0 Comments |  Websites |  PRINT | 

Australian businesses in jeopardy as major ISP provider blocks MailChimp newsletter service

Friday, 23 August 2013 | By Rose Powell

Businesses relying on MailChimp to deliver their marketing and sales emails are caught up in a battle between online service providers that could mean their emails are only reaching a fraction of their intended audience.


In an email to StartupSmart’s publisher Private Media, MailChimp confirmed it had been experiencing domain name server issues with .au based domains.


“After investigation, we are aware that TTP Wholesale, one of Australia's service providers, does have some sort of block in place against our DNS servers,” the email says.


“Since this block was discovered, we have been proactively working with this provider specifically to get our DNS IPs unblocked, and trying to provide as much assistance to them to demonstrate how these blocks are in turn affecting their customers.”


MailChimp says they are already working with the company involved, adding the best thing Australian users can do is reach out to their hosting company to explain how the blocks are affecting their businesses.


TTP Wholesale is owned by Net Registry. Net Registry chief executive Larry Bloch told StartupSmart that the issue could only be solved by MailChimp, as MailChimp has been added to CASA CBL, an independently maintained “real time black lists” (RTBL) based in China.


Bloch says Net Registry’s ISPs won’t deliver mail from servers listed on RTBLs.


The servers on the RTBLs are those which have sent emails that have been marked by users as spam.


“What we do, as mail providers do around the world, we just respect those lists. If someone gets listed, we refuse to receive emails from that service provider. MailChimp sends out a lot of emails, but will occasionally, knowingly or unknowingly, have users who are sending spam through their system.”


Bloch says they are unable to ignore these lists, as they are a key part of a community approach to beating spam that has been very effective.


“We support hundreds and thousands of mail users on our systems. We have an anti-spam regime in place to protect our users, and one of the key planks is independently maintained lists of blacklisted mail senders,” Bloch says, adding MailChimp would be able to fix this issue, as it’s one it must face often with many users.


“When that happens, it filters through global networks. So the problem is ultimately one for MailChimp, they must have this all the time,” Bloch says.


Fi Bendall, director of digital strategy and marketing agency Bendalls Group, described the MailChimp blocks as a nightmare for small businesses.


“I don’t want to overstate it, but this is really a bit of a mini-crisis,” Bendall says. “MailChimp is hugely popular, everyone is using it now.”


Bendall says the ISP companies involved and MailChimp need to stop passing the buck and solve the problem as quickly as possible.


“This is a real problem. If your newsletter gets stuffed up, you’ll probably need to find another solution quickly,” Bendall says, adding many small business owners would struggle to learn a new system.


UPDATE: MailChimp told StartupSmart via Twitter that this issue has been resolved. They’ve also posted a comment below. For an update on this story, click here.