What the FBL?

By OctaneGo, September 21, 2011 | Tips & Resources

Off and ON we keep discussing relevant technical terms and concepts related to email marketing. The case is the same this week; the term in question is Feedback Loop (FBL). Most people might have not even heard of FBL, but if you want your baby (email) to be pampered & treated properly then lets learn how to keep it healthy and prevent it from abortion 😉
Usually when you as a user do not want to receive any more mails from an email account, what do you do? You just click the “report spam button” available on your web mail or mail client. As a result of that, a complaint is raised against the IP address from which this email was sent and the Internet service provider (ISP) will start blocking this IP after similar users like you continue to hit the ‘mark as spam’ button and hence the complaint rate increases beyond a certain limit. Users who don’t wish to receive your email will obviously mark it as spam. So what’s the big deal you may ask? Big deal it is, because it is crucial to know the users who do not want to receive mails from you so that you can remove them from the mailing list and mails will not be sent to these users again.
This is where the FBL kicks in and does its job. In simple terms, a feedback loop is a mechanism whereby an ISP will let you know when one of its subscribers complains about your e-mail.

Step 1: Understand how FBL Works

Step 2: Ask yourself why should you have a FBL?
For the simple reason that it helps you identify your genuine subscribers from the entire list. Once this is taken care of, your ISP will have no reason to be upset with your company. Feedback loops go deep into your sign up process that adds user to their mailing list when one user signs up. Usually an increased complaint rate is caused due to limited subscriber knowledge, wherein they have little clue what they just signed up for. So an FBL will work wonders for your organization as it can help improve the sign up process for your emailers.

Step 3: Know the different FBL Programs
There are multiple ISP’s and email clients out there, and an obvious conclusion is that there must be multiple FBL’s as well. If you guessed so, you are correct. Every ISP’s feedback loop is different, making the aggregate data sometimes challenging to manage. We’ve provided below a few FBL links for popular email clients to weed out unhappy subscribers.

fbl-aol AOL FeedbackLoopThis page will give you access to the email feedback loop form, application information, amongst other requirements and info.
fbl-hotmail MSN/Hotmail Feedback LoopThis Junk Email Reporting Program (JMRPP) encourages large senders to remove unwanted recipients from their email list.
fbl-yahoo Yahoo! Feedback Loop Form Yahoo! offers a Complaint Feedback Loop service, free of charge, via this site operated by Return Path.
fbl-gmail Gmail Feedback Loop – Just as a note, Gmail doesn’t accept white listing requests nor do they provide feedback loops. They use contact lists plus extensive filters to determine what gets delivered to an inbox.

Step 4:Sign up for an Email Feedback Loop

Now that you know the purpose of FBL and how it all comes together and works, it’s time to sign up for the same if you haven’t already. One can send a request for an ISP feedback loop either via email or through a web form. ISP’s usually provide a web from to register for a FBL program. The usual information you need to provide at the time of sign up for a feedback loop is:


A confirmation email will be sent to the contact email address you specify. Once your request has been approved, Feedback Loop email will be sent to the email address listed in the “Feedback Loop Email” field.


Most ESPs are still not organized to handle it, this is mitigated by the fact that feedback loops are voluntary (opt in e-mail) for both the sender and receiver of the feedback. However, if you are willing to get yourself a feedback loop and you think it is a bit too complicated for you, subscribe with an ESP who understands how to operate FBL and can undertake FBL operations on your behalf. We at Octane do it with pleasure, and certainly wouldn’t mind maintaining your online reputation for you by managing your company’s email feedback loop.

Now it’s a no-brainer to see why your company needs an FBL program. Consider it as a one-time investment of both time and resources, whichshall save you both in the long run. More importantly it will help you stay on good terms with your ISP as well. A good email sender reputation and an improved email delivery rate into the recipient’s Inbox are a given too.

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