What is a role address?
Role email addresses are those that represent either a group of people within a company or the entire organization itself. These addresses are generally designed with a specific function in mind and are only intended to receive messages pertaining to that particular function. For example, a company would setup a role address for firstname.lastname@example.org in order to catch all of the emails regarding employment and funnel them to the appropriate team or department. The majority of role addresses notify multiple people at once, and the person(s) in charge of monitoring these email accounts can change unexpectedly.
Examples of role addresses include:
Should I send to role addresses?
No, it is almost always a bad idea to have role addresses on your mailing list. When someone signs up to receive emails at a role address they are also signing up everyone else with access to that address, and this is where the problems can start. Just because one person has given permission to receive messages to a role address does not mean that the other people who monitor the account did, and so the chances of your messages being marked as spam rise significantly.
Role addresses are generally listed on public-facing web pages, and this makes them very susceptible to harvesting bots (special software used by spammers that searches the Internet for email addresses). This also means that most bought lists include a high percentage of role addresses. SendGrid does not disallow role addresses, but if we see an account with high complaint rates that sends to a lot of roles on a consistent basis then that account is most likely using a purchased list, which does explicitly violate our Email Policy. Furthermore, many blacklisting services have setup phony role addresses in order to catch spammers who send unsolicited email.
Overall, role addresses are not good email contacts. The people in charge of those accounts can change at anytime, they generate more spam complaints, and they can even cause an IP address or sending domain to be blacklisted. We encourage all of our users to only communicate with individual email addresses that have personally opted in, because it could mean the difference between a successful marketing campaign and a big drop in sender reputation.