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Ken Magill

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B2B? Blacklisted by Corporate IT? You're Screwed

By Ken Magill
Business-to-business marketers are often under the impression that since business executives are more forgiving than consumers when it comes to unsolicited pitches, B2B email operates under a different set of email-marketing rules than business-to-consumer email.
As a result, many people who would never buy a list of consumer email addresses will consider buying B2B email lists.
Thing is, it doesn’t matter what individual corporate recipients of unsolicited B2B commercial email think. What matters is what the folks in the receiving company’s IT department think.
And corporate IT employees can be very unforgiving when it comes to spam.
“They’re the gatekeepers,” said John Caldwell, CEO of email technology consultancy Red Pill Email. “They’re supposed to keep the bad stuff out and sometimes they get a little aggressive.”
Also, corporate IT executives will block email from specific senders, Caldwell said.
“Say Bob’s Bait Shop is sending email to Steve @XYZ company and Steve hasn’t worked at XYZ company for two years. The corporate IT guys look at this and say: ‘You’re a spammer, and we’re not going to bother with your IP addresses. We’re just going to block your company name so nothing from Bob’s Bait Shop comes in.’”
What is more, unlike free webmail providers like Gmail who serve broad constituencies, corporate IT executives serve the email needs of constituencies with very narrow interests.
As a result, Caldwell said, corporate IT executives can be far more punishing than free webmail providers in their efforts to block spam. And once a B2B mailer gets spam blocked at the corporate level, getting unblocked is highly unlikely, said Caldwell.
“If you do something bad and get relegated to a Gmail or Yahoo! spam folder, as you show remorse through better practices by mailing better, cleaning out the bounces from your list and other things, what will happen is the [anti-spam] algorithms for the free email address providers are on a rolling clock, so as time goes on they let you in a little bit,” he said.
After, say, about a month of exercising good email practices, the emailer who was being sent to recipients’ spam folders in webmail accounts will start getting their messages delivered to recipients’ inboxes again as their email reputation increases.
“They [free email inbox providers] realize mistakes happen,” said Caldwell. “And they have to satisfy a very wide set of people, some of whom want porn email or Canadian pharmacy email.”
Not so with corporate IT, he said.
“At ABC Company, if they don’t like you, you don’t get in,” Caldwell said. “There is no rolling 30-day clock. If an IT guy physically puts your company name in their spam filter you’re not getting in.”
Moreover, once a B2B email marketer gets spam blocked by corporate IT, the only way the B2B emailer will get back in to that corporation’s inboxes is if someone inside the company with the power to do so requests that the block be lifted.
“Businesses are less forgiving when it comes to spam and that’s the thing a lot of people don’t get,” said Caldwell. “With business spam filters, it’s one and done and being let back in is the exception.”

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