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Return Path Slams UK ISPs for Blocking Legitimate Marketing Email

Posted: 29th Sep, 2010 By: MarkJ
stop uk isp email spamThe most recent European Email Deliverability Benchmark Report (2H 2010) from Return Path has revealed that 17.8% of supposedly "legitimate marketing emails" sent to European consumers are not being delivered (up from 11.1% six months ago), with most going missing or finding their way into SPAM (junk folders). Mr Sarcasm says, shame :sadder: .

In reality most UK internet users hate marketing emails, including many supposedly "legitimate" ones, which often appear to surface even after you've clicked that "Please, for the love of god, DO NOT send me anymore of your promotions through email!" checkbox. Sadly some companies simply don't seem to get the message.

Guy Shelton, VP for European Sales and Service at Return Path, said:

"ISPs are battling extremely hard to protect their customers from the scourge of spam. Marketers have their work cut out to prevent themselves from becoming friendly fire casualties in ISPs’ war on illegal unsolicited bulk email.

Around 98% of all email is spam. ISPs have to weed through it to try and discover what they should deliver and what they should protect their customers from. The problem for marketers is that legitimate permission-based emails are often identified as spam by ISPs, and subsequently directed to the spam folder or blocked at ISP-level, so the messages vanish into the ether.

Legitimate marketing emails often get caught in spam filters because customers flag email messages as spam when they have become bored of receiving emails from a company. If a company receives too many spam reports about emails requested by their customers then all the emails they send will be affected."

In the UK more than one in seven legitimate marketing emails (13.5%) failed to reach customers’ inboxes. One in 14 emails sent to UK subscribers (7.4%) went missing completely and 6.1% went straight to spam folders.

As a result many consumers might actually be pleased to view the woeful non-delivery (missing) rate for "legitimate" email marketing messages among UK ISPs. The study found that UK ISP Demon Internet was the hardest ISP for marketers to reach, with 27.19% of messages going missing.
UK ISP Email Non-Delivery Rates - Missing (%)
1. Demon Internet (27.19%)
2. Tesco (10.4%)
3. Orange (9.36%)
4. NTL World [ Virgin Media ] (7.9%)
5. BT Internet (6.18%)
6. Windows Live Hotmail (4.66%)
7. AOL UK (4.1%)
8. Yahoo! (3.17%)
9. TalkTalk (2.81%)
10. Pipex (2.77%)
We believe that the concern over this would perhaps be more palpable if the report hadn't focused so much on marketing mail, legitimate or not. This only serves to mask a much more serious problem; ISP SPAM filters that erase truly legitimate email between individuals.

We encourage ISPs to deploy controllable server-side anti-spam filtering, which allows customers some degree of control over which addresses it applies to; even if that is merely in the form of a basic “on” and “off” switch. Mandatory anti-spam filtering is not always necessary and most filters will sadly catch some legitimate email.
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