Getting Deliverability Mitigation at Microsoft
Microsoft often provides little feedback to aid in the mitigation process. We will discuss some tips to assist in this process.
About: Tonya Gordon
A professional who has worked in the email industry for over 20 years. As a thought leader in Deliverability and Compliance, I manage a team that maintains a shared environment as well as dedicated environments to ensure that reputations stay positive and abusers are quickly identified and removed from the network. My experience comes from having worked on both the receiving (ISP) and the sending (ESP) side of Email. With that knowledge, the only constant is change!
Today we’ll be discussing demystifying the Microsoft mitigation process. We’ll also be going into escalation requests for the four different mitigation types, blocked IP delays, timing out to soft bounce, spam filtering, and IP warmup, or pre planned volume spikes as well. And then we’ll go into overall mitigation adequate. I will be answering questions in the comments section during and after the presentation. So let’s go ahead and get into demystifying the Microsoft mitigation process. So Microsoft has a mitigation form, and we must deliverability people if used it on the regular on there is an issue title at the top where and you actually fill out what type of mitigation requests that you are wanting to do. And then throughout the form, you fill out various bits, tidbits of information, you would think that that’s all they need in order to fulfil your request. And so if not, you would think that they would reach out to you and say this, I need this, I also need something else, etc. However, Hotmail, Mel’s legal team requires that they only send the legal approved template ID responses. So rather than getting an email asking specifically what they need, you get denial, after denial, after denial, after denial. So finally, after weeks of trying, and back and forth, you finally get your mitigation implemented. And it can be painful and stressful. Going back and forth, constantly providing more and more information, try escalating, requesting to escalate daily, sometimes multiple times a day. However, that’s just the nature of the beast, right. So let’s go into what it takes to get a mitigation with Microsoft. So you need to be clear on the issue, type in the support request, first and foremost. So if you have blocked IPS, make sure that you call that out. Don’t just state mitigation request. If you’re denied, you need to reply to the denial asking for an escalation. collect as much evidence as you can proving your cause. And then don’t open another ticket. Just keep replying to that chain, try replying during different times different shift times. So possibly you get different support personnel that may treat your information differently, or maybe even understand it a little better of what you’re trying to explain. Also, just note that the denial is only the legal approved template. So they’re not telling you exactly they’re sending you that template because they don’t have enough information to go ahead and provide you with that mitigation. So continue escalating each time providing more and more information. And you’ll notice that day in and day out as you are escalating and providing that information you’ll continue to work on the problem with the customer trying to correct it on the sender side as well. And so you will have new things to add when escalating such as the customer made this new change today the customer is now doing this or we’ve removed the subscribers and or we, you know have it’s been two weeks since we’ve made this change etc. and as well as different things That may change and say we’re seeing stats change, however not to where it should be a cetera. So this process can take up to three weeks. So it’s important that you’re persistent. And you continue responding back and asking for escalation and and not giving up. Because ultimately, once you either make the correct changes that are required in order to get that mitigation, or you provide the correct information that is required to achieve that mitigation, and ultimately, you will have success. So let’s first go into the blocked IP issue. So the issue title is blocked IPS. So this would be blocked IP mitigation request, you’ll fill out the form provide all the information. If you receive that denial, then you will reply back to that denial. providing more information. So while you may have provided some of the information in the form, it’s important to go ahead and restate a lot of that information. So customer details how long the IP has been blocked any historical information that may be helpful, detailed background of why you believe it went wrong, IPS hostname, sending domain supporting stats, stats of other mailbox providers performing well. So if you are actually only being blocked by Microsoft at that time, provide your delivery stats for other mailbox providers, such as the major providers like Yahoo, Comcast, Gmail, etc. And also make sure to include fresh bounce responses. So in the in the support request, you do, it does ask for about response. However, in your email, asking for escalation, provide a new fresh one. So each time you ask for an escalation, if you’re providing bouts, and errors, make sure to provide a new one from that day. So that you can show that continued, that it is continuing and continuing information. So then you’ll want to continue escalating by providing more and more evidence to support and tell your story. And eventually, you will either get the response of mitigation, or the you’ll see a change in the stats, showing that the IP has been unblocked, we’ve seen that happen as well, at times, we’ll see actually see the unblock before we get the response saying it’s been resolved. Here is an escalation for blocked IPS. This is an actual example where we ask that the issue be escalated. We provide the IP that is 100% blocked and it’s been blocked for a certain number of days. And then we provide all the things that the customer has done to try to resolve the issue on their side. And mailbox providers actually respect this, they want to see that you are making changes trying to resolve the issue on your side. And therefore if you’ve made a change, then they will be able to say yes that the mitigation can be granted. And and even though if you didn’t ask for mitigation with time that change would reflect in your deliverability. With Microsoft, you ask making the change, letting them know about it, they can actually make that change reflect much sooner than not reaching out. Also note at the end of this email we asked for any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. So we’re asking for any more information that they could provide us. They don’t again, necessarily reply back with more information because they most of the support personnel are required to send those legally approved template ID responses. However, occasionally, you’ll escalate high enough that you will get someone that will speak to you directly. And the interesting thing there is that they’ll provide you a little bit of information. It’s not going to be everything that you would want to know but they’ll give you a little more information sometimes but so really, it doesn’t hurt to ask either way. So next we’ll go into delays timing out to soft bouts. So delays are actually pretty normal. And for 21 errors. And you know oftentimes they’ll happen for various reasons. However, if the delays continue, and they timeout to soft bounce, and will not deliver in the retry period, that’s when you need to reach out, fill out the support request for delays timing out to soft bounce, and then provide, again, the customer details, campaign details, the IPS, any historical information that may be helpful supporting stats, stats and other mailbox providers performing well, and then delay about slog samples. So again, when you are sending that escalation request, make sure that you send fresh delay about slug samples each time you respond. This gives them more information, and also proves that it’s continuing to happen that you’re still seeing. If you see delays, while warming up, you should pause your ramp at the current send volume. Once the delays stop, then you can start ramping again. So basically, if you are sending 12,000 messages, and at 10,000, it starts delaying stay at 12,000 don’t ramp up to you know 24,000 stay at 12,000 until those delays that 2000 delays actually go away. And once that stops occurring, then you can start ramping up again. And it can take about seven days to level out. Sometimes it just depends. However, you know, sometimes it’ll just be two to three days as well. Another option though is to back down. So say you’re sending 12,000 2000 are delaying back down to 10,000. And only send 10,000 until for a couple of days and then start ramping up again. So you might try both methods and see which one works best for you. I’ve heard both work just fine. So here we have an escalation for delays timing out to soft bounce. So this email particularly is stating that the dedicated IPS are seeing a tonne of delays. We’re seeing rate limiting and timing out basically, these delays are timing out 100%. So 0% accepted rate for today’s session for these two IPS. So not only are we providing all that information, as well as the IPS, the sending domains, the log samples, were also stating that, look, we’re not getting complaints because your JM RP processes broken, it’s currently working. But during this timeframe, the JM RP was broken, and therefore I could not sign up those IPS for the JM Rp. Therefore, most likely we’re getting complaints and not unsubscribing them and not suppressing them. And so that was causing the issue. So it’s really important to paint the entire picture for Microsoft tell them everything. So not only, you know, is it not on the MRP because it’s broken, but we’re seeing all of this information. And again, you’ll also see logs samples from today. So those delays, you know, and and with the bounce message, the 421. And we provide that fresh from today’s date. So that, you know, even if we filled out the form two weeks ago, and we’re still trying to work on resolving this issue with Microsoft and escalating each time I escalate. I showed I proved that with logs, that it’s still continuing to happen. Also here, please let me know if you need any additional information. This is my way of I’ve given you everything. Is there anything else I need to give you basically let it be understood. I would like mitigation, right? So please unblock me right? Again, they won’t necessarily reply. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask because you never know. So now let’s discuss spam filtering. So you fill out the form for spam filtering, you ask for spam filtering medication. And you put in that form you provide instead of providing a bounce, you might provide headers, you may not be able to provide the full headers. That’s why it’s great whenever it’s not great when you get a denial but if you get a denial, you can then reply back with all of the normal information. You normally provide with supporting stats, but also those stats of the other mailbox providers performing well. This is really important because with Gmail, or Yahoo or any other mailbox provider, if you provide the open right, Microsoft can then see, hey, we’re spam filtering them, but they’re getting 40 something percent at this at gmail. So they’re getting great open rates, maybe, you know, we need to make some adjustments in our systems, and then also provide full headers. So again, filling out that form, you can provide headers, but in an email, you can provide the full header so make sure that everything is in there for every email, every IP and every email sent using a different IP if multiple IPS are involved. So again, continue escalating, providing more evidence, as well as what steps you