Email marketing: beware who you link to | Cardinal Path Blog
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Email marketing: beware who you link to

I was putting the finishing touches on our VKI Newsletter today when I noticed that we still had 10 ExactTarget inbox preview credits which were soon to expire. As I had just rewritten our template, I decided to give it a run through ET’s tool and see if it would turn up anything that my other tests had not.

For the most part the test went well, but under reputation I noticed the following:
Body Domains: Evaluates the reputation of domains used in all Links & Image URLs. URIBL Blacklist: Contains a URL domain listed in the URIBL BLACKLIST. Description http://www.uribl.com/about.shtml#info. Delisting guidance: http://www.uribl.com/faq.shtml#q2. ow.ly] (rule-id: 1689) 1.961

After a bit of a scare I notice that the domain was not ours, but rather a link I had in my email. The link was to ow.ly.

Yes. The URL shortener.

One of the thing’s that spam lists look at, of course, is what the email you’re sending is linking to. Apparently ow.ly is so commonly used by spammers that the URI Blacklist has placed it on the blacklist. Our email report gives is a 1.9 at that, which is a high score.

I decided to look up a bunch of URL shorteners and here are the results:
clop.in NOT Listed on URIBL

ow.ly Listed on URIBL black (details) Listed: 2010-01-31 20:12:08 GMT

tinyurl.com Listed on URIBL white (details) Listed: 2005-05-10 15:01:33 GMT

cli.gs NOT Listed on URIBL

bit.ly NOT Listed on URIBL

is.gd NOT Listed on URIBL

tr.im NOT Listed on URIBL

So ow.ly is black listed, tinyurl is whitelisted, and the rest are not listed. If you’re nervous about ow.ly then by all means use another service (I like clop.in) but I am willing to bet that given ow.ly’s current fame they will be off the blacklist, and possibly even on the white list, incredibly soon.

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