Email Sender Reputation - Your Company's Marketing FICO Score


Most marketers know that every company sending email has a sender reputation that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use to rate how well subscribers receive their messages. Issues with your sender reputation can cause serious email deliverability challenges. 

But what determines your email sender and domain reputation? 

Unfortunately, not many marketers understand all the factors used to generate that score and are unsure how to repair a damaged reputation.  A damaged email reputation and IP reputation can lead to problems with email delivery and deliverability and cause campaigns to fail before they get a chance to make an impression on their target audience.  Even worse, if gone unchecked, it can lead to a marketer being blocklisted and cripple an organization’s ability to engage with its customers and prospects.   

Your email sender reputation is your organization’s credit score for email messaging.  To stay in the good graces of your ISP, it helps to better understand the significant threats to that score:

Download our Complete Guide to Email Hygiene

Spam Advisory Domains and Spam Traps:

These are tools used by the major ISPs to identify and ultimately block people or organizations deemed to not abide by the rules of permission-based email marketing.  They don’t belong to an actual person, so they cannot opt-in.  The existence of spam advisory domains, or spam traps, in your list, indicates to an ISP that you’re not maintaining good email list health.  

Malicious Moles:

Also known as “Scomps,” are similar to Seeded Trackers made to track delivery rates, except these are email addresses deliberately created to report campaign statistics to blocklists.  They are trying to get you in trouble.


Think of a honeypot as a type of spam trap hidden in code.  These addresses catch bots, scraping tech, and other auto-harvesting methods used by spammers to acquire new email addresses.  Webbula maintains exclusive relationships with the world’s largest honeypot purveyors, meaning that we can go deeper than any other provider in identifying these threats for you.  

Blocklisted Emails:

ISPs use these to catch marketers committing the actions listed above and label that organization’s domain or IP address blocklisted.  If your domain is added to a blocklist, your email server will be severely limited or stopped altogether from sending email messages.  It commonly results in going through an IRS audit style process to prove that you are not a spammer to your ISP and email service provider.  

NOTE: Engagement metrics like open rates, forwards, bounces, and unsubscribes, also play an essential role in good Sender Reputation.  It’s critical to keep tabs on your metrics to ensure your campaigns continue to operate within healthy levels.

Webbula helps organizations every day in identifying the threats listed above. When handling these threats, especially the email addresses that have a high frequency of opening your emails or clicking your links, here’s what we recommend:   

  • Understand your risk tolerance  
    • Have a conversation with your team. Ask, what did the report show to be the most frequent? How much risk does it pose to the company and our current customer relationships if we keep those emails active? This helps you take a step forward and make data-driven decisions vs. emotionally based corrections.
  • Segment and track
    • Once Webbula identifies any reputation threats in your list, segment them out of your list. If you choose to include those addresses in your email program, batch them and only send emails to a few folks at a time. Pay close attention to your open, bounce, and click rates as the campaign progresses so that you may make an informed decision on whether or not to keep or remove from future sends.
  • Ask Webbula for suggested best practices  
    • Webbula has been providing email hygiene services for ten years.  Chances are we’ve already encountered the challenge you’re currently experiencing and can provide some guidance on how to move forward. 

Defend your sender reputation, email confidently, drive profitability - get started with a free trial and compare us today!

Verify, Protect and Grow Your Database