WOOF! Newsletter

February 26, 2014

Why Sending Emails to 50 or More People from Outlook/Exchange is Bad News

Why do people use email service providers like Campaign Monitor? It's because sending hundreds of emails through your company's Exchange Server is dangerous. It can even prevent your entire organization from sending ANY emails. Find out why, and what you should do instead, in this WOOF! article.
Have you ever wondered why your company puts a maximum limit on the number of people you can send emails to at one time?

Outlook can handle it, right? It can. But you’ll be hard pressed to find a source that recommends it.

Sending to 50 or more people at once could end up hurting your entire organization’s ability to send email.

Why is that? That’s what this month’s WOOF! will address.

Sending Mass Emails from Outlook

Sending ‘bulk email’ or ‘mass email’ [SPAM] can ruin your organization’s ability to communicate via email.

The mass email problem is why we have maximum send limits in business. It’s why companies use third-party email providers like Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, and MailChimp, even if they have an Exchange Server onsite.

But why is it a problem at all?
  1. First, it’s often viewed as bad manners to email en masse from your company email account. Nobody likes receiving an email addressed to “Group B4” or “Manufacturing Customers.” It’s impersonal, and sometimes can expose the recipients’ email addresses. You don’t want that kind of public reaction.
  2. The bigger risk however, is blacklisting.
  3. Most mail providers block recipient lists to 50 or more recipients.
  4. Most mail providers set a limit of 50 -100 recipients per hour and 1000 recipients per day.
  5. Recipients may flag your mail as SPAM, and since the group message doesn’t follow the rules for bulk mail, your company could be targeted to pay penalties. AND it could be blacklisted.

Blacklisted: Where You Never Want to End Up

What’s a blacklist? It’s a list of server addresses that are considered to be 'spammers' or 'dangerous'. If your emails are associated with a blacklist, other email servers will reject your emails. ALL your emails.

Most organizations don’t send spam, or dangerous emails. But mass emails can still get you caught in a blacklist. Here’s how it happens.
  • You send out a mass email to, say, 500 people.
  • A few of these people don’t want the message or weren’t expecting it. So they click on “Report as Spam”.
  • These spam reports are tallied by ISPs.
  • When enough complaints come in, the ISPs report your IP address for your mail server to one or more blacklists.
  • Some email hosts programmatically look at how many recipients you are sending to and immediately submit your IP address to the blacklists if you are sending to over 100 recipients.
  • When you send out more emails, the blacklists are alerted.
  • All mail servers use blacklists as their first defense against spammers, when mail arrives at a server a lookup is done against the blacklists. If you are on a list, your mail is rejected.

What Can You Do to Avoid Blacklisting?

It’s easy to avoid being blacklisted. Just use Outlook for everyday email only. Email 10, 20 people at once, and you’re OK. But never send a single email to more than 50 people at once.

Whether your email is hosted locally or as a cloud service, there may already be a policy in place to stop you from sending a certain amount of emails at once (ours is set at 100). Call your hosted email provider and ask. If they don’t have a policy set for you, ask them to create one.

When it’s time to send out bulk messages – like newsletters or special announcements – use a third-party email service provider. They’re easy to use, inexpensive, and you can use HTML design to make them look great. (You’re reading an email sent by one right now!)

Some of the top-rated email service providers include:
Wait a second, you might ask. Why can THESE services send out mass emails?

It’s because these providers are whitelisted. They have predefined relationships with mail hosts that allow the bulk of their mail traffic to be delivered. The bulk mail service providers require the companies using their services to adhere to standard protocols.

They provide reports and bounce management and help them stay on top of current best practices. They maintain strong permission policies to ensure their customer’s permission-based emails get through. Emails sent through their servers contain an “unsubscribe” link so that recipients have the option to unsubscribe from the list with one click.

It’s possible for some large businesses/nonprofits to register their Exchange Servers in the same manner, but it takes a lot of time and effort to do so, and they require constant updating afterward. Not worth it when we have email service providers.

You Didn't Listen. You've Been Blacklisted. Now What?

Contact PlanetMagpie or your IT services provider for assistance. It can take up to 72 hours to get your company’s email accepted by all mail hosts again. If you still have your job after service is restored (!), talk to us about setting up a bulk email solution that will protect your company’s email server and provide you with beautiful, effective, and legally-compliant email campaigns.

Campaigns that actually get delivered!