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My company has a website with a lot of visitors per day.
We are planning to email hundreds of thousands of users.
I read somewhere that your email reputation is build on your domain, we have very good SEO on google, so this should not be a problem. But isn't it risky to email all these people from our server (using PHP) ? If suddenly we make a mistake or everyone just starts reporting us as spam, couldn't this lower our SEO ?

My main question is, is it better to email from our servers, or use a service from Amazon to send the emails ?

Thank you!

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closed as not constructive by Rilindo, RobM, Ward, mailq, Scott Pack Dec 27 '11 at 15:24

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3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

First of all, if you do not have a lot of experience with e-mail distribution I can only recommend that you find a third party e-mail distributor to do that for you, especially with that amount of receivers.

Also, SEO does not matter all that much in regard of e-mail. E-mail reputation and IP network reputation matters a lot. Crossing the line is extremely easy, and undoing that action can be very cumbersome.

I have very good experience with MailChimp.com - they make abuse- and bounce handling easy, and they are strict (that's a good thing).

However! You do not mention how you collected all those e-mail addresses, but if you did not use double opt-in, they are as good as worthless. (Double opt-in means that you did send an e-mail when the users was added to the list, and asked the user to confirm this.) You must not send newsletters to people who did not 100% agree to it. That'd be spamming.

Edit, regarding comment:

Since the headline said "for a newsletter" i automatically assumed that newsletter bulk e-mailing was what you were going to do.

For sending single e-mails individually, MailChimp is not the right tool as it is meant for bulk e-mailing. For your purpose you can take a look at Amazon SES. But no matter what you do, you still need to do a lot of reading before you are ready to start sending e-mails out.

That is, if you want to be a good guy, follow industry standards, avoid spam filters and avoid breaking spam laws.

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Before any newsletter it will be first a reminder before any products the user purchased are expiring. I'll take a look at mailchimp, thanks! –  xtrimsky Dec 24 '11 at 0:17
1  
+1 - This is definitely best offloaded to a service unless you want to make email a huge part of your business. We've used Constant Contact before, they seem ok. –  afrazier Dec 24 '11 at 0:21

SEO and email reputation are not linked except that you need to follow best practices for both. Before you do the mailing ensure:

  • You have consent of the people you are mailing to. Double opt-in is the current standard. (If you have harvested addresses, you can end up on some blacklists very quickly.)
  • You have a has a working mechanism for users to opt out, and it is included in the mailing.
  • The mail is sent from a working sub-domain with a working postmaster address.
  • The SPF record for the sending sub-domain permits the sender to send your mail.
  • You have a feedback mechanism to remove addresses that bounce with a permanent status. (If not you won't be able to get off the blacklists you got onto by harvesting addresses.)
  • If you are using a DKIM signature, that the validation key is available from DNS.
  • The sending server uses its correct identity as verifiable but rDNS validation.

It has been my experience that most e-mail distribution companies are in the business of sending e-mail. However, they are not in the business of helping you get your mail delivered successfully. Their servers may not be compliant with the relevant RFCs, and they don't seem to check that the appropriate DNS entries are in place for the campaign.

Their DNS and RFC compliance issues are common to most automated mailing systems. Banks, utilities, couriers, airlines, governments, and others all seem to have the same problems.

You should ensure that the appropriate verifications have been done. Once you have got to that point, I would consider it is pretty close to a toss-up whether you want to do it in-house or contract it out. In either case, I would start small, verify, and scale out.

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Even if you have some pretty hefty resources for sending email through your own servers (both talent and the bandwidth/power), the intricacies of SPF records, getting un-blacklisted, spam reporting standards, abuse and bounce handling, etc. take a lot of time to master.

I would highly recommend a service like MailChimp, which deals with millions of emails per day for thousands of different clients; they even have a robust API that you can integrate to do some pretty neat things (while letting them take care of the email end).

For one site I work on, we send some 20-50,000 emails per day through Amazon SES, and if you're going to do it on your own, you might want to consider using SES. You'll still have to deal with abuse reports, bounces, and SPF records, but it's a very robust service that gives you excellent pricing for a very fast and voluminous email delivery method.

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