The Fifth Age of Email Deliverability

The Fifth Age of Email Deliverability

The feedback mechanisms, controls, and algorithms that inbox providers use to decide whether to block, junk, or deliver email messages to their users continues to evolve. Since the 1990s, there have been five ages of email deliverability, each of which was ushered in by the arrival of a major change:

In the First Age of Email Deliverability, there were no rules and few if any consequences for bad behavior. Email users were more or less at the mercy of senders, some of whom scraped, bought, and sold email addresses and didn’t always honor unsubscribes.

In the Second Age of Email Deliverability, inbox providers armed their users with the “report spam” button, which allowed them to block future emails from offending senders. Moreover, senders who had complaint rates that were too high saw their emails junked or blocked across entire mailbox providers. As a consequence, senders bloated their lists with inactive subscribers who didn’t complain, but didn’t do anything else either.

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