With black lists and filters proliferating, it's harder and harder to get an email message through them. Filters and black lists are a logical response by ISPs and companies to spammers and marketers exhibiting bad practices. Email is not postal mail -- in the United States the government under the auspices of the USPS runs the postal system. Email distribution is handled by for-profit companies such as AOL, Yahoo! and receiving businesses. As such, these companies' first priority is to protect the interest of their paying customers and employees. So email marketers need to play by their rules.

The challenge for marketers, however, is that there is very little transparency into these rules. That being said, continuously achieving near 100 percent delivery is quite within reach of most email marketers. It does, however, require following best practices, allocating the necessary time and resources -- and potentially some additional budget.

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