Domain Reputation: Complete Overview

The Warmup Inbox Team
The Warmup Inbox Team

What Is Domain Reputation?

Also known as a sender reputation or an email reputation, a domain reputation is a score Internet Service Providers (ISPs) assign to domains. ISPs use Domain reputation to determine the security of an email before deciding whether to deliver it to the recipient. Domain reputation is one of the factors spam filters and ISPs consider when evaluating the safety of an incoming message.

It’s more likely that an email will make it to the recipient’s inbox if the attached domain has a positive reputation. Alternatively, if a sender’s reputation falls below a certain point, the message will likely be directed to the recipient’s spam folder.

With a bad reputation and multiple spam complaints, your domain could be placed on a blocklist that prohibits you from getting messages through any servers that monitor that list. Getting on a blocklist can bring your email marketing campaign to a full stop, so it’s best to maintain a high reputation.

A high domain reputation ensures that your email campaigns are effective because ISPs will put your messages into your customers’ inboxes so they can actually see your emails. On top of that, a positive reputation decreases your bounce rate because spam filters and ISPs will consistently recognize you as a safe sender.

How Does Domain Reputation Work?

Your domain reputation isn’t composed of a single factor but rather the sum of many parts. The actions you take when using your email account all play a role in your overall reputation. Like a credit score, your domain reputation gauges the likelihood that you’ll send people malicious content.

Some reputation analysts will assign you a score from 0-100, with 100 being the best reputation score you can receive. Others will use general terms such as “good,” “neutral,” or “poor” to identify your status. No matter the scoring method, you want to aim for the best option possible.

Some of the components of an email reputation include:

  • Quantity of emails sent
  • Quantity of spam reports or complaints
  • Spam trap hits
  • Blocklist placement
  • Bounce rate (which should be low)
  • Deliverability rate (which should be high)
  • Consumer engagement (opens, replies, forwards, click-throughs, etc.)
  • Quantity of messages deleted without being opened
  • Quantity of unsubscribe requests

Not all of these elements carry the same weight, and their influence can vary based on the reputation analyst. For instance, your reputation is usually minimally affected by unsubscribe rates or audience interactions beyond opening a message. However, spam complaints, bounce rates, and blocklist placements are more damaging to a domain reputation.

How Long Does It Take to Rehabilitate Domain Reputation?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a refresh button for domain reputation. Nurturing your domain reputation back to health takes a fair amount of time and effort. But regaining a positive reputation is essential to email marketing.

The length of time needed to fix your domain reputation will depend on how tarnished your reputation is. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months if your reputation is in horrible shape.

But the goal of fixing your reputation shouldn’t be to jump right back into old habits. After 30-45 days of consistently working to improve your reputation, you can begin ramping up your mailing efforts again while frequently monitoring your reputation so it doesn’t plummet again.

How to Maintain Positive Domain Reputation

If you already have a positive domain reputation, you’re doing great! Here are some dos and don’ts to help you maintain your standing as an ethical email sender.


  • Clean your email list. People are constantly changing, abandoning, or deactivating their email accounts. Verifying that you’re only sending to valid addresses saves you from unnecessary hard bounces and a high bounce rate.
  • Use confirmed and double opt-in. Not only does this give the customer the ability to tell their ISP that they want to receive your content, but it also enables them to confirm that their email was entered correctly.
  • Create engaging content. You should only send emails when you have something relevant to say to your subscribers, and your subject line should make them want to click on the message. The message should make them want to explore your website, and hopefully, your website will make them want to buy something.
  • Warm up your inbox and keep it warm. If you jump to sending emails to all of your subscribers at once, ISPs may think that you’re a spammer. Steadily ramp up the number of emails you send in a day until you reach your desired amount.
  • Monitor your deliverability rate. Keeping tabs on how many of your emails get delivered will help you clean up your mailing list and lower your bounce rate.
  • Provide an unsubscribe link. If your recipients have the chance to request to stop receiving your emails, they’re less likely to report your content as spam.


  • Purchase email lists. While buying a list of addresses belonging to “your target demographic” may seem like an easy way to gain subscribers, but these lists are often filled with inactive or fake emails and spam traps. Gaining emails organically will help your reputation (and sales) in the long run.
  • Send emails to unsuspecting people. Cold emailing can be extremely effective, but you should only send cold emails when your reputation is in good standing, and your inbox is warm.
  • Use spammy words or phrases. Be careful when using words that may make it seem like you’re sending a spam message, and always proofread your copy before hitting send. At the same time, keep your messages simple and don’t include too many large attachments or irrelevant links.
  • Be sporadic about when you send emails. Create a sending schedule and stick to it, so ISPs know when to expect messages from you.
  • Leave your domain unauthorized. Setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records for your domain will help maintain your reputation.
  • Let unsubscribe requests linger. If someone asks to stop receiving your messages, honor their request quickly to prevent your messages from bouncing or falling into spam folders.

How Does Domain Reputation Affect Email Deliverability?

Having a positive email reputation affects email deliverability because it makes it more likely that you’ll be able to get your messages through to your recipients. Deliverability and domain reputation are closely connected because ISPs use your reputation to determine whether or not your message is safe to send to the recipient.

At the same time, a low deliverability rate can negatively impact your reputation. Having multiple emails bounce is a sign that you aren’t consciously sending out emails to active users. If your deliverability rate or reputation drops too low, you can be placed on a blocklist and won’t have any emails delivered.

Warmup Inbox offers an all-inclusive platform that not only works to keep your inbox warm but also helps you monitor and maintain your domain reputation. Try our system for free to see how Warmup Inbox can improve your email campaigns and online reputation.