Higher Logic communities generate tens of millions of emails per month. Ensuring deliverability - the likelihood that an email message arrives at its intended destination - has been a top priority since Higher Logic started. This seemingly simple task is complicated by the fact that a large percentage of global email is spam. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have implemented strategies - DNS related lookups, content filtering, rate limiting, reputation management, feedback loops, etc. - to combat this global nuisance and protect their subscribers. This cat and mouse game that has emerged between spammers and ISPs creates challenges for legitimate businesses that send large volumes of email and for members that often wonder why they did not receive an expected email.
Higher Logic expends a great deal of energy making sure your members get their email. Our goals are straightforward: a ConnectedCommunity member should receive their email with minimal delay and there should be transparency regarding deliverability issues. To date, we've done well on the first goal but less well on the second goal. I'm happy to announce some upcoming changes that will be phased in over the next few months that will improve both goals.
Higher Logic will be switching all of our clients’ outbound Connected Community discussion email to Amazon Simple Email Service (SES). Our new email platform will be running on the same platform that Amazon.com utilizes for their worldwide sites. Speaking geek for a bit, Amazon manages their IP reputation and works with all the major ISPs to ensure successful delivery of massive volumes of emails. Amazon allows Higher Logic to utilize DKIM signed emails and provides Higher Logic with a consolidated feedback loop for email delivery failures and complaint handling. What does that geek-speak mean for you? Improved reliability, scalability, deliverability, and transparency into delivery issues.
We have been phasing in changes so that there is no disruption and the platform is well tested. All of our client email unrelated to community discussions (community invitations, direct messages) has been going through AWS for many months. All email from the HUG site has been using SES for the last several months. Our next step will be to transition clients sending discussion email through the egroups.connectedcommunity.org domain to AWS. Following that, we will transition clients sending through their own domain. There are no new steps required for you or your members. Everybody should whitelist the domain connectedcommunity.org. If your members require specific IP addresses to whitelist then they should refer to this blog: http://sesblog.amazon.com/post/TxEH4YOF3YJG0L/Amazon-SES-IP-addresses
Regarding transparency, we have developed new reports that show which of your members’ email addresses have deliverability issues as well as the details of the root cause of the issue. Access is provided to the administrator for all email addresses and to each member for their own email addresses. This functionality is currently in testing and will be delivered in an upcoming release. I will provide more details in a future blog.
This is the first of several enhancements related to email. Stay tuned.