As a follow-up to last month’s: Ask an Expert! Getting Started With Email Deliverability our Customer Success Engineer Kurt Diver has answered all of the questions he was unable to answer during the webcast, below.


How much is your domain a factor in deliverability?

Domains are just as important as IPs. Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL, and most cable companies use domain blacklists like Invaluement and Surbl as a second way to verify your reputation. Almost all ISPs also reference domains listed by Spamhaus DBL.

How do you think the new Gmail Inbox layout will impact deliverability?

We’ve heard from some BETA users of Google’s new inbox, that the system is very good at detecting messages types. So far, Google’s new inbox doesn’t appear to be causing any issues with delivery.


Yahoo! and AOL have been delivering our email, but soooo slowly. What is the best way to improve this?

You can ask AOL to whitelist your IP, which will help with email delivery. You can request that here. You can also request a similar service through Yahoo!, which can be found here. You will need to make sure you’re sending only to engaged users (recent opens and clicks). It is also recommend that you only do this if you’re sending transactional messages.

For more information on IPs, check out this blog post.

Is there a good way to show the images in an email as most mail systems block images by default?

If your email address has been flagged as a trusted sender, your images will be enabled automatically. Many senders will encourage recipients to add their “from” address to their address book or trusted sender list. If your IPs are ReturnPath certified, and in good standing, your images will be enabled by many ISPs.

Email Strategy and Content

Our business is email petitions and other activist email, we don’t sell anything. Any special advice for our situation?

Be respectful of the end user’s inbox. Email boxes are personal, and sending thousands of messages to a single recipient will cause you more harm than good. Abusing an email inbox will harm your IP and domain name, and will likely result in your email being rejected by the ISPs. I would recommend never sending to role email addresses (info@, support@, admin@, sales@, etc.), as these are often linked to internal distribution lists. Also, rarely will someone opt-in with a role address. I would limit the number of messages you send to your petition target to 5 messages a day. Or even better, send them a daily and weekly digest.


When there’s a problem with an IP, experts say that all the IPs in range will be affected, what does SendGrid do in these cases?

Rarely are whole ranges blocked. This was more common a few years ago, but now ISPs are really good at blocking only problem IPs. SendGrid also closely monitors all of our IP space to ensure that we aren’t being globally blocked. We actually monitor individual blocks on a daily basis, and investigate all block notifications we receive.

Does the IP you send from need to have a PTR record to the domain that you are sending mail “from” or is updating the SPF record for each domain using your IP sufficient?

In our DKIM application, you can enable “Set the DKIM domain to match the FROM domain.” This feature will require you to add two SPF records to any domains you wish to use.

If we only send about 15K emails per week, do we need to slowly build IP send small batches?

Ideally you will want to gradually build up your volume. It won’t take long with a volume of 15k. I would break it up like this…Day 1: 1K, Day 2: 2K, day 3: 4K, day 4: 6K, day 5: 12K etc…I would also try to have volume going out every day if possible, but this isn’t always practical.

SendGrid Specific Questions

How do I use you guys if I’m not a developer? All of our information is trapped in Salesforce. I can learn to code if that’s necessary.

We offer a web-based Marketing Email Service that requires no coding. We also have detailed instructions for configuring email clients like Outlook, Apple Mail, and Thunderbird to send email messages.

Does SendGrid offer an audit of our overall system?

No, we do not offer a service like this.

My business uses a CRM (ActionKit) which uses SendGrid, so I am an indirect SendGrid customer. If I have questions (and I do!) do I have to go through my CRM company, or can I contact someone from SendGrid directly?

Technically you should be directing your questions to your CRM provider, but SendGrid will always take the time to answer your questions as well.

How do I segment traffic using SendGrid?

We recommend using sub-accounts (only available to silver, gold, and platinum customers) to segment traffic by type. Commonly done by segment transactional, marketing, and win-back. Some customers segment by engagement as well.


For those of you would like to learn more about email deliverability, join us for our next free Ask an Expert webcast this Thursday, June 27th a 1 PM EDT.

In this webcast, get real advice on how to:

  • Boost the ROI of your email programs
  • Prevent missteps that could get you blacklisted
  • Drive customer engagement
  • Build a clean and sustainable list

Register now! If you can’t attend, register anyway! You will receive a free copy of the recording and slide deck after the webcast is complete.

Presenter Information

Kurt Diver

After spending 4.5 years with Intuit as an Advanced Technical Support Representative, Kurt joined SendGrid as a Technical Email Deliverability Rep to help our customers keep their mail flowing to the inbox. When not fighting spammers, you can find Kurt with his family in the mountains – camping or hiking.



Tim Starr

Tim is our Senior Email Deliverability Analyst at SendGrid. He uses his 10+ years of experience in the compliance/ESP realm to make sure your messages make it to the inbox. Tim recently made the escape from California to Colorado and in his spare time enjoys martial arts, specifically Systema and Escrima.

Jillian Smith
As SendGrid's Director of Content, Jillian is responsible for ensuring that SendGrid provides valuable thought leadership content through the blog, whitepapers, webcasts, and more. When not writing and editing, you can find Jillian frequenting Denver restaurants in search of the best queso.