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Don’t Use Public URL Shortening Links in Emails

spam-score-analyzerIn my spare time, I run a scotch whiskey enthusiasts blog called Scotch Addict.

One of the fun things about whiskey and spirits is that the age of a whiskey is important, so it always gets mentioned. Most aged whiskies worth mentioning fall between 10 and 18… which to a computer makes it sound like I’m talking about teenagers. (and not in a good way)

Well, when you publish a link, sometimes it has 12yo or 18yo in it and that has the potential to get your email marked as spam.

So occasionally I use redirects to take the year out of the link when I do my emails. I usually use a redirect on Scotch Addict but one day I was feeling lazy and went to bit.ly, a popular URL shortening service.

Big mistake. As it turns out, Bit.ly is Spamhous DBL (domain block list) because bit.ly is popular with spammers as well. (check if your domain is in there)

If you use a bit.ly link in your email, there’s a higher than average chance the message will get marked as spam.

It’s as simple as that.

teenager-2.4Aweber has a tool that scans your email with SpamAssassin, a popular spam detection tool, and will give you a spam score. Anything under 5 is OK, by using a bit.ly link, my spam score jumped to 10. Mentioning a teenager only bumped it up to a 2.4. That’s how bad including a public URL shortening link is!

Don’t be lazy, don’t use a public shortening link. If you need to use a redirect, install a plugin (I use Pretty Link Lite, I’ve heard good things about ThirstyAffiliates too but never used it) and take a few extra steps to do it right.

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Jim

In 2005, I founded a personal finance blog (Bargaineering.com) that became successful enough that I quit my career as a software developer in the defense industry. It is my goal to share everything I learned so that you can do the same - build an online business that let's you pursue your passion.

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