Jun 7, 2006

AOL Abuse Complaints In Your MailChimp Stats

MailChimp users: ever wonder if your recipients are reporting your email campaigns as spam?

In the past, our abuse desk would get all those complaints from AOL’s feedback loop, various ISPs, and all the different "spamcops" out there. If we ever got too many complaints for any particular user, we’d suspend the account and investigate. It’s always been a manual process, because those alerts they sent were never really standardized.

But thanks to the new Abuse Reporting Format that more and more ISPs will (hopefully) start using now, we can parse incoming abuse reports a lot more accurately.

Now, if your MailChimp campaign receives any abuse complaints from AOL recipients, we’ll automatically remove those recipients from your MailChimp Managed List. You’ll find them under the campaign’s "stats" page:

Abusereportsquickstats

As more ISPs and anti-spam organizations switch to ARF, we’ll be adding them to this report as well. 

But simply removing complainers isn’t enough. We wouldn’t be responsible netizens if we just quieted the complaints and moved along. So we’ve set an internal threshold where we’ll suspend any customer’s account if they receive too many complaints for their campaign. That user won’t be able to send any campaigns while we investigate their account for any signs of abuse, or for violations of our terms of use. This is to protect the deliverability of our system for the thousands of other customers who depend on MailChimp.

What’s the threshold?
That’s a secret (and it’s always adapting). But we can tell you that in our experience, a good double opt-in list might receive about a 0.1% false complaint rate. A good, clean single opt-in list (with clear thank-you pages and emails that set expectations) gets about a 0.2% false complaint rate. And our threshold accommodates for all the "accidental" abuse reports out there too.

We hope you find the new stats useful. If you’re surprised to see that your campaigns are getting complaints, you might check out our guide: Preventing False Spam Complaints.