Guest Blog: Goofus and Gallant

Article by Ken Magill CATEGORIES: Deliverability, Guest Blog TAGS: ,


Anyone who has been to the dentist as a kid remembers Highlights Magazine and its long-running comic Goofus and Gallant.

Always juxtaposed to one another, Goofus is the epitome of bad manners and Gallant the epitome of good.

“Goofus takes the last apple. Gallant shares his orange.”

“Goofus crushes ants for fun. Gallant watches ants for fun.”

The strip was launched in 1940, meaning Goofus has been an unrepentant jackwad, incapable of any emotional growth, introspection or self criticism for 77 years—kind of like some email marketers we know.

Or more accurately, kind of like some email marketers we know of.

Goofus thinks IP reputation is the only thing that matters in email deliverability. And since he’s a spammer, he always makes sure he sends his messages from a shared IP so he can ride on the good reputations of other, well-behaved email marketers sending from the same IP.

Gallant demands a dedicated IP address so his email reputation doesn’t suffer as a result of other email marketers’ sloppy practices. But he realizes getting into the inbox doesn’t end there.

Goofus doesn’t pay attention to his domain reputation. If he did, he’d see that it’s crap. But then being Goofus he wouldn’t care.

Gallant realizes that ISP spam filtering takes into account a combination of things, including his IP address and domain reputations, content, his behavior and the behavior of the people who receive his messages.

Goofus is forever telling anyone who will listen that he’s CAN-SPAM compliant, as if that means anything.

Gallant realizes CAN-SPAM compliance is a very low bar and he strives to make sure his email address gathering practices go well beyond it.

A lot of Goofus’s email ends up in people’s spam folders, but since his spam complaints are low, he thinks his email’s doing fine. It hasn’t occurred to Goofus that people don’t complain about email they don’t see.

Gallant realizes a low spam-complaint isn’t necessarily a sign of a healthy email marketing program.

Goofus thinks IP reputation is the primary way ISPs filter for spam.

Gallant understands that while IP reputation once was the primary way ISPs filtered for spam, that it is no longer the case.

Gallant knows it is important to monitor his domain’s reputation, as well. For example, Gallant knows that if his company employs affiliates, he must monitor the affiliates’ behavior to make sure they don’t damage his domain’s reputation by spamming.

Gallant realizes that a damaged domain reputation can result in any email that includes links to his company to be treated as spam.

Gallant realizes each ISP has its own spam-filtering formula and monitors how all the major ISPs treat his email so he can spot deliverability troubles at any one of them as soon as they arise.

Gallant monitors his email deliverability in real time so when he pulls the trigger on any given campaign, he can address any problems that crop up quickly.

Don’t be Goofus. Be Gallant.