What is an acceptable complaint rate?

As you may know, subscribers using many web based email services like Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, Road Runner, Excite, Netzero, and Outblaze (mail.com) have an option available at their fingertips to report messages they don't want in their inbox. 

Whenever this button is clicked by a user of many of these email services, our team is notified of it in order to address potential issues with excessive complaints.

To monitor potential issues, we regularly calculate the percentage of complaints generated by each email campaign. In order to maintain the best deliverability rate and ensure email marketing best practices are being used, sometimes our Solutions Team may need to address these issues with customers.

Note: If your account maintains an excessive complaint rate and you are unable to lower the number of spam complaints, your account may be shut down to prevent further unwanted email from being sent.

What Is An Acceptable Rate?


At any given point, your campaign's messages / complaints rate should be below .1% (one-tenth of one percent).

This may be hard to envision in a real-life situation, so review the following, which illustrates some different size campaigns with the corresponding acceptable number of complaints:

Messages Complaints
1,000 < 1
5,000 < 5
20,000 < 20
100,000 < 100
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What If My Campaign Goes Over That Limit?


The deliverability of email messages is largely dependent on the reputation of the sender, among other factors. If your complaint rate is elevated for a period of time, it may affect not only the deliverability of your own messages, but also those of the service you use to send them.

If your complaint rate exceeds .1% for a period of time, you may be contacted by our Customer Solutions team to discuss the rate, reasons why it may be elevated, and what needs to be done to get it back to the appropriate levels.

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