Won!!!!!!!!!", dangerous phrases like "open immediately!", "Why pay more?", etc.,) than your other eMessages, it could be landing in recipient Spam folders.

Another method that we always recommend is to carefully watch your Undeliverable Notifications (hard bounces, also referred to by techies as SMTP errors) and the reasons provided for eMessage "undeliverability."  Is that a word? 

Sometimes the Undeliverable notification itself will provide a brief explanation of why your message wasn't delivered:

     User mailbox unavailable - error code 550                   - OR -

      5.5.0 User mailbox unavailable

You may or may not be able to tell exactly why your eMessage wasn't delivered from the explanation.  In the example above, why wasn't the mailbox available?  The answer often lies in that numeric code (like 550).  Each of the numbers contains part of the answer.

The first number basically indicates whether the server accepted the message and knew what to do with it. The second number gives a bit more information, and the third number gives even more detailed information about the status.  Below are a few resources you can use for understanding SMTP error codes.

About.com SMTP Error Code Guide

Answers That WorkTM Error Code Glossary

We doubt you'll ever see an Undeliverable Notification that says "Hey, your eMessage got caught in this recipient's Spam filter!" - the "explanations" are usually a bit more cryptic.  That's basically done on purpose because if you knew which eMessages were getting Spam filtered, you could probably figure out a way to get around those filters.  And email customers don't want that. 

Click here for more information about Spam Filtering.

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