When Good Emails Get Blocked--Deliverability and Your List

Simply stated, email deliverability is the art of reaching the inbox. For organizations that rely on email to communicate with supporters, monitoring and maintaining deliverability is not so simple, as mailbox providers continually re-evaluate inbox prioritization techniques to provide the best inbox experience for their users.

Our Director of Email Deliverability, Alice Cornell, wakes up everyday with a single mission–ensure that Change.org email reaches our users. Here’s what she’s learned:

Sender Reputation Dictates Inbox Placement 77% of the Time

It used to be that content was the key driver for email being filtered to the spam folder with words like “free!!!!” These days mailbox providers use several metrics, including recipient behaviour, to determine a sender’s reputation and his has a big impact on differentiating good mail from bad. In fact, according to Return Path, 77% of the time sender reputation determines inbox placement.  

The Elements of Good Sender Reputation

There are a number of metrics that mailbox providers use to determine sender reputation.

  • Email infrastructure - authentication, feedback loops, unsubscribe links
  • IP permanence - dedicated IPs where possible
  • Spam complaints - avoid complaints at all costs!
  • Subscriber list health - sunsetting users, removing hard bounces
  • Subscriber engagement - a combination of opens, click throughs, and other factors
  • Message quality - relevance, mobile optimization, avoid public URL shorteners like bit.ly

Watch the video above for the full presentation, and if you need to dive deeper on any of these topics, check out these additional resources on email deliverability.

Enjoy, and may your email reach the inbox with flying colors!

Email deliverability resources


Prove that you are a real and bona fide sender whose traffic is trustworthy with these services:

Feedback Loops

Handle user complaints with major service providers by setting up Feedback Loops.

List Health

Maintain your email list health with these guides and services:


These companies offer services that use either seed addresses or panel data to help understand inbox placement and rendering: