Domain Reputation

A domain reputation is distinct from an IP reputation in that the score is attached to your domain name (101: the name after the @ symbol in an email address) while IP reputation is associated with the digital address of the sending device. Both can affect your email’s deliverability depending on the server used by the recipient.

In other words...

A house with a bad reputation.

What is domain reputation

“If you didn’t see the email I sent you, check your spam file. It could be in there.”

This is an incredibly frustrating and all too familiar phrase uttered by many a professional working during the digital age. 

Spam filters and email safeguards are on the one hand a welcome filter that protects us from email-borne malware and spam bots, and keeps our inboxes from clogging up with erroneous junk like predatory messages from fictional princes.

On the other hand, important messages from new clients or solicited conversations trusted sales representatives may fall victim to hyper-vigilant programs, slowing business interactions and making it so we lose out on important deals. 

If you find yourself asking target representatives to check their spam folder a little too often, it may be time to work on your domain reputation. 

What is domain reputation?

Think of domain reputation as a credit score indicating the trustworthiness of your organization’s unique email domain. Ranked on a scale between 0 and 100, this number indicates to receiving servers whether or not the sending domain is safe to route to the recipient’s regular inbox. 

Domains with a score closer to 0 are considered unsafe, while those with a score approaching 100 are more likely to make it into the main folder. 

A domain reputation is distinct from an IP reputation in that the score is attached to your domain name (101: the name after the @ symbol in an email address) while IP reputation is associated with the digital address of the sending device. Both can affect your email’s deliverability depending on the server used by the recipient. 

How is domain reputation calculated?

The reputational score of a given domain is algorithmically calculated based on the performance of an email within the recipient’s inbox. This might be based on factors such as whether the email was opened, whether links were followed, or how soon the message was deleted after reception. 

Your domain score is not a static number, and in fact may be radically different between two servers, such as Yahoo and Gmail. However the longer your domain has been around, the more your domain reputation score will begin to plateau barring intervention or a serious nosedive. 

Your current domain reputation score will also influence your future score, as email servers will use this as a reference while checking the content of more recent emails. 

Important factors contributing to domain reputation

Actions and attributes which may affect your domain reputation score include:

  • Whether and how often messages bounce
  • If messages are marked as spam
  • Whether a message triggers a spamtrap
  • Authentication factors
  • If messages have been blacklisted by third-party applications
  • Whether and how the message is interacted with by the recipient

How to check domain reputation

Even if you are experiencing optimal email deliverability, it’s always a good idea to keep tabs on your domain reputation. This gives you the opportunity to quickly address any problems as soon as they arise. 

There exist a number of easy to use tools that will allow you to inspect and address your domain reputation with ease. We’ll take a closer look at a few of our favorites in a later section. 

How is domain reputation used by businesses?

The main advantage to understanding your organization’s domain reputation score lies in keeping your email marketing content and sales outreach visible to your client representatives. Deliverability, interactivity, and visibility are all critical factors which enable long-term sales relationships emergent from initial B2B contact over email.

If your domain reputation begins to slip, this may provide clues which indicate a necessity to shift your strategy. Ideally, your content will be highly relevant to the recipient, and incite interaction that in the best case results in a conversion, and at least maintains a positive rep score. 

Here are a few precautions you can take to keep your domain reputation and email deliverability high:

  • Pay attention to the reasons your emails aren’t being delivered. Most servers will give some indication as to why if your message didn’t make it to the recipient’s inbox.

  • Regularly audit your email list to make sure all addresses are valid and active. Too many bounced emails from outdated inboxes can bring your score down.

  • Send fewer, more impactful emails to your leads and clients. High-volume outboxes are more likely to get flagged for inspection. 

Domain reputation tools

Let’s take a look at a couple implements you can engage to track your organization’s domain reputation.

  1. Barracuda - This is a simple but popular and effective web-based solution that allows you to easily assess your domain’s general status. Barracuda does not provide a comprehensive assessment of your reputation score, but it can tell you whether your domain – or the domain of your competitor – is considered a safety risk.

  2. Google Postmaster - This Gmail specific service offers a complete overview of your domain reputation score as assessed by the gmail server. This one is especially useful if the majority of your recipients use Gmail as their main email server.

  3. Talos Intelligence - Talos is another easy-lookup service that provides a detailed look at the status of the domain in question. Talos will provide a breakdown of the domain’s associated email servers, as well as a status indicating favorability. If your organization’s readout says “neutral,” this likely means there is insufficient data to indicate a threat.

Intricately can help

Intricately is a cloud-based data solution that allows you to maintain a favorable domain reputation by helping you create effective, relevant marketing content for your leads. Intricately’s unparalleled client insights will let you know what your target needs and when they need it, so you can craft messaging that will invite positive interaction. Sign up for a free demo today to see what else Intricately has to offer. 

Want a detailed look at the data insights available to your organization? Check out our other insight: What is Technographic Data?


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