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« 13 Email Marketing Trends Explained: Conclusion (finally) | Main | Great Letter from OgilvyOne Leader »

September 01, 2005


Justin Foster

The challenge with sending with the ESP's domain is, to me, a pretty straightforward issue. Because there is no standard in place that allows email senders to track which subscribers have added your FROM address to the user's address book/safe list, and if you're asking the user to add the from address that contains an ESP's domain, then think of what happens should you ever decide to switch email marketing vendors: you'll need to change your FROM address and have to start from scratch asking people to add your NEW FROM address to their address book. Until your subscribers do this (now, for the second time), several leading email programs used by your subscribers may not display your images in your HTML messaging.

Regarding the above comment regarding better deliverability when using the ESP's domain, frankly, I'm with an ESP and I'm pretty shocked another ESP would claim that. The vast majority of consumer ISPs will use IP address or IP address block as the primary tool in determining white listing status, not domain of the FROM address (even though white listing does not always guarantee delivery to the inbox, or at all (i.e. if a specific user has you blocked), not the domain of the sender. Domain of the sender, in general, is more important for B2B mailings where you might have to worry about blacklisting issues. In almost all cases, I think it makes more sense to use your own domain - your ESP has a lot of clients, their overall volume is higher, and it's probably more likely that your ESP's domain (anywhere in the email content, or FROM, REPLY-TO or RETURN PATH address, will trigger filters rather than your own - I've witnessed this first hand with links from some leading web analytics companies). At any rate, even if you're using your own, ESPs and other companies that specialize in deliverability consulting/tools (i.e.,, should be able to help with deliverability regardless.

While we're on the subject, if you use your own domain with an ESP, make sure you've got SPF set up for your FROM address. That can help with your delivery performance as well to certain ISPs. Your ESP should be able to assist you with this process.

Richard Leader

While I agree in principle, I would say that my service provider claim better deliverability rate when using their email address. We do customise the first section (before the @), but use their name for after the @.
I guess it's a trade-off - between deliverability and implications to brand.

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