My account has been suspended – what do I do?
If you’re here it’s because someone did something wrong. You have probably received notice from the CakeMail Abuse team that one of your clients has been suspended. Reasons for this include exceeding our Complaint and/or Hard bounce threshold, uploading a list that contains spam traps, sending an email that resulted in a Blacklisting, among other things.
What is the first step?
Don’t panic. There is a very good reason you’re here and why this account was suspended. The good news is we are here to help you and your client resolve the issue and hopefully get this account back up and running!
Why did we suspend the account?
Accounts can be suspended for a variety of reasons, including exceeding complaint or hard bounce thresholds, uploading lists with spam traps, sending an email campaign that results in blacklistings, or other activities. Ultimately, accounts are suspended in order to protect the reputation of the CakeMail network and the delivery for everyone.
What happens next?
We will need you to start an audit of this client’s practices. Together we will work to determine what triggered this issue and take steps to ensure that it does not occur again in the future. If the problem is not resolved, it may result in further suspensions or termination of the account.
- What is a complaint? A complaint is registered when someone hits the ‘Spam’ or ‘Junk’ button after receiving this email. These complaints are sent back to us through FBLs we have setup with each ISP. When this happens the recipient is given the status ‘spam’ in the contact list and they are added to the Suppression list for that account (automatically). If your client is consistently generating a complaint rate higher than 0.25%, this is a sign that people are not happy receiving these emails and/or there is a serious problem with how they are populating their list(s).
- What is a hard bounce? A hard bounce is generated when you try to send an email to an address that no longer exists. The more of these you have with each campaign you send, the higher your hard bounce rate will be. If your client is consistently generating a hard bounce rate higher than 5%, this can be a sign that there is a serious problem with how they are populating their list(s).
- What is a spam trap? The term “trap” refers to how these types of addresses are scattered throughout the internet to catch people either not using proper list building practices, harvesting emails, purchasing lists from a third party, or marketers who have poor list hygiene (whether they know it or not). Spam trap addresses are kept secret to protect their identity and are released to no one because making them public would render them useless. If your client is consistently uploading known spam traps, this is a sign that there is a serious problem with how they are populating their list(s).
We’re here to help
The good news is CakeMail is committed to helping your client find a solution. In order to help you help them, we will first need to understand how your client is populating their list(s) and review their opt-in data. In accordance with the Cakemail Anti-Spam Policy your clients should be able to prove opt-in for each contact on their list(s). Opt-in data varies, but it should include: Date/Time/IP stamp when the recipient opted-in. Also valid are date/time records of purchases or other business transactions.
Please read the following example
Name: John Smith Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 301 Front Street West City: Toronto Prov/State: Ontario Country: Canada Postal: M5V 2T6 Day Phone: 555-555-5555 Evening Phone: 555-555-5555 Site: http://www.mydummyaccount.com OrderDateTime: 2012-04-21 21:16:58.090 EST IP: 18.104.22.168 Host: mx3.mydummyaccount.com
This data is an example of what should be recorded for each recipient on this list. While it is not required to have everything listed here, obviously the more you have as proof of opt-in, the better. It will erase any doubt should anyone else complain in the future and may protect you from being sued under anti-spam laws.
After your client’s opt-in data has been confirmed, we will also need them to answer the following questions so we can determine the source of the issue and ensure their problem is completely resolved.
- When was the last time this list was used?
- How clear is the sign-up process?
- Are these people expecting to receive these emails?
- What is the URL used to sign-up?
- How have you been handling bounces/unsubscribes/complaints ?
- Did the recipient sign-up at the same domain as the one used to send this email?
- Does your client have a direct relationship with every recipient on this list?
- Please inform us of the method(s) of opt-in being used:
- Double opt-in
- Single opt-in (with Welcome email)
- Single opt-in
- Implied opt-in (opt-out)
- Trade shows
- Other (explanation required)
Once you have completed the audit, the next step is to reply to the email sent by our Abuse team who will review the information provided and contact you with the necessary steps moving forward.