Category Archives: email delivery

Amazon, Microsoft and IBM Changing The Face Of Email Inboxes

On Wednesday, Amazon Announced WorkMail, A Competitor To Google Apps Gmail Plus Integration To Major Email Clients Like Microsoft Office Outlook

Smart inbox icon image

The price point of $4 per user is going to be the big draw to WorkMail and Amazon. Get the lowdown on the whole Amazon business suite here from Gigaom.

You can sign up to the Amazon WorkMail Preview here if you already have an Amazon AWS account. Or- create a new AWS account and then join the preview. You will need to know your AWS account number to sign up before hand.

IBM’s Verse Email Client Is Due Out To Beta Testers Next Month

You can sign up for the IBM Verse beta here…

Microsoft Acquires To Organize Our Data

Microsoft has agreed to acquire machine learning Equivio , an Israeli-based startup that uses machine learning to sort large amounts of data into relevant groups.

I am expecting an Outlook “Smart Inbox” after a Windows 10 release in 2015. Combine that with easily cheap administration of hosted business email at Amazon and we may really be seeing some changes on how we read and use our Inboxes by 2016! – Chris

The Future Of Email Delivery Is NOW

In the very early days of Google, one of the founders of the magazine WIRED, asked a very young Sergy Brin: “Why are you launching yet another search engine, when we have a perfectly great one, Alta Vista?”

As the story goes, Sergey Brin replied: “We are not building a search engine, we are building an AI.”

That was sometime around the turn of this century, back when everyone was in a panic about the DotCom crash. Seems Google even back then was building what I am about to describe to you now.

And as an email marketer, you better listen up, because I am not talking science fiction here, I am talking Gmail, your number one Inbox that you have got to get to!

Image of Google datacenter servers row

And that is the same thing every major computing giant is and has been doing for some time now, from Facebook to Amazon, Apple partnered with IBm to Microsoft and of course Google. These are the “Big 5” in computing today. And they intend to stay that way.

Why Google Is Not What You Think

Some may say Google is an advertising platform, the biggest in the world in fact: And that is true.

Some may say Google is the coolest thing on Earth, that Google just loves us all, and gives us all these cool free tools. And to the average user all the way up to Google Apps users; That is true too.

Cutting to the chase, what is Google really doing?

Google, just like Microsoft, Apple + IBM, Facebook and Amazon (yes Amazon), are out to create a completely unique experience from Google search to YouTube, from Google+ to Gmail, from beginning to end. All controlled by an AI – Artificial Intelligence. And yes I HATE that term because it is misleading and has become a marketing term, used to lure investors, get attention on blogs and social posts and raise stock prices. A rant for another time and place…

While fast and simple, but yet very effective Inbox filters like SaneBox
are simply trained by you and based on your address book and email sending history, the big players in today’s online cloud based computing model have much more up their sleeves.

The plan for these “Big 5 of Computing” as I call them, is to be able to learn from you, to model your actions, predict them and create a computing experience that delivers what you need before you ask for it. The EdgeRank algorithm that filters your Facebook feed in advance for you is a good example of this at work.

Or if you use Google+, the home feed you see is filtered by 50% depending on how many people you follow. Twitter is rumored to follow suit and display your Tweets all judged, filtered and delivered or not, via interest and relevancy filters. And on your phone you can see Google Now using Google predictive and personal modeling algorithms at work too.

Gmail is no different either

So we are no longer talking spam keywords, or out going link URLs, or even linking to a ClickBank offer in your Gmails. We are talking Intent, Context, recipient conversations, friends of said recipients and what conversations they were in. We are talking interest graphs, relevancy scores and your history of +1s, shares, comments, mutes of G+ posts, and the positivity or negativity of such shares and comments.

The earliest term I have heard describing this was “Signal Economy” and I first heard of that phrase thru John Blossom: Here is his article “While You Were Out, The Signal Economy Trumped The Content Industry. Again .”

And that is how I am looking at “Getting to the Inbox” today. Not a static set of spam filters that you have to avoid, but instead a set of signals that tell Google your email is important to the particular and unique recipient.

Mike Elgan says in his article Why Google wants to replace Gmail

The fact is that Google, and companies like Google, hate unmediated anything.

The reason is that Google is in the algorithm business, using user-activity “signals” to customize and personalize the online experience and the ads that are served up as a result of those signals.

Google exists to mediate the unmediated. That’s what it does.

That’s what the company’s search tool does: It mediates our relationship with the Internet.

Then, after a week with Inbox, Mike Elgan returns to say how much better than Gmail Inbox is…

Your to-do list and email integration is a joy. Your Material Design is so easy to look at. Not only are reminders integrated into the email system, the email system itself is treated like to-do items. When you’re done with either an email or a reminder, it doesn’t feel like you’re deleting email. It feels like you’re checking off a to-do item or filling something away for later.

And speaking of reminders — that autocomplete when you set up a reminder is amazing. I just type in buy and it offers a grocery list. Any reminder shows a list of possible completed items, which — if correct — I can just choose.

And how do you manage to do that voodoo that you do while retaining my old Gmail filters and folders? And you let me set up new filters without making it seem like that’s what I’m doing. It really just feels like I’m filing things into the right categories, then I can tell each category what I want it to do.

And yes, this mediation comes from Google+. It comes from Google Play. It factors in what music you listen to, what books you read on Google Books, what YouTube videos you watch, what YouTube videos you click away from in mid play, what pre-roll ads you watch and which ones you skip. What AdSense and AdWords ads you click, what Google display ads you click elsewhere on the web and what remarketing ads you respond to. Google knows what products you buy, what you don’t buy and what products you prefer, from cat food to what brand of cell phone you carry.

Just go to your local Walgreens and watch people in line ahead of you swiping their Androids to pay with Google Wallet and Apple Pay now too.

Google knows what blogs your leads own, even if it is just through Whois and DNS lookups, what they write about and what and who they link to, what Blogs they read and what Blogs they trust. Google knows brands in email that your subscribers trust elsewhere and can pretty much predict what emails they want to see and what ones you don’t; Before you ever even load Gmail.com

Whether your leads read your emails on an iPhone or an Android, Google knows where you go and who you go there with. Google knows what restaurants they like, which locations they prefer, when they are most likely to go there and of course, since you buy Apps through the Google Android Play store if you carry and Android, they know your credit card number and your billing address.

I mean, you do buy Apps don’t you? You do store a credit card with either iTunes or Google Play right? To initialize your Android phone at the Cell store, you did have to enter your Google username and password? Or maybe you are some secret agent type that carries a burner phone and no one knows who you are? Yeah, that’s how it is. You actually have privacy from the Big 5, huh 007?

And that is what Google knows NOT just about you and your subscribers, but about every single person on the planet that uses Google. Even if you just Google terms not logged into Google, Google still has a pretty good idea who you are, just by your IP address. So does every site on the Internet.

Just like Google knows a lot about your email list, via your email server’s IP address.

Now, think about how much Google knows about you, then take that and multiply it by your email list, then divide by the number of Gmail addresses on it, then multiply that by how many times you email each month. And now you have a percentage of your list that Google basically controls, can personalize more and more in the coming years, and will be personalizing more in the coming months.

Hence, for better email delivery you had best be forming at least general relationships with these people, from the chapter on Google’s Dynamic Spam Filters And Gmail Tabs

When it comes to getting past Microsoft filters behind the scenes on corporate Microsoft Exchange email servers, and not just at the Outlook.com and Hotmail.com domains, you had best be on Twitter and on Facebook. Remember that BING search and Microsoft email delivery has access to the relationships you have at those two properties.

Do a BING search for one of your major search terms. In the side bar of BING you will see Twitter and Facebook friends and recommended users. Even if you blew off that option when you began using the last few versions of Windows, your email list did not. Especially if they are using Outlook, Office 360 or still have a Hotmail address.

Enter Google Inbox: Gmail Meets Google NOW Meets HAL

Screenshot of Inbox by Gmail permissions on install

Just look at the permissions that installing Google Inbox asks for: Identity (the app needs that to function), your Contacts, your Calendar and your Location. Why on earth would an email app need access to your calendar and your location? Because Google wants to customize your email by what you are doing, where you are doing it and who you are doing it with.

This kind of data is the basis for contextual and intent driven apps. As an email marketer I find that absolutely fascinating and highly useful. If your Google Calendar says that you are busy, would you want your phone to be pushing updates to your Google Glass, your WEARable or your Apple Watch? Well me neither!

The more Google can help me first not bother my subscribers, then go on to get my email in front of them when they are most likely to want and need to see it? Well I am totally down with that, aren’t you?

While Google Now is the #1 personal digital assistant on Android phones, Microsoft is coming on strong with CORTANA and real time alerts that will be just as good if not better than anything Google is and will be fielding in this arena. DO NOT let the Apple or Google fanboy in you, or the same on social posts deter you from looking to this future.

You maybe hating on the new Android watches and the 2015 release of the Apple Watch but mark my words, in the coming years Google Wear and Apple’s Watch will be what makes or breaks email open rates and content marketing.

Jack Humphrey commented on my post: “The Death Of The Search Engine” that: “…for me, is the ironic “so what?” factor on these wearables. This is actually the first time in human history when we were “over it” before there was an “It.” The watches are only marginally better than Glass for UI and what you can tolerate doing with them before you wake up and realize you’re wearing the Kool-aid and not drinking it.” And that is true, this new highly customized world is hard to understand and Jack is very right. But that is exactly why many marketers are not going to “Get this” until it is too late.


Screenshots of Google Now alerts buttons in Google Search: Nov. 3rd 2014

Instead, imagine being the marketer that gets his posts, his emails, his Tweets and the like sent to the wrists of his subscribers? Not sent to their phones that they soon will far more rarely take out of their pockets. Not buried on the desktop computers and email clients like Outlook and Gmail, and definitely not to SaneBox style filters, not to the Gmail promotions tab and definitely not to the spam folder.

Either way, at the Inbox, on your wrist or on your phone, building large social graphs that are not just stranded on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, but instead are directly hardwired to your email list as you will learn in just one chapter here on Email Delivery Jedi it’s your email sever reputation AND your TrustRank within these intelligent networks and algorightms that will be the future of email delivery and the future of making money online.

So… To Sum Up The Future Of Email Delivery–

  • Having a hard coded relationship with your email leads on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ is already a must. Now it is a must know secret to email delivery.
  • The big 5 of computing, 4 of which control most of the email delivery your list currently enjoys, are going to use demographics, intent and contextual algorithms, relationships on social networks and more right now.
  • Artificially intelligent machines that model your behavior are going to bring a web 5.0 to life that completely customizes your experience at the Inbox and every other application they control to new levels.
  • The time to build these new relationships with your email list is now, not later when your competition is doing the same!

So it is going to be more important that ever, as social traffic becomes more and more a pay to play world, as the machines decide who sees what and when, that the money is still in the list, and that list has got to Get It To The Inbox now! Not later, not after you get done on Facebook, not after you send that next Tweet, not after you record your next YouTube video. Now!

Email Delivery Jedi brand logo...

Email Delivery: Is It Broken?

When I was a small child we had moved into a brand new house, and back then the yard did not come pre-landscaped.

It mostly came with gophers, sand-burrs and bare dirt.

So my Dad did a lot of digging, in the midst of this, his long handled shovel snapped off at the head and he landed on his butt.

We got in the station wagon, and went down to Ace Hardware, bought a new oak hardwood handle, dug the end of the old handle out of the spade’s head, set the new handle in place and we went back to work. I was four years old so I watched for moral support…

In today’s world we throw the shovel head out and go to Home Depot for a new shovel entirely. Have you ever seen handles for sale without the business end attached at Home Depot?

Yeah, I am old and it was 1968.

But this is how most emailers are looking at going to the Promotions tab in Gmail:

New tools image...

“It’s broken, I can’t fix it so I am buying a new shovel…”

Groupon is a good example of this. When their open rates suddenly plumeted –by double digit declines–

When one of the world’s largest emailers lost $2.6 Million in revenue in just 3 months…

Well they threw up their hands, said “The shovel is broken” and went to Home Depot for a new one.

In their case they jumped the email ship and turned instead to a mobile App.

But they never bothered to look at what was going on, look at their own employees Gmail rimary Inbox and think about why some very commercial emails go to the Primary Tab while some others go to the Promotions tab.

When Gmail Tabs rolled out last year, my list engagement plummeted, and the end of last year was NOT a very profitable one.

So here’s the thing: The Promotions Tab is not a death sentence, because Gmail is dynamic, algorithmic and Google is out to deliver email to People.

Yes, Gmail is People!

And if Gmail has an algorithm behind it, based on People instead of an Inbox, then I knew I could use the mind of the machines to my advantage.

I mean after all, isn’t Chris Lang smarter than “The Machines?”

So I dug down, started doing what I have always been good at, looking for where the algorithm allows me to shine through.

Look for the foot-print of the successful, and of course the foot-print of the unsuccessful. One side feeds the other…

In a world where many are far to busy to go to Ace Hardware and fix that shovel that served you so well for decades, I have identified 10 ways to get your email in the Primary Inbox, not one small step from the spam folder as many Gmail users believe the Promotions tab to be.

Sure you can ask Gmail users to whitelist you to the Primary Inbox tab, but a ReturnPath study said that it is highly unlikely that enough users will do that to make a difference.

Right now in Internet Marketing lists, there are two really big names, and I mean the BIGGEST that are going to the Primary Tab with their huge lists and with flat out pitch emails.

They have no idea they are doing this right, it’s just dumb luck for them, but for me and you IT IS Gold!

I detail what they are doing right, have exact evidence that it has worked for my list too and then go on to show you 10 more reasons why I have my list back to profitability and in the Primary Tab in Gmail.

In fact this is easy to do –works hand in hand– with what you are already doing online and Gmail loves it. Don’t think for a minute I would ever mess with Google with blackhat tactics.

Google is my home for my entire business, it has been for 7 years now and that is not going to change anytime soon.

So here you go, this is a piece of the arsenal every consultant should have and it is built not for those who send email from their own server, this is built from the ground up for 2015 and for those who send email from AWeber like I do or InfusionSoft, MailChimp or any reputable senders.

Discover 20 New Ways To Get It To The Inbox right now, right here…

Be sure to read this now, since I am laying out how the Internet is about to change yet again with what I am calling Web 5.0.

Yeah, we skipped 4.0 and went right to the future with this one,

– Chris




Sane Inbox Spam Filter

https://www.sanebox.com/ is a very popular time saver in the Inbox. It creates two inboxes for you upon your adding the app, to both Gmail and your cPanel webmail.

By who you have in your address book, who you have replied to and sent mail to in you sent folder, SaneBox can filter important communications to your Inbox and the rest to the SaneLater folder. SaneBox also can create the SaneBlackhole folder, where definite spam is deleted from now on as soon as it is delivered.

If you live in your business Domain based email like I do, then this is one handy tool. But it is not heavy handed like most all-seeing all-knowing spam filters. It is highly trainable, easy to manage for the average user and always “Asks first” before taking any action and even contacts you ever few days via email to be sure your getting the right email in the right folder.

Animated image of Sane Inbox drag and drop features...

Sanebox has 3 main features

One-Click Unsubscribe

Drag an email into the SaneBlackHole folder, and you’ll never hear from that sender again (it goes straight to trash).

Response Tracking

SaneBox notifies you when an email you sent was not replied to by a certain time, so you can follow up.

Snooze Non-urgent Emails

Place an email in a Snooze Folder and SaneBox will place it back in your Inbox when it’s convenient for you.

Email Delivery Jedi On Google+

UPDATE: Niche-ing out my sites now on G+.

First up is my WordPress, Website Security and Email Delivery site.

https://plus.google.com/b/113198487085205492763/

While I love G+ biz pages, I am looking forward to better marketing tools soon.

Cool page, but how do I convert followers there to where I really want to drive my traffic which is here?

http://emaildeliveryjedi.com/ … ?

There really needs to be some better conversion tools for these pages, don’t you think?

Conficker Worm Results In Spam Filters Cranked To All Time High

Now that Conficker is delivering it’s payload of spam, spam filters have been cranked up to their highest notch and email delivery is at an all time low, at least for me

After consulting my top contacts in the world of Internet security, spam filtering and network spam filtering appliances I can say without a doubt that spam filters are set at their highest level we have seen in a long time. I cannot reveal my sources, but they are top notch, this comes from the big firms.

I have lost allot of sales and subscribers that are not getting my emails and my open rate has suddenly fallen below 10%. It is not AWeber’s fault, it is my URLs and commercial slanted content.

My emails have been very commercial lately, because I am now in full launch of my Google Friend Connect Tactics members site and Jack Humphrey just JVed with me on this launch.

I have the best product and by far the highest value in any social marketing suite. So of course I want to shout it from the rooftops. The problem is no one is hearing me. Luckily I have some big affiliates or I would be pulling my hair out.

The best way that you can try to recover from this if you are experiencing the same is to ask anyone your can to check the spam folder and mark you emails as not spam.

Also whitelisting your email is still very effective especially in Gmail.

Ride it out, the worm will turn. What you don’t want to do is over email out of desperation.

Today I am sending a text only, no link email directing my readers to this blog. I will post back in the comments how it worked out. Hang in there, we have been here before, the filtering will come down. Try sending text articles without outgoing links and see how that works for you.

Gmail Breaks AWeber Tracking Links

AWeber links are breaking in Gmail due to an unknown line break

The reason I caught this was one of my subscribers replied to my email on an unrealted issue after I sent an email to my Google Friend Connect list with a new update on what Google is really doing.

UPDATE!

Just got off the phone with an AWeber admin and we could not replicate the broken URL from emails from my AWeber list to my Gmail address.

AWeber assured me that they go to extreme lengths to make sure the tracking links never get truncated. We believe that it was a keystroke on the part of my Gmail subscriber. We shall see and we will be monitoring this closely.

If any of you can replicate the broken string from your accounts then please let me know and AWeber as well. I will publish any screen shots you care to send and link to any of your own blog posts.

Tom Kulzer just emailed me and assured me that this was a line break introduced by the sender. For the moment we cannot replicate the string truncation.

More tomorrow and I will keep you up to date. This is one time I am glad to very possibly be wrong. – Chris Lang

I checked it at all possible resolutions down to 800 X 600 and it breaks in the same place.

I am sure it is due to a querystring length because no matter the screen resolution the AWeber click tracking link breaks in the same place ever time.

This screen shot is taken at 1280 X 1024 and is full size as it would be in my browser. You can click the image to see the full size screen shot of the Gmail email body center column.

Here it is at 800 pixels wide and it breaks in the same place.

I am sending Tom Kulzer a link to this today and I will publish his response to me if he allows me to.

If AWeber responds on their own site I will link to it and send you all an email to the fix (hopefully).

For now I am not going to be using the redirect links and simply linking without tracking to my landing pages.

How To Increase Email Delivery From Return Path

New Advice From Return Path and PDF

Return Path’s Q2 2008 Reputation Benchmark Report (pdf) found e-mails sent from “legitimate” e-mail servers averaged a delivery rate of 56 percent. 20 percent were rejected; 8 percent filtered out of the inbox. The rest — 16 percent — were bounces.

So nearly half of the time, e-mail marketers’ messages don’t get through. But there are ways to increase deliverability, insists George Bilbrey, Return Path’s general manager of delivery assurance. Here are five:

Email Delivery and Your Email Reputation: Don’t Call Yourself a Spammer

How could you possibly ruin your Email Delivery and mark your own email IP address as sending spam?

Yes you really can be clicking the “This is Spam” button on yourself. It happens quite easily and you may have already done this yourself.

The problem is that an automated spam filter is simply unable to determine what is spam and what is a forward. Here’s a break down of the problem using Comcast as an example.

You setup an auto forwarder from your domain to your Comcast email account. This also occurs often when you forward email from your work email account.

You are forwarding mail from you@yourdomain.com to you@Comcast.com.

When your customers send emails to you@yourdomain.com the email gets forwarded to you@Comcast.com

One day you receive some spam at you@yourdomain.com, which was auto forwarded directly from you@Comcast.com.

You open your you@Comcast.com mail box and see the spam, so you click to “Mark it as SPAM” and add it to your Comcast spam filter . You have just entered a spam complaint against your own email server! Comcast’s spam filter does not register the originator of the email as the spammer – instead, it registers the last place the email came from as the Spammer and in this case and the last place the email came from is your email server which is the outgoing email server for hosts you@yourdomain.com.

Comcast will then blacklist the entire mail server so that no one can send email to any Comcast email accounts.

They will then contact your host and ask that your domain be deleted.

Until then Comcast will block all email from the outgoing SMTP servers associated with your server (thru reverse DNS).

Solution

What do I need to do you ask?

You need to login to your email admin on your domain and go through your email accounts and take off any forwarding that forwards email to any account or any other ISP.

Also check to make sure your email Alias is not forwarding to any email account or any other ISP.

Although it might be an inconvenience to many, I think this decision is necessary to protect our mail servers from being blacklisted by ISPs in this way.

Verizon, Comcast or AOL certainly do nothing to investigate the source of the spam and would rather shut down a server than take a minute to check it out.

Please note, this does not mean you cannot send emails to Verizon, Comcast, AOL or other ISP based email accounts. This simply means you should not set your email account to auto forward emails. You will still be able to compose your own email to ISP users, and you will be able to forward an email to those users from your mailbox manually.

Double Opt In, Email Delivery and Why Double Opt in Works

Double opt in, why you should not care if your double opt in rate is crappy and what to do about it if it sucks!

This double opt in article came to be written because of a number of people whining about double opt in and AWeber. It was written very quickly and with a little heat, most of which I have removed.

AWeber delivers 97% of the email they send to the inbox. Most others are at 80%. 20% more delivery = 20% more profits. Do the math.

Next AWeber is an autoresponder not just a list manager. The ability to set up preset marketing delivered at the rate you choose is priceless. Search “autoresponder tips” if you do not understand this.

Double opt in prevents spam complaints. Spam complaints are the result of a recipient clicking the “this is spam button” and will get you blocked faster than anything else. A visitor cannot misspell their email address and send someone else your emails with double opt in.

Double opt in also saves your email reputation because you are not bouncing emails to bad addresses. Those same misspelled emails that get the spam button clicked can bounce when the recipient does not exist. ISPs keep track of bounced emails and the server it is sent from. The more bounces, the lower your email reputation score.

The very first time someone clicks the “this is spam” button on an email you sent without double opt in can get you banned by the receiving ISP. Your host may delete your domain and you are going to definitely get listed on RBLs (real time blacklists).

Sure you can triple your opt in rate by not using double opt in, but all it takes is a five or six spam complaints and you are history! NO site, NO domain, GONE. Forever.

The bottom line here is still that any email service that uses single opt in is just not going to have high delivery rates especially to Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft and that is probably 90% of the email inboxes these days.

Now let’s consider this: If they won’t confirm their address will they open your emails that you send in the future?

Will these readers that wouldn’t double opt in click thru to your site from emails?

Will these same people enter their credit card in your forms when they wouldn’t even double opt in?

Now let’s talk about increasing your email delivery and double opt in rate

When someone signs up via a AWeber form you have a hidden field named “redirect”

Here you can enter a URL on your site that a lead is sent to rather than a AWeber page.

Here you need to have an irresistible incentive to get the lead to open your email and click the link.

Stuart, I am sure your content rocks but don’t be insulted here, content just ain’t goona do it.

Here is the page I use on my site: email delivery ebook and the four chapter incentive.

Next to stay out of the spam folder you need to get you subscriber to whitelist you.

Email whitelist generator will generate these instructions for you.

Finally when your lead clicks the AWeber confirmation link there is one more page that you can send your new subscriber to.

This page is configurable in the AWeber console.

Don’t just send them to some lame thank you page, surprise them with an unannounced bonus or at least send them to some good content that is new and worthwhile.

If your sales letter has a good conversion rate and content in addition to the sales process, send them there on the click thru confirmation. But whatever you do the whole process should brand you as an authority on your subject.

Hope this helps,

Chris Lang