What is domain and IP reputation?
Ilona Srebnicka avatar
Written by Ilona Srebnicka
Updated over a week ago

The reputation of domain and IP has a crucial impact on email deliverability. Both inbox providers and spam filters take these elements into consideration when determining whether an email should reach the inbox or be classified as spam.

Our deliverability experts emphasize that email service providers, such as Gmail, give more weight to domain reputation. This is because domain reputation is more focused on specific senders and closely tied to a company or brand. IP reputation directly influences the evaluation by email service providers like Microsoft. As the owner of one of the most popular inbox providers (e.g., Outlook, Hotmail), Microsoft employs stringent spam filters and email service provider assessment mechanisms.

What is domain reputation?

Domain reputation refers to how email service providers, such as Outlook, Yahoo, or Gmail, perceive your domain. It can be likened to the health or condition of your brand's domain in the world of email marketing.

The better the reputation, the lower the likelihood that your emails will be rejected because email providers consider you a trustworthy sender.

Internet service providers and mailbox providers influence whether your emails end up in recipients' inboxes or get redirected to the spam folder. Domain reputation is one of the primary factors influencing this decision. In the context of email, domain reputation is similar to a credit score. It represents an overall assessment of a given domain based on the quantity and quality of links leading to that domain. Email service providers evaluate domain reputation on a scale from 0 to 100. Servers receiving emails will be more trusting of messages from a domain that achieves a higher score in domain assessment.

Checking domain reputation

The process of monitoring and evaluating domain reputation in email marketing is crucial, but it's essential to understand that each email service provider (ESP) uses its own reputation scoring system for your email domain.

This means that each of these providers, such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Microsoft Mail, assigns individual reputation scores to your domain.

Why does this happen? The reason is simple: email service providers can assess domain reputation only based on email messages received from that specific domain. This means that each provider has its own perspective and data for reputation assessment, and emails sent to other email providers remain invisible to the rest.

To simplify this complex situation, there are tools such as Google Postmaster Tools that allow monitoring and checking the reputation of domains sending emails to Gmail inboxes, Microsoft SNDS, a tool offered by Microsoft that enables email providers to check the delivery statistics and reputation of their IPs, and Spamhaus DBL, a database tracking domains considered to be abusing emails. Checking whether your domain is on this list can provide insights into its reputation.

These tools aggregate reputation results from various email providers and present them in the form of an average score. This allows you to gain a more general picture of how your domain is perceived by different providers.

IP Reputation

Comparing domain reputation to IP reputation, you can observe that IP reputation pertains to the assessment of the credibility of devices assigned to a specific IP address. IP reputation has a negative impact when your email messages are classified as spam. Several other factors influence IP reputation, such as the location of the IP address, the type of activities associated with it, and whether the IP address is listed on a blacklist. ESP (Email Service Providers) constantly monitor the IP reputation of senders. If a sender has a high reputation, emails are more likely to be delivered to the inboxes of users utilizing Microsoft services. Providers implement advanced anti-spam filters that analyze various aspects of emails, including content, headers, links, and associated IP addresses. Microsoft assigns a Sender Reputation score to senders. This score takes into account various factors such as email sending history, bounce rates, spam complaints, subscriber activity, and compliance with email-sending best practices. ESPs require senders to adhere to industry standards such as DKIM, SPF, and DMARC. Their proper implementation and configuration are crucial for maintaining a positive IP reputation.

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