Bryley Basics: Why do my outbound emails show up as spam?

Anna Darlagiannis and Gavin Livingstone, Bryley Systems Inc.

I just got a call from a prospect; he notes that his emails are showing up as spam and his email recipients now think he is a spammer.  This is a topic that many email-oriented organizations experience.

Unfortunately, with ransomware growing more common, spam-filtering efforts are getting more aggressive, which makes it even easier to be labeled a spammer and then blacklisted.  Is it a losing battle?

Spam is unsolicited/unwanted bulk email; it is often easily identified, but can also be a bit ambiguous, making it difficult to separate desired email from undesired.

Spam filters, both free-standing (Reflexion, MimeCast, Proofpoint, etc.) and built-ins (spam-deterrents built into Google Gmail and Microsoft Office365) use various algorithms and keyword searches to review incoming email, apply a spam “score”, and then block those that exceed a specific threshold.  In addition, they blacklist repeat offenders considered spammers, effectively preventing the source emailer from reaching their intended audience.

Subject-line triggers are a significant issue; using words like “Free” or “Viagra” in your email subject line (and within the body of your email) can easily get your message labeled as spam.  Send this email to hundreds of recipients will get you blacklisted as a spammer.

In addition, these are other common email-spam identifiers:

  • Generic greetings
  • Grammatical and spelling errors
  • Unusual use of capitals or punctuation (BUY!!!)

Here’s how to stay off the spam-filter radar:

  • Avoid attachments
  • Check spelling and grammar
  • Provide an unsubscribe option
  • Avoid certain keywords1 and subject-line triggers

1Please see The Ultimate List of Email SPAM Trigger Words by Karen Rubin of Hubspot on January 11, 2012.