Our Blog

Introducing the MailChannels Cloud Console

Posted: Monday, July 27, 2015
Posted by dliao.

Next week, we will release an entirely redesigned and updated web console that we think will delight our users. As part of the redesign, the MailChannels SMTP Relay Service is being rebranded as “MailChannels Cloud” – the old name was too long, and didn’t reflect many of the powerful capabilities we’ve been building. We’ve worked hard over the last quarter to improve the user experience (UX) of the web console, taking into account feedback from our customers. One of the first things you will notice when you sign in to the redesigned console is a new vertical navigation system along the left side of each page. This puts relevant links directly where you need them at all times, making it easy to find your way around the console interface. You’ll find many of the same pages you’ve become accustomed to using every day, plus some new sections to help you […]

How to register for feedback loops

Posted: Monday, June 08, 2015
Email marketing  design over white background, vector illustration.
Posted by ksimpson.

Email feedback loops (FBLs) allow email receivers to tell a sending network about the complaints their users are generating about email originating from the sending network. By tuning in to FBL data, sending networks can identify problematic email traffic originating from their IP address space, such as spam messages. This information can help to pinpoint and then shut down spammers. Many large email receivers provide FBLs, which you can freely register for by clicking on the links below: AOL Bluetie Comcast Cox Earthlink FastMail Hosted Email Mailtrust MSN/Hot NetZero/Juno Rackspace RoadRunner Synacor Terra (Brazil) United Online USA.net Verizon Yahoo Zoho Google’s Gmail service also offers a feedback loop, which is currently in beta. To indicate your interest in the Gmail FBL, visit this signup form. Not all senders will be accepted into their FBL program.

Introducing Notification Center

Posted: Thursday, April 30, 2015
Posted by dliao.

Notification Center pulls together all the intelligence about your email infrastructure and makes it available in one place. It tells you important information, such as who sends the most email by volume, who are the biggest spammers, and who is having deliverability issues on your network.   Access the feature You will find the Notification Center under the Activity section of the MailChannels console. (The Top Senders reports are now located under the Activity section.) Use the top menu to access all the Notification Center information. If you click on “Notifications” from within the Notification Center, you can access the same information from the sidebar menu.   Monitors The Monitors section lets you configure settings to be alerted about specific events. Alerts can be received by email or by webhook, and you can throttle the frequency to limit how often you receive the same alert. Alerts Regardless of how you […]

Introducing MailChannels Insights

Posted: Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Posted by Mike Smith.

MailChannels Insights is a new tool that provides users with an intuitive search interface that helps end users find problematic email deliveries, providing a simple explanation why messages were blocked or failed to deliver. It provides a level of understanding not available with other outbound email solutions. Available at no additional cost to MailChannels SMTP Relay service customers, MailChannels Insights helps end users help themselves by empowering them to fix their own email delivery problems, reducing support tickets for you. Using MailChannels Insights There are two ways to enroll end users started with MailChannels Insights. The most direct way is to invite them via the Customer Console Log Search. Simply find a log entry for the customer you wish to invite and click on the envelope icon at the top right of each entry in the log search results, or on the “Invite to MailChannels Insights” link in the expanded […]

Outbound spam trends in 2014

Posted: Monday, January 19, 2015
Posted by dliao.

The world of email is constantly changing, and 2014 was no exception. More and more businesses of all sizes are putting their mailboxes in the cloud, with service providers such as Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365. This trend means traditional anti-spam vendors that serve the enterprise market are suffering, because customers no longer need their solutions – whether service or appliance-based. It’s why we’ve positioned MailChannels in the service provider markets: we know that’s where email is moving as people migrate into the cloud. How we send email is also changing. Because spammers have honed in on compromising web hosting accounts and services, web hosts need to learn how to deal with outbound spam more than ever before. As spammers get more aggressive in the hosting segment, homegrown anti-spam solutions become less effective. If you run a WordPress site or any other application on a hosting box that needs […]

Why web hosts should filter outbound spam

Posted: Thursday, November 20, 2014
Posted by dliao.

Email is an essential service that most hosting customers expect to work 100% of the time. But how often is your mail traffic getting rejected due to IP blacklisting? How many hours are spent hunting down fraudulent accounts and getting your IP addresses off the blacklists? The largest webmail providers in the world – AOL Mail, Gmail, Outlook.com and Yahoo! Mail – have long found it necessary to scrutinize the email leaving their networks to prevent users from damaging their reputations. An outbound spam filter is a business requirement for any service provider, regardless of size. Shared web hosts, dedicated/VPS/cloud service providers, Internet service providers (ISPs) and Web hosts, and mailbox providers – from SMB to global enterprise – all need to filter out spam being sent from within. Spammers will always find ways to infiltrate networks. Channeling outbound mail through an anti-spam filter is a foolproof way to stop […]

Update: How well do large senders do at delivering email?

Posted: Wednesday, November 05, 2014
Posted by ksimpson.

Two weeks ago, we posted an article discussing how successfully the largest email senders are able to reach the inbox. We received some criticism about this post, because it made some providers look worse than they really ought to be based on their own inbox delivery performance metrics. To help shed some light on the subject, we redid our analysis, including 7x more source data, and looking under the hood a bit to find out why and when messages are being rejected from each of these large senders. It turns out that many large senders do very well at having messages accepted once their SMTP connections reach the DATA phase; however, they have very different rates of acceptance at earlier phases in the SMTP connection sequence. As a primer, the SMTP protocol has several “phases,” and in each phase, the sender transmits an additional quantum of information that helps the […]

Outbound anti-spam: not your average spam filter

Posted: Friday, October 24, 2014
Posted by dliao.

Spam is something most people think of as an inbox problem – one that requires filtering inbound email traffic. Outbound spam, however, is unwanted email sent to the Internet from an internal host or trusted user. It’s different from inbound spam in a few ways – most importantly, in how you control it. Outbound spam needs to be controlled to avoid the risk of blocking legitimate emails being sent from your network, due to IP blacklisting. Inbound vs. outbound spam control Simply reversing an inbound spam filter to cover outgoing SMTP traffic is not a workable solution for web hosts and other businesses that depend on getting email delivered. You need outbound spam filtering technology to stop spam from leaving your network before it causes your IP address to be blocked by anti-spam systems. Outbound spam filtering is a proactive solution that prevents your IP reputation from being damaged. It […]

How well do the biggest email senders do at reaching the inbox?

Posted: Thursday, October 16, 2014
Posted by ksimpson.

UPDATE (10/24): In our original post, we used the term “delivery rate” instead of the more commonly used term “message accepted rate”. The analysis below is accurate; however, we will follow up soon with a more comprehensive analysis that reveals the proportion of messages that are accepted/bounced after initial phases of rejection such as IP rate limiting and recipient checks. This will give us better insight into which messages were rejected due to content issues. We analyzed millions of inbound email delivery attempts by looking up the abuse contact information for each connecting IP address in the fantastic Abusix abuse contact database (https://abusix.com/contactdb.html). The following table shows you what percentage of the email from these sending networks and providers actually gets delivered to the inbox of recipients. We need to take our hats off to MailChimp for their 99% delivery success rate. We know MailChimp takes pride in their aggressive […]

Shellshock: What MailChannels customers need to know

Posted: Thursday, September 25, 2014
Posted by ksimpson.

Yesterday, security researchers disclosed a critical vulnerability in the “bash” program that ships with virtually every Unix and Linux system. This vulnerability enables – in some cases – remote execution of arbitrary programs via the command line, allowing an attacker to gain sensitive information such as password hashes from a target machine. MailChannels Software is Not Affected The Shellshock vulnerability is only remotely exploitable via online systems that use the bash scripting language. Web services that are programmed using the Common Gateway Interface (CGI) – and where the CGI scripts are written in bash – are vulnerable to Shellshock. MailChannels does not use CGI, and furthermore our software does not use bash except for locally executed commands. These commands are not vulnerable to remote exploitation because they cannot be run remotely by an attacker. Best Practices Even though MailChannels software is not by its design vulnerable to Shellshock, we highly […]