Guarenteed Delivery of Exchange e-Mail

Quick one here.  Id like everyone's input on guranteeing delivery of email.  I have an Exchange 2010 server, typical setup.

It seems like my email somehow winds up in the junk mail on occasion at the receiver end.
I did set a SPF record and a PTR (reverse DNS record), and there are only 2 or 3 active email accounts on my server, and they are not sending junk, so I would assume my SCL rating is perfect, so how can it wind up in a junk folder?   The only thing i can think of is my signature includes a jpg scan of my signature which is an attachment in some systems.

But if Im missing some things, please comment.
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There is no way to actually 'guarantee' that your emails will get to the other person's inbox (or, for that matter, be read even if they get there of course!)

However, personally, I recoomend to clients that they only open emails in plain text format, so your scanned signature would always be an attachment in that scenario.  I would lose it myself, but that's a personal preference.

Whether that changes the chances of it being in someones junk mail would entirely depend on how they have their system set up I guess, but there is no way having a scanned / jpg image will reduce the chances, and there are almost certainly going to be some cases where it does increase the likelihood of being marked as spam.

On a more practical note, if you know that your emails are sometimes getting lost in someone's junk mail (or if you just suspect it due to lack of response from them), you could try asking them to confirm that you are in their address book (many systems whitelist incoming emails from correspdondents in the address book of the recipient), and / or ask them to otherwise 'whitelist' you (but that will depend on them even knowing what you are talking about!)

Hope that helps in some way.

PlatinumInfoAuthor Commented:
Alan, thanks, really good post for beginners.  I was looking for a more in depth technical discussion involving exchange setup and using internet tools and standards to make your server achieve the highest SCL rating.
Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
There is no way of guranteeing email delivery.
If there was, spammers would be using it.

No site is the same, therefore you can only do best guess.
Standard configurations:

static IP address.
PTR matches the MX record, which is a valid A record which resolves to the same IP address.
SPF record.

That will get you in to most sites, if you don't allow marketing to think email is a marketing tool and plaster with logs. HTML should be fine as long as you don't have a long signature (being boring here going on about signatures, but they are the main cause of problems).


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@PlatinumInfo:  Your setup using Exchange won't impact on the setup of your correspondents, so nothing specific to Exchange is going to help in general.

There is just no way to 'guarantee' delivery to their inbox, but what I set out above regarding having them whitelist you (and / or your domain) is worth pursuing.


PlatinumInfoAuthor Commented:
Thanks Simon and Alan.  How about the third party guys like Zenhaus and Spamcop.  Does any of the big corporate buys register their mail servers with them as safe or pay for any third party service to keep off blacklists?
@PlatinumInfo:  My experience (now years out of date) with third parties that purport to monitor your 'status' with respect to spam lists etc was that I could do it myself just as easily, so not worth the cost.  You can (and probably should) monitor the bigger spam lists yourself though.  They all seem to feed off each other, which means that if you monitor a few larger ones, you are probably well covered.  The problem with that is that if you get on the lists, getting off is difficult since its like playing whack-a-mole - you get of one, then a few months later you are back on due to them getting your domain / IP from someone else.

I have had clients use external parties for all incoming and outgoing email.  That can help keeping you off spam lists, and outsources (somewhat) your own spam filtering (an entirely different issue from this discussion).

It doesn't make a lot of difference to the spam filtering implemented at the other end in my experience, but on a marginal basis, it might help.


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