Inbox Pros Blog   »   July 2017 Deliverability Industry Expert Pro Tip

July 2017 Deliverability Industry Expert Pro Tip

Author |  Zack Aab

Remember that “spam” is also called “UCE” or Unsolicited Commercial Email.

UCE is illegal in many countries, but still legal in the United States (with a few conditions).

However, ISPs like Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, and Yahoo are also legally empowered to protect their customers from seeing anything they consider potentially harmful, including UCE, so they care a lot about the solicited part: whether or not their users have requested your mail.  

As an ISP can’t know explicitly whether or not a user has done so, they are looking at the behavior of both you and your users for indications that the users requested the emails you are sending.  These indications naturally include click-throughs, spam complaints, and spam traps, but also things like bad-address hard bounces, users deleting-without-reading, user engagement history with the domain, and more that the sender can’t see or directly measure.


Old lists, affiliate lists, purchased lists, and other non-opted-in lists are the very definition of UCE and best avoided.  Such lists will give off many signs that the users don’t expect or want this email campaign, which will quickly get an otherwise normal marketer stuck in the spam folder.

If an older or external list must be used, it’s worth the investment to clean it with a reputable list validation service like Webbula or BriteVerify and make sure the content is enticing and valuable and therefore likely to get good user interactions right off the bat.  If a user doesn’t go for it, suppress them immediately.


Conversions from cold emails are not a common long term business model for a reason.  The handful of conversions you might get from uninterested users are not worth getting your whole brand stuck in the spam folder for months, or worse: blocked completely.

The best way to stay out of the spam folder is simple: respect your users and make sure you get permission to send your mail.