Blogging Issues Affecting Email Deliverability

3 Little Known Blogging Issues Affecting Email Deliverability

Pondering on the blogging issues that affect the deliverability of your blog notifications sent by email

Both the bloggers and the other email marketers send their emails via professional email marketing services. So what’s so specific to bloggers?

Well, some blogs send emails… “New blog post” email notifications. Or “Your comment on the post X has a new reply.”

No third party service to help your email deliverability. You’re on your own.

And you don’t want your email notifications to land in spam folders. Discovering at the end of the day that your domain name was blacklisted – the worst case scenario – would be scary.

Such blacklisting will affect also the deliverability of the emails sent via your email marketing service. So you really can’t like it. Let’s fix the issues till it’s not too late …

1. Sending Spam to Blog Commenters

People comment on your blog. Some of them are interested in being notified if a reply to their comment is posted. Others aren’t interested.

How do you solve the need of the commenters who are interested in reading the replies?

Some blog owners don’t care. Very bad.

Others have installed various plugins to help the commenters and solve this issue. Excellent. But… at least one plugin – a very much used one – has a problem …

The module ReplyMe of the CommentLuv Premium plugin is improperly designed. It allows the blog owners to take a bad decision: setting the plugin to send email notifications related to replies to comments while not having the opt-in checkbox enabled. That’s the default option.

CommentLuv Premium Plugin - ReplyMe Module - Additional Settings

Some blog owners took the good decision and enabled the opt-in checkbox that commenters have to tick if they want to get notified when replies to their comments are posted.

Other bloggers didn’t enable that opt-in option. Part of them think that sending such unsolicited email notifications isn’t spam. Others didn’t even consider this topic and kept the default option unchanged. I disagree with the first bloggers and I think that this is spam.

Who’s right? Surprise … It doesn’t matter who is right. Because …

If you send such unsolicited emails, the recipients (not you!) have the full control of their Report Spam button. If they have the same opinion like mine and they aren’t your friends, they may click that button.

On top of this issue, the spam filters or the email service providers will never ask you whether the spam report is incorrect or not.

It’s like having a car crash and dying. After you die, it doesn’t matter who was right. You’ll still be dead. Your main goal shouldn’t be to be right but to survive.

Conclusion: Don’t take decisions on behalf of other people. Let the commenters decide whether they want to receive your reply notifications or not. You’ve got nothing to lose.

Side Note: Spam Filters Logic Is Different From Yours

Most probably you’re saying that in case 998 recipients out of 1000 say your practice is right and your message isn’t spam, then you’re right.

Well, the logic of the spam filters is different. The acceptable spam complaint rate is 0.1%. One spam complaint per 1,000 emails.

It doesn’t matter whether you agree or not with the logic of the spam filters. It’s not you the one who takes the decisions regarding the deliverability of your emails.

2. Not Changing Another Bad Default Plugin Setting

So hopefully you’ll soon have an opt-in checkbox that will allow commenters to decide whether they want to receive the email notifications or not.

But have you seen the default option of that checkbox? The third setting from the picture above… The checkbox is ticked by default. And that’s not the only plugin that has such a default setting.

What if the commenters don’t see that checkbox that you ticked on their behalf? Not everyone notices or reads each and every little thing that you have on your page.

You’ll say that this time is the commenters’ fault. Maybe. But… does it matter that you’re right if you get the same bad result?

If the commenters don’t want to subscribe and don’t see your checkbox, then they won’t uncheck it. When your email lands in their Inbox, they may say, “I never subscribed to this thing.” And the Spam button is close to their hand.

Conclusion: Here we go again: don’t take decisions on behalf of the commenters. A passive opt-in process is a no-no. Let them tick the checkbox. With their hand. Mouse, whatever.

3. Not Cancelling Old Email Subscriptions

Subscribe to Comments Reloaded Plugin - Subscription Management Panel

Picture this: John searches for a certain topic, finds one of your blog posts on Google, and pays a visit to your blog. The he submits a comment and subscribes to get notified by email when someone posts a new reply.

After a long period of time – let’s say one year – someone posts a comment on that blog post and John is notified.

Will John remember you, that blog post and his subscription? Hard to know for sure, but my guess is that John may not remember anything. A quick “This is spam” may follow.

You cannot like it, can you?

While one single random spam report may not affect your email deliverability, there’s another real danger around the corner…

What if John stopped using that email address and his email service provider transformed it into a spam trap? You’re in trouble!

Conclusion: From time to time, clean the list of commenters who subscribed to getting email notifications. 6-month old subscriptions or so should be deleted. If the plugin who deals with these subscriptions doesn’t reveal the date of subscription, get a better plugin!

Bonus: Your Hosting Company May Not Be That Good

Even if you don’t make any mistakes, sometimes your emails may be routed to spam folders. Here are both the proof and the reason:

Hostgator Emails Routed by Gmail to the Spam Folder

Gmail: “We’ve found that lots of messages from are spam.”

Bam! It’s not you, it’s your host. Bad neighborhood. Cheap hosting comes together with such bonuses. Everyone likes cheap hosting – including the noobs and the spammers.

Final Recommendation

Don’t say, “Nothing bad has happened so far. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Maybe it didn’t happen, but there’s no guarantee that the things will stay unchanged. And on the other hand, don’t be so sure that it hasn’t already happened. I got and still get many replies to comments in my spam folder. Some of them are routed to the spam folder due to the language used in them. Others are routed due to more serious issues – like the ones described in this article.

So don’t gamble with things you don’t control. You really have nothing to lose if you let your commenters have full control over their subscriptions and then clean the list of subscribers from time to time.

To your blogging success!
Adrian Jock

P.S. I made the mistake no.3. Which one are you making? Btw, do you know any other blogging issues that may affect the deliverability of emails?

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19 thoughts on “3 Little Known Blogging Issues Affecting Email Deliverability

  1. Hi Adrian,

    Smart points! We are not spam filters, LOL. We are bloggers. And email marketers. The guys and gals who program spam filters decide what gets caught and spammed/junked, and what does not. So if you fret over junked emails that contained dollar signs or push button words, just note for future emails. Complaining against a spam filter will get you nowhere. Fast ;) Just focus instead on creating value, making connections and of course, on learning what trips off filters to avoid these words in the future.

    Thanks for sharing :)


  2. Hi Adrian,

    First off, I wanted you to know that I clicked-through from your newsletter. ;)

    Now I get to confess that I am guilty of having “spamming” with email. On my CLuv set up, I did not allow the reader to choose if they wanted an email notification of my response. How awful of me. I assumed that everyone would want to know that their comment had a response. Shame on me!

    Thankfully, as I was reading your article, I popped over to my website and corrected both boxes. Thanks for the heads up! ;)

    Passing this along my friend!


    1. Hi Bren :) Thank you for your comment and the social media shares.

      I’m always interested in being notified when a reply to my comment is posted. And I’m sure that I’m not the only one. Actually I’m very annoyed when a blogger doesn’t send such email notifications – that wastes my time, coz sometimes I have to visit from time to time the article I posted my comment under (in order to see whether there’s a reply or not).

      However, assuming that everyone is interested in getting such notifications is bad. That’s a wrong assumption.

      Let me give you an example: some people comment only for the sake of getting a backlink. Most of them aren’t interested in reading your replies. Why should they? Their goal isn’t to create a relationship with you, or anything similar. Their goal is to get a backlink. Period.

      You may say that you don’t like them, and I can understand you. But your dislike shouldn’t transform you into a spammer. If you spam them and they report you, then you’re the one who loses, not them ;-)

  3. Hi Bren,

    I have faced the 3rd problem you have mentioned in your post, thanks for helping me to sort out the problem. I’m your subscriber, your posts were very very informative.

  4. Hi Adrian,

    Thanks for writing a nice post! When I have seen your post shared on G+, I immediately landed here to check the silly reasons for the poor email deliverability. I’m using the great email marketing tool, GetResponse and but I’m not removing the inactive users from the list and thus my mail deliverability rate is low.

    I agree with you that it is a great mistake if we use the commenters email to send the newsletters. I enjoyed reading your post, thanks!

    1. Hi Nirmala,

      Sub-headline #3 doesn’t refer to the inactive subscribers from your GetResponse mailing list but to the commenters who subscribed to get notified when replies to their comments are posted ;)

  5. Hi Adrian,
    Very interesting to see who unsubscribed to get replies to their comment at my blog, just a few but interesting! I hadn’t looked at the feature in quite some time but thankfully I got that setting correct. I am still wanting to change email over from Mailchimp – just life throw’s me curveballs that sucks up time. Did you have a post on the how to do it? I’d love to see it again and hope to do it before the year ends. Thanks Adrian for the very informative piece here on emails. Have a great day.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Lisa :) I don’t have a specific post on how to move from MailChimp to another email marketing service. But I remember something… Your comment on my post AWeber vs GetResponse included a question related to this topic. My answer was that both these companies allow you to import your opt-in list without asking your subscribers to reconfirm their subscription to your list. Is this the answer you were looking for?

  6. Hi Adrian,

    I have been SO annoyed (with myself and the blogger) when I have fallen for the “subscribe by default” option. Because it’s often been blogging friends I have never spammed them, but it is annoying.

    I send my blog notifications via GetResponse, so hopefully that’s fine?

    Maybe a couple of years ago I remember with gratitude that you made me aware of bad neighbourhood” hosting. That had never occurred to me as I tried to be very careful with the wording of my emails – but even my welcome emails were landing in spam. It was a pain to change hosting, but completely the right decision. All lessons on that great journey towards improving email deliverability :-)

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    1. Thank you for your comment, Joy. What blog notifications do you send via GetResponse? Are you referring to the automatic notifications I mentioned in the article, or to other notifications not related to the article?

      If you refer to the notifications mentioned in the article (notifications regarding the replies to comments), then I doubt that you can send them via GR. Are you sure? They are sent by CL or other plugins like the one I use.

      1. Hi Adrian,

        I should have clarified, I was referring to your second paragraph:
        ‘Well, some blogs send emails… “New blog post” email notifications.’…..

        I did this by setting up a notification in GetResponse that sends people on my list a notification of a new blog post, using Messages | RSS to email. Which of course isn’t the main topic of your article :-) Oops!

        Joy – Blogging After Dark

        1. Oh, now I understood where you were coming from. The email messages you refer to aren’t sent by the blogs themselves. When I wrote “some blogs send emails” I mean it. Some blogs (not the bloggers) really send emails. Via plugins :)

          Anyway, to respond to your question… the blog notifications you send by GR are sent to subscribers. So that’s something normal. Perfectly fine. Of course some idiots may forget that they subscribed to your notifications, report your emails and hurt you. But that’s not something specific to bloggers. It may happen to any mailing list owner. You cannot control how stupid is someone who subscribes to your list.

  7. Hi Adrian,

    Great points. I am sure most of the bloggers must not be taking care of these things.

    I myself send spam to my blog commentators (unintentionally) :) because I don’t use any plugin to let them choose if they need an email notification if anyone reply to their comments.

    We are humans and learn from our mistakes. Thanks for the wonderful article.


  8. Informative tips, I think most of the bloggers aren’t aware of these little known points and they must correct them to provide good user experience.

    After reading this post I realized that I may have issues with the hosting company.


  9. Hi Adrian,

    Your post reminded me of a funny story. I used to enable the subscribe button by default on my blog. One day I received an email from some blog about a reply on my comment which I don’t remember, maybe an old comment on some blog. When I went there to check they also had the subscribe button on by default. A self-realization that I am doing the same to other people, what they have done to me and they might not like it too. Changed the setting on my blog next minute.

    You are absolutely right, people who do not want to engage in a conversation should also have a right to decide and do that. We should not be pushing them to keep coming on our blog, content should be driving force to bring people back to your blog.


    1. Thank you for your comment, Sanjeev. Letting people decide what they consider to be the best choice for them is also the best choice for us. Forcing them to do one thing or another cannot help us on long term. Sooner or later they may discover a forced subscription and we may not like their counter-action. It’s not a win-win case but the opposite.

  10. Hey Adrian,
    You dropped a comment on my blog relating to this but I see a sensitive difference between your commentluv settings and the settings on my post.

    Here, it’s between everyone that drops a comment on the post which is wrong. On my post (maybe an update on Commentluv from the version you used to capture the screen), the conversation is uniquely between comment author and post author. There is no spam here because both are in a conversation.

    I get the delivery point you made. Yes that can be an issue. My current commenting system allows delivery through a dedicated email provider. You have the settings to have it work.

    Are you seeing the difference?

    1. Wlecome back, Enstine!

      Here, it’s between everyone that drops a comment on the post

      First of all, you’re wrong. It’s “Notify me of replies to my comment” and that isn’t between everyone that drops a comment on the post. It’s it exactly what it says: it’s about replies to commenter’s comment.

      On the other hand, the purpose of the image you’re referring to is to illustrate the paragraph above it. It’s about the possibility of the blog owner not to show a checkbox.

      I see a sensitive difference between your commentluv settings and the settings on my post. On my post (maybe an update on Commentluv from the version you used to capture the screen), the conversation is uniquely between comment author and post author.

      In practice – when it comes to the topic of this article, i.e. email deliverability – there’s zero difference between the two cases:

      a) Your setting: the blog owner sends an unsolicited email to a commenter and that email reveals blog owner’s opinion on commenter’s comment

      b) The setting from my image: the blog owner (the same sender) sends an unsolicited email to a commenter and that email revels his or her opinion or another commenter’s opinion on the original’s commenter’s comment.

      There is no spam here because both are in a conversation.

      I already explained in the article this issue. Your opinion that there is no spam it’s irrelevant. What matters is what the recipient thinks. Even if the recipient is wrong and you’re right, you are the only one who will suffer if your emails are marked as spam.

      I already explained you in my comments to your article. You’re like in a box and don’t want to accept that the reality may be different than the perfect reality you design in your mind. It doesn’t matter whether your definition of spam is correct. What matters is what the recipient thinks and does.

      It’s not a contest about who is right, you or the commenter who reports your emails. It’s a case when you cannot defend yourself, you cannot prove that you’re right (because no one asks you) and the only opinion that matters is the opinion of the email recipients. Even if they are wrong, you will suffer.

      What’s so hard to understand? Forget about definitions, even if they are taken from laws or Wikipedia. No one cares in this case. Welcome to reality! You protect yourself as recommended in this article and diminish the risks, or you assume the risk of getting reported as spammer by some of the people who disagree with you on what spam is.

  11. Nice one, Adrian.

    I don’t even waste time to unsubscribe if I notice that a blogger I commented on his blog is sending unsolicited emails. It’s annoying.

    Thanks for sharing your opinion on this. I’m happy to know that I’m not the only person who’s annoyed by this.


Comments are closed.