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We have a website (Drupal) that provides daily email alerts to about 350 members who have opted in to receive these. In the past we have had small issues with some of our daily alerts being flagged as spam. We are working very hard to make sure that we meet all of the requirements to send legitimate email as our emails are here to help our users. One of those is to use a dedicated email provider such as Mandrill.

But one question I have is that my boss thinks that by changing the domain that the email comes from (alert@example.com --> alert@somethingdifferent.com) that it will "dodge" the spam filters in case someone accidentally marked as spam. I see this as unprofessional.

Do major ISP's (like google) look at the IP address of incoming email or the domain, or both?

Another question I have is: Is it dangerous at all to have our alert emails come from the same domain as our website? If we have a website www.example.com, with all of our employees having email addresses of employee@example.com, and then have our alerts go out as alerts@example.com - what would happen if the domain were to be blocked? Wouldn't that harm employee emails to our potential members?

I would think that it would be more professional to have emails come from our site name, but I just don't want our entire domain to be negatively affected if our alerts gets us in some spam trouble.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Do major ISP's (like Google) look at the IP address of incoming email or the domain, or both?

Typically they look at the IP address of the mail server using DNSBL databases. These are based on DNS, which resolves IP addresses to domain names. Often spam can be spoofed from a fake email address and domain, and domains do change hands often, so blocking by domain instead of IP would be less accurate.

That's not to say that filters and spam reports wouldn't also result in blocked domains by either client applications or incoming mail servers though.

Is it dangerous at all to have our alert emails come from the same domain as our website?

Alerts and newsletters often are sent by third-party mail list services, which are specifically setup to address delivery and spam issues. It sounds like you should have your alerts being sent through those, which isn't unprofessional since many sites use them to manage their mailing lists and announcements.

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Thanks Dan, regarding #2 we will be sending our alerts through a third-party mail list service. So we don't really need to worry about our employee email using the same domain right? The IP's would be different, just the domain would be the same. –  Dan Feb 28 at 23:06
    
No problem Dan :-) Different domains and IP's are fine, providing they don't get blacklisted. You can check DNSBL databases like this one regularly (or signup for notifications using various online services that provide this). –  dan Feb 28 at 23:09

Spam filters will check many stages and factors with regards to your sender reputation, infrastructure content etc. Here is a simplified version of what Barracuda Spam Firewall does.

Barracuda Spam Firewall Administrators Guide

I have had real difficulties in the past sending email notifications from one of my web hosts (fairly cheap shared hosting) sent using php mail. I then switched to using SMTP (I am sure that Drupal may support this nativally if not there must be an bolt on to facilitate this) this was an improvment. Then I found Mandrill a 'Transactional email' platform by the makers of mail chimp. So far since using them I have had great deliverability. They also offer somthing like 10,000 amonth free!

http://mandrill.com/

Finally with regards to sending bulk email from the same domain as your company email I would strongly advise against it. It may not be such a concern these days as spam filters are more advanced but at a previous company I worked they were sending bulk mail internally from the same domain (but different IP). Their bulk mail got flagged in a number of spam filters and the result was that their company mail and bulk email all got globally junked for a week until they could get un-listed again - try and explain that to the CEO!

Good luck.

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Thanks for the answer! I am already using Mandrill and it's working great. –  Dan Mar 25 at 20:23

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