Did your email go to the spam folder?

If an email is ending up in the junk folder it can be due to a lot of different reasons. If you do a lot of tests to your inbox to verify email content and rendering your company domain may eventually react on the amount of emails that are being sent from the same IP and start to block your tests. If you suspect this might be the case you should talk to your IT department and ask them to white list your Carma send out IP. On the other hand if you send a lot of tests/email to an account with one of the bigger domains such as Hotmail or Gmail, their smart filters may start to react and prevent future emails from reaching the inbox. So its very important that you respond and react within the emails you send as tests in order to instruct the smart filters how to react with your emails for the future. If one of your emails should end up in Gmail or Hotmail spam folder you must select them and flag them as not spam.

Top 10 Most Common Spam Filter Triggers

By far, the most common reason customers have been flagged by spam filters is “too many images, not enough text.” This is a very common mistake.

  1. BODY: HTML has a low ratio of text to image area
  2. BODY: Message only has text/html MIME parts
  3. BODY: HTML has a low ratio of text to image area
  4. BODY: HTML and text parts are different
  5. Subject is all capitals
  6. BODY: HTML and text parts are different
  7. BODY: HTML: images with 2400-2800 bytes of words
  8. BODY: HTML: images with 2000-2400 bytes of words
  9. BODY: HTML: images with 1200-1600 bytes of words
  10. BODY: HTML: images with 1600-2000 bytes of words

What does this mean?

  • Number 5 is just idiotic. TYPING IN ALL CAPS = SCREAMING AND IS RUDE. Don’t type in all caps in your emails, please. Who does that?
  • Number 2 means somebody was lazy, and only included the HTML or the plain-text version of their emails, instead of both. I think that’s what it means. Spam filter rules can be cryptic sometimes (intentionally, perhaps).
  • But the rest of the detections on that list basically mean that the senders sent way, way too many images, and not enough readable text. Spam filters can’t read images. Spammers know that, so they often send spam that’s nothing but a big, ginormous image. And spam filters know that, so they in turn block email that they can’t read.
  • The battle between spam filters and spammers is brutal and never ending, and sometimes legit marketers get caught in the crossfire. Understand how both sides work, and do your best to cope.
  • But don’t try too hard to appease the spam filters. They don’t like that either (looks needy).



For Outlook.com (former Hotmail) SmartScreen is the spam filtering technology developed and operated by Microsoft. SmartScreen is built around the technology of machine learning. SmartScreen’s filters are trained to recognize what is spam and what isn’t spam. In short, hotmail filter incoming emails that look like spam and based on how you as a receiver reacted on the emails previously. We are not able to go into any specific details about what these filters specifically entail, as this would render them useless for hotmail. But in short you can say that based on previous behavior with an email from a specific sender the SmartScreen filter will remember what your actions were and treat future email based on that. So,if you send tests to your hotmail or if you are added on your recipient list with your hotmail address and neglect to open, load images or add sender to safe sender list, your email might start to end up in junk or at least being tagged as potentially dangerous by hotmail smartscreen filter. This does not necessarily mean that the email itself contain spam triggering content or that the email will generate the same reaction for the rest of the hotmail addresses on your send out list.

Things to remember:

  • First time you send to hotmail from a new sender name/address the “accept send out from this sender” question may appear the email. It might go directly to junk also.
  • If you send “test emails” or regular emails to your own hotmail with Carma you need to react in every email. Do not neglect them and do not just throw them away before reading them.
  • Add your emails sent with Carma to the safe sender list.


Gmail has an automated system that helps detect spam by identifying viruses and suspicious messages, finding patterns across messages, and learning from what Gmail users like you commonly mark as spam.

If you click your Spam label and open one of the messages, you’ll see a message at the top with a brief explanation about why that particular message was placed in Spam. Use this information to protect yourself from potentially dangerous or fraudulent messages and to better understand why a message was or wasn’t marked as spam.

The way Gmail classifies spam depends heavily on reports from their users. Gmail users can mark and unmark any message as spam, at any time. To increase the inbox delivery rate of your messages, make sure that all recipients on your distribution lists actually want to receive the mail.

Things to remember:

Each user on your distribution list should opt in to receive messages from you in one of the following ways:

  • Through an email asking to subscribe to your list.
  • By manually checking a box on a web form, or within a piece of software.

We also recommend that you verify each email address before subscribing them to your list.

The following methods of address collection are not considered ‘opt-in’ and are not recommended:

  • Using an email address list purchased from a third-party.
  • Setting a checkbox on a web form or within a piece of software to subscribe all users by default (requiring users to explicitly opt-out of mailing
Also remember to:
  • Keep valid reverse DNS2 records for the IP address(es) from which you send mail, pointing to your domain.
  • Use the same address in the ‘From:’ header on every mail you send.


Next: Are you blocked?

This is an article in the Carma Campus Class in Deliverability