We as email marketers tend to define spam as “unsolicited” or “unrequested” mail. While this is technically correct, it goes a bit beyond that. The truth is, spam is in the eye of the beholder. These days, people tend to consider any mail they don’t want as spam, whether they asked for it or not. As senders, we need to understand this and make sure we are mailing to interested and engaged contacts. Those who truly send unsolicited mail have forced ESPs and ISPs to implement ways to file complaints against such practices. These complaints, in turn, impact a sender’s online reputation. Get too many complaints, and your emails don’t get delivered; it’s as simple as that.
Constant Contact looks to adhere to a 0.1% spam complaint ratio (or 1 complaint per 1,000 contacts). In the past, I have discussed these spam complaints, how to view them within your reports, how they affect you (and us), and some best practices on how to avoid them. Today I’d like to focus more on the types of complaints that aren’t shown on your reporting screen.
Constant Contact is set up to receive spam complaint feedback from most of the major ISPs, and those complaints appear in the reporting for each campaign. Gmail does things a little differently though. Instead of automatically reporting individual spam to us the standard way, Gmail’s postmaster will notify us directly if a campaign's aggregate complaints exceed their threshold for complaints. If this happens, you may need to have a conversation with our Account Review team so that we can help improve your reputation with Gmail and lower complaints going forward.
Direct Abuse Complaints
There are times where Constant Contact will receive complaints directly from a customer’s contact. Usually, this occurs when a recipient’s email client doesn’t have a “Report as Spam” option, or if they feel strongly enough where a standard spam complaint may not be sufficient. In these cases, the Compliance team will discreetly unsubscribe the email address in question and review the account to see if additional action is warranted.
Some people will go beyond reporting an email as spam or emailing us and report the sender directly to a blocklist (or blacklist). Blocklists are services that track IP addresses or email domains that are suspected of sending unsolicited mail. Most major ISPs and ESPs incorporate some kind of blocklist in their filters, so these complaints have the most impact and are considered the most serious.
If Constant Contact receives a blocklisting complaint, then the account in question will trigger an Account Review so that we can work with the customer and bring their list back in good standing to avoid any potential harm to their or Constant Contact’s online reputation.
In a perfect world, anyone who doesn’t wish to receive emails from someone would unsubscribe, and that’d be that. Of course, we know that is not the case. Ultimately, because Constant Contact operates in a shared server environment, complaints against a handful of customers could potentially affect our delivery for all of our customers. The Compliance and Account Review teams work with customers who may not be in the best standing to make sure everyone’s emails get to the inbox. If you have a concern about reporting or complaints, we encourage you to be proactive in list maintenance. If you have any questions, we’re here to help!