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Think Twice Before Using URL-Shorteners in Newsletters

June 9, 2016

URL Shortener in Newsletters

Emails With Shortened Links Can Be Blocked

Sending newsletters these days is child’s play. But if you’re not careful, there are simple mistakes that can have big, bad consequences.

One big mistake that email marketers sometimes make is using URL shorteners in their newsletters. URL shortners are very popular on social media, as people look to save precious characters for tweeting.

Long URLs are automatically chopped and put into shorter, branded links. This makes a lot of sense on the web, and in particular for services like Twitter and Facebook. But the story is quite different when it comes to your next email marketing campaign.

Using URL-shorteners can have negative consequences

Be very careful before you use any kind of URL shortener in your URL, because it can have really big consequences. The reason is that spammers often use link shorteners to camouflage the links in their emails. The text around the link says one thing, but it’s impossible to see in the email where it will lead you.

As a result, several different email clients have stopped delivering emails that contain shortened URLs. All newsletters that contain these kinds of links are directly blocked and don’t make it into the inbox.

They’re not even flagged as spam, but literally blocked and will count as a Hard Bounce (delivery failure). This means that not only is your newsletter not being delivered, but your newsletter software will automatically take senders off your mailing list because it will think that the email address is incorrect.

The reason this happens is one of the most important worldwide blacklists, which is called Spamhouse. Spamhouse collects lists of URL shortened links and stores them automatically. Many providers and mail servers check all incoming mails against entries on this blacklist. Emails with positive hits in Spamhouse will be blocked, or directed to the spam folder. Either way, your contacts probably won’t see the emails.

We recommend all Newsletter2Go users to generally refrain from using link-shorteners. This is the best way to ensure that they don’t somehow end up on a Blacklist.

Alternatives to Link Shorteners

Instead of using URL shorteners, stick to anchor texts. For example: Newsletter2Go instead of https://www.newsletter2go.ca/ It is better in this context than a link shortener, anyway, because it says exactly where the link will lead.

If you’d like to avoid having your tracked links use a Newsletter2Go domain, you can also set up your own custom tracking domain. This means that your own domain will be displayed within your newsletter. This option is secure and more trustworthy than using a URL shortner. There’s no danger that your links will lead to your email getting flagged as spam.

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