What is an Email Feedback Loop?


An Email Feedback Loop (FBL) is a service that provides spam data to email senders (you). It allows you to keep a clean mailing list, which helps you avoid spam folders and improves your message delivery rates. If your business wants direct feedback from email recipients, an FBL is a great resource to implement.

How does an Email Feedback Loop work?

When a sent message is opened and the recipient clicks the spam/junk button (or equivalent) in the email, it is considered a “complaint.” FBLs let you receive messages back from customers who complain about an email.

If the recipient’s mailbox provider uses this dedicated service, the feedback loop quickly forwards the message complained about back to you at a designated email address already set up. This is primarily done so you can suppress the specific user in your database, removing them from future mailing lists and preventing potential future complaints by them.

What are the benefits of an Email Feedback Loop?

Remove complaining members—As mentioned, the main purpose of the FBL process is to be able to unsubscribe a member from your database. You definitely want to avoid members submitting multiple complaints, which will significantly damage your email deliverability.

Complaints also drive future emails to that customer’s spam folder, and if you have a high volume of messages delivered that are being marked as spam/complaints, your email reputation suffers. Proactively removing unhappy recipients from your mailing list is a critical step in keeping your contacts clean.

Identify compromised hosts—Network security should never be taken lightly. When you have network security issues, your emails are vulnerable to malicious actors, leading to deliverability problems. FBLs help discover these failures by letting you see all complaints related to your IP address. If your IP addresses have been compromised, you may receive complaints on messages that you never sent.

Which Mailbox Providers use Email Feedback Loops?

Several providers give you the ability to use an FBL, including:

AOL Rackspace
Bluetie (Excite) Roadrunner (Time Warner Cable)
Comcast Synacor
Cox Terra
Earthlink Tucows
Fastmail United Online
Gmail USA.net
Hotmail Yahoo!
Mail.ru Zoho
QQ (Tencent)  

How do I start receiving these reports from an Email Feedback Loop?

Depending on your mailbox provider’s FBL availability, you need to go through an application process to enable an FBL. The required information varies across different applications, but some of the essential items you need to submit include:

  • Contact information
  • IP/domain address
  • Email address designated to receive FBL messages


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