False Positive Filtering Sees Improvement

Delivery rates for e-mail rose about 4 percent in Q2 over the previous quarter. The “ISP Deliverability Report Card” for Q2 2006 from Lyris Technologies finds false-positive filtering continues to improve in the U.S. and Europe.

In the U.S., gross delivery rates increased by 4 percent to reach 90 percent. In the same time period, European deliverability rates slipped 3 percent to total 91 percent. When it comes to the inbox, all e-mail filters are not created equal, and delivery rates varied among e-mail providers. Delivery of opt-in e-mail reached 97.8 percent of recipients at the best performing domains, versus 70.6 at the worst performing.

While Gmail didn’t make the top 10 list of domains, the Google e-mail client demonstrated improvement in filtering with a false positive rate of 2.97 percent for the quarter. Last quarter the e-mail provider had a rate of 44 percent.

“I think Google did a couple things,” said Dave Dabbah, director of sales and marketing at Lyris Technologies. “As an ESP, it moved itself out of its beta mode and is putting more money into its Gmail service than while it was in beta.”

False Positive Filtering Trends Among U.S. Domains, Q1 to Q2
Domain Rate of False Positive Filtering Q3 2005 Rate of False Positive Filtering Q4 2005 Rate of False Positive Filtering Q1 2006 Rate of False Positive Filtering Q2 2006 Trend
cnc.net 42.47 37.43 31.74 47.7 up
hotmail.com 9.41 15.69 23.44 18.2 down
gmail.com 7.17 1.17 44.12 2.97 down
sbcglobal.net 0.72 2.73 0 0
yahoo.com 0.54 2.47 1.73 0.57 down
Source: Lyris, 2006

False positive filtering as a whole averages 3.29 percent in the U.S. and .075 percent in Europe. Internet service providers (ISP) and e-mail service providers (ESP) are one piece of the puzzle in letting legitimate e-mail through the filter. E-mail service providers like Lyris and Return Path offer a deliverability testing product as part of their e-mail marketing service.

“What is affecting deliverability more than regulation is marketers themselves,” said Dabbah. “They are figuring out how many times a month to send e-mails to specific audiences. That has certainly been one of the larger impacts in the deliverability race over the last 16 months. Marketers are getting better at figuring out how to send the right message to the right people at the right time.”

A delivery problem experienced by Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman offers one example of how marketers must adjust their tactics in response to voracious filters. When his name appeared in the body of an outbound e-mail flight it was blocked by many filters. “A lot of companies may not realize they’re having deliverability issues,” said Dabbah. “The way to find that out is using a deliverability product to test your message on a regular basis, we think those types of products are having an impact on the marketplace.”

The top 10 domains achieved 98 percent deliverability in Q2, up from 97 percent in the first quarter. Four out of the top 10 ISPs and ESPs from Q1 were dropped from the list. The top domains by gross deliverability in the second quarter include sbcglobal.net; excite.com; iwon.com; lycos.com; mail.com; att.net; adelphia.net; bellsouth.net; netzero.com and juno.com.

Top 10 U.S. Domains by Gross Deliverability, Q2 2006
Domain E-Mails Sent E-Mails Delivered (% Gross) E-Mails Not Delivered (%) E-Mails Delivered to Inbox (%) Rate of False Positive Filtering (%)
sbcglobal.net 1,044 57.28 0 57.28 0
excite.com 1,044 63.51 0.20 63.31 0.19
iwon.com 1,044 64.08 2.01 62.07 2.01
lycos.com 1,044 66.67 0 66.67 0
mail.com 1,044 71.07 0 71.07 0
att.net 1,044 88.41 0 88.41 0
adelphia.net 1,044 91.09 0 91.09 0
bellsouth.net 1,044 92.53 0.10 92.43 0.10
netzero.com 1,044 93.20 0 93.20 0
juno.com 1,044 93.39 0.19 93.20 0.19
Source: Lyris, 2006

Average inbox delivery rates moved just 1 percent in the second quarter. AOL.com; go.com; SoCal.rr.com and PeoplePCm.com migrated to the top 10 chart, knocking Lycos.com; Knology.com; Mail.com; and Juno.com from the inbox deliverability top 10.

Top Ten U.S. Domains by Inbox Deliverability, Q2 2006
Domain E-Mails Sent E-Mails Delivered (% Gross) E-Mails Not Delivered (%) E-Mails Delivered to Inbox (%) Rate of False Positive Filtering (%)
pipersoftware.com 14,331 94.63 0 94.63 0
earthlink.net 1,044 99.04 0 99.04 0
yahoo.com 1,044 99.14 0.58 98.56 0.57
usa.net 1,044 98.37 0 98.37 0
cs.com 1,044 97.99 0 97.99 0
(Road Runner)
1,044 97.99 0 97.99 0
aol.com 1,044 97.80 0.29 97.51 0.29
mac.com 1,044 96.74 0 96.74 0
comcast.net 1,044 96.36 0 96.36 0
go.com 1,044 96.17 0 96.17 0
Source: Lyris, 2006

Lyris monitored the delivery trajectories of 57,836 production-level, permission-based e-mail marketing messages from April to June of this year. E-mail messages were sent by 57 businesses and non-profit organizations to multiple accounts at 39 ISP and ESP domains in the U.S. and Europe.

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