Technology is moving along at a brisk pace, and our worlds are constantly evolving. Moore’s law tells us the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles roughly every two years, but Moore said that eons ago in digital time.
Visit any mass merchandiser such as Target or Walmart, and when you look up you will see dozens — if not hundreds — of cameras. This is so much more than Big Brother watching us. Stores track us. They know what we look at; how much time we spend looking at certain items. Then, they match that information with our shopping profile, which is tracked by customer loyalty cards, when we check out.
Did you ever wonder whether similar technology is applied to bulk emailers?
The most common question I hear when new clients sign up for YNOT Mail is “Can I get my own IP address?” Of course, if anyone runs into problems, they ask “Can I change my IP address?” People seem to think IP addresses are the only way email service providers track bulk emailers. This might have been the case five years ago, but things have changed dramatically since then.
I work directly with email service providers on a regular basis. It’s a tricky and difficult relationship. I cannot call up Google or Microsoft and ask, “Why is this person having problems?” If an email service provider were to reveal exactly what rules a certain bulk emailer violated, that bulk emailer would find it much easier to get around the rules next time. So, the big dogs never specify exactly what the problem is. But, every now and then, the email service providers give me little bits of information that helps in a huge way.
One scary trend I’ve noticed in the past year is how closely the ESPs track bulk emailers. It doesn’t matter what IP address (or addresses) you use, where you are sending from or to, or what host or bulk email platform you are using — they know who you are. You no longer can hide from them.
It’s amazing how technical and quick they are, too. Occasionally a new customer will sign up, and within hours of their first send one of the ESP techs will casually let me know we have a bad sender on our platform. The techs use the term “well known”: “[The new sender] is well known by the email community.” If you are a bad sender, the major ESPs know who you are and they are tracking you.
Changing an IP address will not fix your problems. Changing the email platform you use won’t fix your problem, either. In fact, that might do more harm than good, because now the ESPs will know you tried to hide. The more games you play and the more you try to hide who you are, the worse the situation becomes. Changing platforms and/or IP addresses and/or sender addresses once worked to throw ESP snoops off the trail, but this is no longer the case. Now they know you … and all your aliases.
They are tracking you, and it’s becoming harder to hide your past mistakes. Instead, we all need to become better senders.
When you get into trouble or find yourself on a blacklist, ask your bulk email service representative to help you find out where you went wrong and fix the problem. Because, as the saying goes, “You can run, but you can’t hide.”