Switchboard Email Reputation Score

Updated by Justine Hong

Email deliverability is increasingly challenging. Switchboard’s goal is to help provide you with as much data as possible to run a good email program. For more about email deliverability, check out this resource. In addition to the domain reputation (which you control), the sending IP reputation will affect your overall deliverability.

Our commitment is to be transparent with you about what IP you are sending from and to use a meritocratic approach to assigning sending IPs to email programs. We do not treat big or small organizations differently, instead, your sending behavior and email engagement results determine what tier of IP pool you are in. Organizations or consulting firms sending at least 10k emails per day are eligible for dedicated IPs — if you are on a dedicated IP, we will still show you a Switchboard Email Reputation score but your IP will not change.

Why does it matter?

You Switchboard Email Reputation Score determines the shared IP pool your organization uses to send bulk email. All new accounts will start in the MAIN IP pool where the majority of Switchboard customers send email. If your email program is not performing well (high rate of spam reports, low engagement, etc.) we will move you to the LOW IP pool. This importantly protects the vast majority of stable programs that are on the MAIN pool.

How is it calculated?

There are several variables that we use to calculate your Switchboard Email Reputation Score.

For the first 90 days only, we consider the volume of your first and second email blast. This is intended to reward programs that are following best practices for warming up a new email program. Even if your domain is warm, moving over to a new bulk sender (like Switchboard) means that you are on a new sending IP so a warm up is still strongly encouraged in order to preserve your domain reputation.

  • First Message Blast Volume (weight: 10% — only factored in for the first 90 days)
  • Second Message Blast Volume (weight: 10% — only factored in for the first 90 days)

As of early 2024, Google and Yahoo publicly stated that senders with spam rates higher than 0.3% will have their deliverability negatively impacted. As such, a good portion of your Switchboard Email Reputation Score is driven by spam report rates. We weigh the Google rate higher because most email programs send much more volume to Google-hosted email addresses than Yahoo-hosted ones. This portion of your score is also intended to reward programs for sending primarily to active emails (openers and clickers) since spam rates typically remain low if you do so. If you are trying to reach people who have not indicated that they want to receive your emails, your risk of spam reports goes up significantly.

  • 30 Day Avg - Google Spam Rate (weight: 30%)
    This is reported to us in aggregate form by the Google Postmaster Tool. This means for a given day, we receive the percentage of recipients who received the email in their inbox and reported the email as spam. We receive this data on a delay from Google, so it may take a few days to reflect in your score.
  • 30 Day Avg - Yahoo Spam Rate (weight: 15%)
If your bot open rates are under 5%, suggesting your emails are not landing in recipient inboxes, then we will not use spam rates as part of your SB Reputation Score. The engagement metrics below will be more heavily weighted, making up 85% of your score.

Lastly, we consider email open rates (excluding machine opens) and click rates as a way to gauge positive engagement with your email program.

  • 30 Day Avg - Open Rate, excluding machine opens (weight: 35%)
    • This excludes machine opens and is not an average of averages. It is the total emails with an open in the past 30 days over the total unique emails sent to in the past 30 days.
  • 90 Day Avg - Click Rate (weight: 20% — only factored in after 90 days)
    • This is the total email recipients that have clicked in the past 30 days over the total unique emails sent to in the past 90 days.
How often is my score updated?

Your Switchboard reputation score is updated daily. Note: because Google spam data takes a few days to update, that data will be factored in when received from Google. If your program is dormant for a month or more, the 30 day average metrics will be recalculated the next time you send. It is common for new domains or domains that had recent send volume have a score of UNKNOWN - if that’s the case you will remain in the MAIN (or your most recent) IP pool until your score stabilizes again.

If your Switchboard Reputation Email Reputation Score changes, you will then be moved into the corresponding IP pool (i.e. MAIN to HIGH, or MAIN to LOW. That being said, Switchboard always reserves the right to move you to a lower IP pool, especially if we believe your program caused the IP to get blocklisted. We will proactively communicate any IP movement with you.

Where should I expect my program to be?

The majority of email programs using Switchboard are on the MAIN IP pool. Most of these are fundraising programs that primarily send to an active universe. Voter contact programs are much harder to scale and run well over email (texting is a great option!) because most outreach is to emails from the voter file and there isn’t necessarily a history of previous engagement with the specific organization or candidate. These programs tend to have LOW or BAD reputation scores. Programs that are only sending to opted in emails or are heavily curated (smaller high dollar fundraising programs) should easily remain in the MAIN IP pool.

How did we do?