As you dip your toes into the waters of email marketing, you need to prepare yourself for the possibility that some of your email might contain content that people don’t want to receive. This is what ESP’s refer to as prohibited content. When you send a message with content like this — snap! — you’ll feel the jaws of compliance bite down on your email program!
As you might have noticed, sharks are on my mind. This summer, there have been several great white sightings around Cape Cod, and I can’t help but think of that old Spielberg classic, Jaws (not to mention the soon-to-be-classic Sharknado 4). Some of us are still afraid to go in the water. But you don’t need to be — not when it comes to the vast ocean that is email marketing, anyway!
Here’s what I mean. As you know, ESP’s like Net Atlantic help marketers send email. But we also have to respect the rules of the ISP’s and receiving domains to which marketers send their mail. It’s a tightrope walk that ESPs have to make with every send and every new client. If we send mail that is “universally” perceived as problematic, or send from industries that are seen as such, then we risk having our IP addresses or servers — or both — blocked on the receiving end. If this happens, we can’t send for any of our clients. And that’s as painful as a shark bite.
That said, it’s important to understand that if ESP’s consider your industry or content to be prohibited, it doesn’t mean that it’s “bad”. It just means that your emails tend to generate elevated complaints from recipients. ESP’s don’t want their senders to have elevated complaint rates, because complaints can adversely affect delivery. And, as I mentioned before, when mail gets deferred and blocked by ISPs, an ESP may not be able to deliver mail successfully for any of their clients.
So what type of content is prohibited content? Most ESP’s agree that it’s content including get-rich-quick offers, penny stock offerings, paycheck loan-related mailings, credit repair or get-out-of debt offerings, virtual online casinos, and the like. There are also some industries that, like the tide, ebb into and out of prohibited waters, such as the DJ and club promotion businesses.
When you’re ready to sign on with an ESP, be sure to review their prohibited content policy. It can usually be found on their website, either as a standalone page or within their Terms of Service. Here at Net Atlantic, we’ll personally review our prohibited content policy with you, so that you can jump into the email marketing ocean without fear of being bitten by prohibited content restrictions!