May 25, 2007

I’m trying to send myself a test, but keep getting blocked

Question: "I’m trying to send myself a test campaign, but keep getting blocked. What’s wrong with MailChimp?"


It’s not us. It’s because you are sending an email from yourself, to yourself. But behind the scenes, the email is actually originating from MailChimp’s server. Your company’s spam filter or email firewall thinks that the email must be an impostor.

You don’t believe me. Nobody ever believes it when we explain that to them.

Here’s some proof, and here’s what you can do…

Dan, our customer service guy here at MailChimp, saw an interesting article
on CNN, and he wanted to send a copy to himself for later. He clicked the
"forward to friend" link.  He entered the same email address under both the
"From" and "To" fields (he wanted to send an email from himself, to himself), and this is the warning he got:


Apparently, CNN’s forward-to-friend vendor is experiencing the same issue. It’s pretty common. We only have a few thousand customers on MailChimp. I can’t imagine how many times CNN deals with this problem (apparently, it’s enough for them to post a message about it).

If you can’t seem to send test campaigns to yourself, one thing you can do is tell your company’s IT group to "white list" MailChimp. They’d basically need to tell your spam filter to go ahead and just trust all emails from MailChimp, even if they look like an impostor. That’ll help you get your test campaigns delivered internally for review. Your IT group would basically need to know the IP addresses that we use. Contact us for that information.

Another tactic (if you don’t want IT to get involved) is to change the "reply-to" address to some other email account, such as your home email address. Just remember to go back and change that before you actually send to your list!

Finally, if you have access to your DNS (or if you have access to a nerd who has access to your DNS) it’s helpful if you setup an SPF record for your DNS, to authenticate your email campaigns. It basically says, "If you receive an email that claims to be from my company, but it’s actually sent from a MailChimp server, it’s okay—we’ve approved it."

To do that, your IT group would just need to add this code to their SPF record:

v=spf1 mx ptr ~all

This would basically make all your campaigns you send from MailChimp SenderID authenticated, which can actually help your deliverability. To learn more about email authentication, check out the Microsoft website. More and more big ISPs are checking for authentication, so if you have the ability to add this to your DNS, you should go ahead and do it sooner than later.