Email Is King

Although social media, instant messaging, and tools such as Slack and Spark are now prevalent among the masses, email remains the primary mode of communication online. It’s embedded in the fabric of how people interact across the world. It’s vital to businesses all over the planet. Due to its popularity and convenience, we’ve grown to take it for granted. An almost forgotten aspect of email, domain names are necessary for this communication method to work. Moreover, without a healthy domain reputation, your company’s messages might not reach their desired inboxes.

How Email Works

Before we delve into the importance of your company’s domain reputation, let’s take a quick look at the email process from the moment “Send” is clicked to inbox delivery.

  1. Mail user agent (MUA) formats the message in email format and uses the submission protocol—a profile of the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)—to send the message content to the local mail submission agent (MSA), in this case
  2. MSA determines the destination address provided in the SMTP protocol (not from the message header), in this case, which is a fully-qualified domain address (FQDA). The text before the @ sign is the local part of the address (often the username of the recipient), and the portion after the @ sign is the domain name. MSA resolves a domain name to determine the fully-qualified domain name of the mail server in the Domain Name System (DNS).
  3. DNS server for the domain ( responds with any MX records listing the mail exchange servers for that domain, in this case, a message transfer agent (MTA) server run by the recipient’s ISP.
  4. sends the message to using SMTP. This server might need to forward the message to other MTAs before the message reaches the final message delivery agent (MDA).
  5. MDA delivers message to the mailbox of user dude.
  6. Dude’s MUA picks up the message using either the Post Office Protocol (POP3) or the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP).

Now that email basics are covered, we’ll discuss the significance of keeping your domain’s reputation in peak condition.

Why Your Domain Reputation Matters

Domain names play a vital role in the overall email process. A recognized and trusted domain name will help ensure delivery of online messages. Mailbox providers (MBPs) and Internet service providers (ISPs) use a bevy of cues to decipher which emails are legit and which are fraudulent, and domain reputation is a key component of this procedure. By implementing protocols such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, your company will reach an optimal domain reputation with a history of strong online behavior.

In years past, most MBPs focused on IP address reputation for scoring email and deciding which messages were delivered to users. Thanks to domain-based scoring, a shift has occurred. After all, email scammers can easily rotate IP addresses. Plus, an IP address can be used by more than one sender and domain name, introducing more issues.

Some actions that can negatively impact a domain name’s reputation from a mailbox provider’s viewpoint include:

  • Email from the domain is often sent to invalid email addresses (i.e., bounces)
  • Domain is used to send spam to spam traps that MBPs/other companies use to track spam
  • People frequently mark email received from the domain as spam
  • People don’t engage with emails sent from the domain

By staying out of the weeds noted above, your company’s domain reputation with thrive and improve overall email delivery. Be sure to contact MxToolbox for any questions regarding all-things email.