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I run a website (seatgeek.com) that sends a lot of transactional email to users--account updates, alerts, etc. It's important to us that our domain remains clean in the eyes of spam filters.

We'd like to roll out an email marketing campaign. It's nothing particularly spammy, but this would be the first time we ever emailed to people who hadn't expressly asked to receive email from us. It's to market a new product we built to a specific niche of professionals.

In order to protect our domain in the eyes of spam filters, we're considering sending the marketing email from an alternative domain. The alternative domain is an alternative landing page we sometimes use for this new product.

Is there any way this could backfire on us? Does it seem like a particularly poor idea?

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"to people who hadn't expressly asked to receive email from us". Sorry, that's the definition of spam. –  John Gardeniers Apr 13 '10 at 5:13
    
I second John and in some parts of the world it's illegal! I know its tempting. But why not approach them with your product, ask them if they are interested and out of those that are ask them if you could send them more information. You will likely get better response –  artifex Apr 13 '10 at 6:12
    
A bit more info...we have a list of people that have expressed an interest in getting info about services to help them sell tickets. We have such a service. So it is perhaps less pure spam than the "Buy Viagra" sorts of emails. –  Jack7890 Apr 13 '10 at 6:36
    
Did they express interest in getting said info from anyone who pays for the list, or did they think they were just allowing one particular company to contact them? –  ceejayoz Jan 7 '12 at 6:08

2 Answers 2

If you think sending email to people who haven't expressly asked for it is "nothing particularly spammy" then I'd love to hear what your definition of spam is. Because unsolicited commercial email is the precise definition of spam and that is what you are talking about sending. So yes I do think its a poor idea.

There are several (popular) spam blacklists out there which make a point of listing all the domains and IP ranges associated with a spammming company, which sounds like it will be a real problem for you. Then there are the people like me that get really annoyed with spammers and won't do business ever with a company that we remember as spamming us if we can possibly help it.

As farseeker says, if you must do it then do so via a specialist company. But you know what - you are spamming if you do this and you will find your main domain gets blocked and your business boycotted by some people if you go ahead.

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Sending the email from a different domain won't stop the intelligent ones from linking an unsolicited email with your product.

The real question is if you're willing to have your brand and product associated with unsolicited email, regardless of which domain name you use to send your email.

If you decide that it's something you're willing to do, then just do yourself a favour and use a company that specialise in this sort of thing. There are plenty of legitimate bulk-mailing service providers, and they have all the correct SPF records and trusted IP addresses all set up, ready to go. Because, basically, yes, there's plenty of ways that this could backfire on you.

If enough people click "Spam" on your email, your mail server in general could be banned from the large mail services (Yahoo, Google, etc) which means that no emails sent from your mail server, regardless of their content or originating domain, will be received. You have to ensure that you update (or create, if you don't have it already) SPF records for your mail server to ensure that your mail server is seen as "authorised" for that domain. If your mail server is in-house, prepare for your internet connection to buckle under the stress of sending thousands of emails (even if you space them out to say, 1000/hour, there's still the bandwidth to be considered). These are all bad (or annoying) things that you don't want your mail server to be tainted with.

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Thanks for the info. So if I use a service like MailChimp, then I don't run the risk of our mail server having any trouble? –  Jack7890 Apr 13 '10 at 6:34
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Mail server, no, but your domain may still run into trouble. There's a lot of methods of detecting spam, and the mail server is just one of them. If someone decides to investigate the source of the spam, they may choose to block your other domain name(s) as well (however, this is probably unlikely) –  Mark Henderson Apr 13 '10 at 21:40

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