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Denise Keller

Should You Use More than One IP for Your Email Marketing Purposes?

Jun 08 2011, 07:38 PM by

Every device connected to the internet has an Internet Protocol or IP address, including the server that sends your email campaigns to subscribers. This simple numerical address is extremely important from a reputation standpoint, but whether or not an email marketer requires more than one is certainly an issue that is up for debate. This post will examine how using multiple IPs compares to the common options of sharing one and having one dedicated to yourself.
Shared IPs
A shared IP is pretty much what it sounds like, a situation that calls for you to share the same address with other customers using the services of your Email Service Provider (ESP). Ironically, it is also an option that calls for you to share the consequences brought forth by your neighbors. For example, if neighboring marketers are ignoring their bounces and sending messages to obsolete email addresses or blatantly sending spam, the reputation of the entire IP address could be compromised. When this happens, every message sent from that server is placed under a microscope by recipients’ Internet Service Providers (ISP). In a worse case scenario, the entire IP is blacklisted, meaning any message you send to the ISP’s server will be automatically blocked.
Dedicated IPs
With a dedicated IP, you essentially have an entire address that is exclusively reserved for you or your company’s usage. What this means is that you are the only entity sending email from the server. Having a dedicated IP address is a situation that comes with numerous advantages. For one, the simple fact that it is dedicated solely to you means that being penalized because of the bad sending practices of your neighbors instantly becomes a non-issue. If you end up getting blacklisted, then it is only the fault of your own. The biggest perk of a dedicated IP is having total control over your reputation as a sender. As long as you follow the best practices of email marketing, your reputation and deliverability rates should remain in good shape.

The downside of a dedicated IP relates to the additional cost that comes along with it. This is generally a luxury you have to pay extra for and the added expense could take a sizeable chunk out of your marketing budget. Though usually not a problem for larger companies, having a dedicated IP could actually be cost prohibitive for a smaller business.
Multiple IPs
With multiple IPs, you have the perfect middle ground between a shared and dedicated IP address. Some ESPs allow their email marketers to send mail across a range of IPs. Although there could be bad apples in every bunch, they tend to do a fine job of making sure their users are only sending from an address with a good reputation. If you have a reputable ESP in good standings with ISPs, using multiple Internet Protocols could be an ideal alternative to the standard options.

Whether it’s shared, dedicated or of the multiple variety, each type of IP address has pros and cons as far as the email marketer is concerned. Above all, what you should take from this post is the importance of adhering to the best practices of permission-based marketing. If you are steadily tallying up complaints or bounces, your reputation could suffer no matter which type of IP you choose.

Posted in Tips & Resources, Deliverability

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Comments

Michael Weisel

Jun 09 2011, 01:06 AM

Great article Denise. One point to make with Dedicated IP's, (and multiple IP’s as well) is that you do still have to worry about your "neighbors. In some cases entire blocks of IP's can be blocked because someone (or multiple users) on your block have done something that the RBL owners deem so bad that they believe its worth blocking everyone. Although these cases can be rare, the possibility is still there for people to be aware of. I like how you ended the post with a plug for best practices. The ESP can only do so much in providing the right tools, the ultimate responsibility is in the hands of the marketer.

Bram Van Daele

Jun 09 2011, 08:44 AM

Good Article ! Another thing to take into account is seperation of mailstream. ESP Customers should make sure that their Email marketing messages are on a seperate stream from their transactional messages to prevent long delivery delays. secondly, multiple IP's might be a necessity in cases where the volume of email is to big to handle in a fast way. ESP Customers don't like it when their campaign reaches the last recipient 8 hours later then the first one and there's only so much throttling one can do for a specific IP, no matter what the reputation is. Shared IP's are the last thing you should favor in terms of deliverability due to the "inheritance" issue that you've mentionned. It's always better to have the sole responsability for your dedicated IP's, rather then hoping for the best on shared IP's. I don't know for the States but here in Belgium IP space is pretty affordable so we can assign dedicated IP(s) for each customer. Keep up the good blogging ! Cheers Bram Van Daele TENEO ESP Services

Email Addresses Guy

Jun 09 2011, 06:19 PM

Good article. For bulk emails, having multiple, dedicated IPs is really a necessity. Single IPs can only handle so much at once, so if you wish to send out significant amounts of mail, you're going to need a variety of IPs to handle the workload.

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