One Response to 2) Before Sending Your Next "Bulk mail" Piece, Why not Test it?….
  1. zork Reply

    This one is good stuff, but it bears a little bit of further explanation.

    What mail-tester does is to examine a message in the way a “typical” server would, especially in regards to a commonly used server tool called SpamAssassin, as well as a variety of blacklists of known sources of spam.

    SpamAssassin is a tool with hundreds of rules that look for spam-like characteristics, and each time a message gets a positive on one of those rules, a small score is applied. Most rules have miniscule scores (.01 points), but some have more, and occasionally, the combination of several rules may trigger a significantly higher score. A total score of more than 5 points is considered to be “likely spam”, but how a message is treated will depend on how SpamAssassin is implemented on a particular server. There’s a number of variants:

    – Tagging a message’s subject line with something like “[Probable spam]”
    – Redirecting a message to a Spam or Junk folder
    – Outright rejection

    The primary thing that mail-tester provides is a look at the raw scoring of a message, to see how SpamAssassin scores a message, with a default implementation. There are lots of variants of how SpamAssassin is implemented, and individual sites may treat a specific message as spam, even if it turns up a relatively low score at mail-tester.

    It’s worth noting that there’s numerous web pages that describe how to keep messages from getting grabbed by spam filters, although many tend to be focused on the people who generate commercial mail. One I particularly like is at:

    Several highlights of stuff to be careful about:

    * Use a recognizable sender name
    * Choose a reliable Email Service Providers (free providers are more frequently blocked)
    * Test your emails before sending them (reference to
    * Keep email lists clean (watch delivery reports and unsubscribe undeliverable addresses)
    * Make sure you have *explicit* permission to send, using “confirmed opt-in”
    * Respect the unsubscribers
    * Stay away from spam trigger words
    * Avoid rich media content (e.g., embedded video)
    * Avoid including attachments (including PDF and Word documents)
    *Tone down the fonts and colors
    * Cut back on the images
    * Make sure your images display correctly
    * Offer both plain text and HTML
    * Correct spelling and grammar
    * Make it easy to unsubscribe
    * Take care of the follow-up

    It’s a separate topic, but I believe that sending newsletters as Word documents or PDF files is a poor way to communicate. Word is a fantastic composition tool, but it’s intended for producing printed output. PDF amplifies that assumption.

    If your recipient is reading from an email client or phone, attachments add more steps to getting to content, and something designed for a printed page often doesn’t read well on a screen — too much scrolling. Far better to put your content in the message body with HTML formatting, where the output can be scaled to fit the display.

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