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What Is An IP Address Reputation And How Does Your IP Score Affect Your Email Deliverability?

Your organization’s IP score, or IP reputation, is highly important when sending emails and launching email marketing campaigns. Also known as a sender score, the IP reputation affects email deliverability, which is fundamental for a successful email campaign and communication. In this article, we examine IP scores in greater detail and examine how to maintain a strong IP reputation. 

What Is An IP Score Or IP Reputation?

An IP score is a score associated with the sending IP address’s reputation. It helps service providers to assess whether or not your email makes it past the spam filter. Your IP score can change depending on various factors, including receiver complaints and how often you send out emails.

Why Is The IP Reputation Important?

A strong IP score means you are considered a trustworthy source. This means that your emails will reach your intended recipients, and your email campaign, therefore, stands a greater chance of being effective. Conversely, if your customer base regularly notices emails from your organization in their spam folder, it may start to foster a negative image of the company, which could have a long-term impact.

How Does Your IP Reputation Affect Email Deliverability?

A sender’s IP reputation determines whether an email reaches the inbox or the spam folder. A poor reputation means your emails are more likely to be marked as spam or in some cases, just rejected altogether. This could have real consequences for the organization. If you want to be confident in the deliverability of your emails, maintaining a strong sender reputation is very important.

IP reputations are managed across third-party services, ISPs, and blacklist servers. Some are shared and synchronized, some are proprietary and even unavailable for checking.

Dedicated IP Address versus Shared IP Address?

You might be surprised that most email service providers (ESP) do not provide a dedicated IP Address for each of their accounts. In other words, your sending account is shared across multiple email accounts. This may be good or bad depending upon the IP Address’ reputation:

  • No IP Reputation – Sending a large volume of emails from a new IP Address with no reputation may get your emails blocked, routed to a junk folder… or get your IP Address instantly blocked if anyone reports the email as SPAM.
  • Shared IP Reputation – A Shared IP Address reputation isn’t necessarily bad. Suppose you sign up for an account with a reputable email service provider. In that case, they will mix your emails with other reputable senders to ensure your email is delivered correctly. Of course, you could also get into trouble with a less-reputable service that allows a SPAMMER to send from the same IP Address.
  • Dedicated IP Reputation – If you’re a large email sender… typically 100,000 subscribers per send, a dedicated IP Address is best to ensure you can maintain your own reputation. However, IP Addresses require warming up… a process where you send specific Internet Service Providers (ISPs) a specific volume of your most engaged subscribers for a period of time to prove to the ISP that you’re reputable.

How Do You Ensure A Strong IP Reputation?

There are a variety of factors when it comes to determining and maintaining your IP reputation. Allowing customers to easily unsubscribe from your emails if they want to is one step you can take; this will reduce spam complaints about your emails. Pay close attention to how many emails you send and how frequently you send them as well – sending too many in quick succession may be damaging for your IP reputation.

Another useful step is to verify your email lists by using an opt-in method or regularly removing email addresses that bounce from your mailing list. Your exact score will always change over time, but taking these steps will help it to stay as strong as possible.

How Do You Create A Strong Reputation With A New Sender?

Whether you’re sending bulk messages through your own mail server, or have signed up for a new Email Service Provider, IP Warming is the processes by which you need to generate an initial, strong reputation for your IP address.

Read More About IP Warming

Tools To Check An IP Reputation

Various software is now available that allows you to easily check your IP reputation; you might find this useful ahead of a mass marketing campaign. Some software can also give guidance on ways to improve your sender score as you go forward. Here are a few to get you started:

  • BarracudaCentral – Barracuda Networks provides both an IP and domain reputation lookup via their Barracuda Reputation System; a real-time database of IP addresses with poor or good reputations.
  • Cyren IP Reputation – Cyren’s global system identifies and tracks sending IP addresses and ranks them according to their reputation
  • DNSBL – This tool developed by Martech Zone queries the top Domain Name System based Blackhole Lists (DNSBL) to see if your IP address is blacklisted.
  • Google Postmaster Tools – Google offers its Postmaster Tools to senders allowing you to track data on your high volume sending into Gmail. They provide information including IP reputation, domain reputation, Gmail delivery errors, and more.
  • McAfee Site Lookup – provides information on your domain’s email and web reputation.
  • Microsoft SNDS – Similar to Google’s Postmaster Tools, Microsoft offers a Smart Network Data Services (SDNS) service. Among the data provided by SNDS is the insight into data points like your sending IP’s reputation, how many Microsoft spam traps you deliver to, and your spam complaint rate.
  • SenderScore – Validity’s SenderScore is a measure of your reputation, calculated from 0 to 100. The higher your score, the better your reputation, and typically the higher the chances of your email being delivered to the inbox rather than the junk folder. SenderScore is calculated on a rolling 30-day average and ranks your IP address against other IP addresses.
  • Talos – The Talos IP and Domain Reputation Center from Cisco advertises itself as the world’s most comprehensive real-time threat detection network.

If you need more help with your organization’s IP reputation or email deliverability, contact us for further details.

Bob Croft

Bob Croft is an experience martech leader within the APAC region, working with over 15 clients in the past 8 years time across multiple industries.

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