badsender logo

How (and when) to contact Microsoft Hotmail when you have a deliverability problem?

13/06/2019

If you are here... it's probably because there is something wrong with your campaigns sent to (non-exhaustive list): hotmail.com, hotmail.fr, outlook.com, outlook.fr, msn.com, hotmail.co.uk, live.com, live.fr, passport.com, passport.net, ... and many more.

To make it short, your deliverability problems with Hotmail (yes, everyone still calls Outlook.com "Hotmail" these days) can be of two kinds (we're talking about the consequences here, not the origin of the deliverability incident): your emails are completely blocked (you receive softbounces in which Hotmail says it doesn't want you) or your emails go all (or in part) to the spam box.

So you think... I'm going to send them a message to Microsoft to unblock my emails. And then you roll your tongue around 10 times in your mouth, and take it easy. You shouldn't move too fast.

When should I send a ticket to Hotmail support?

As we have seen above, if you are here, it is because you have a problem of deliverability (blocking or spamming). The first rule is to use Hotmail support sparingly! If you rush at the first block or spam, you risk doing worse than better.

The golden rule: Thou shalt not ask for assistance from Microsoft until you have solved the source of your deliverability problem yourself!

Because basically, if your emails get spammed or blocked, it's most probably your fault, not Microsoft's! You should therefore first check and correct a whole series of parameters (non-exhaustive list):

  • Send your emails to opt-in contacts (even in countries where it is not mandatory)
  • Check the quality of the addresses collected (are robots filling in your forms? are you using affiliation to collect?)
  • Send your emails to committed recipients, and specifically deal with inactives
  • Efficiently clean bounces
  • Is your unsubscribe system simple and effective?
  • Is your sales pressure adapted to your different targets?
  • Is the technical configuration of your shipments perfect?
  • Are you able to reduce the volume of complaints through the various points discussed above?

Once you've dealt with all these issues, made the corrective actions... a little patience, if you've done your job correctly, you should be able to see "natural" improvements (and yes, Hotmail is fickle, it can take a long time).

(Psssst, we can give you a hand with our deliverability audits 😉 )

Yes, but no more emails come through, I can't wait, I'm losing a lot of money!

So of course, if you are blocked, it is legitimate to want to ask Microsoft to open the floodgates again right away. But if your emails are completely blocked, it means that you have reached a critical threshold on one (or several) parameter(s). You should then act urgently, cut off most of your email flows to Hotmail and only send "hyper" qualitative campaigns to the most engaged and "opt-in" contacts.

Again, don't rush to send a ticket to Hotmail support right away, you should be able to see after a few days that some of your emails are getting through again. And if Microsoft judges that the traffic that is passing through again is of good quality, they will gradually open the floodgates.

Yes, but when can I contact them?

Basically, you only contact Microsoft/Hotmail/Outlook.com when you feel you have returned to reasonable practices AND some or all of the blocking or spamming persists. If you don't have too much history of requesting unblocking, your request should be successful relatively quickly. On the other hand, if you make a request every week and you regularly fall back into your old ways... they will be less and less friendly with you!

Oh yes, of course, you can contact them when you think you are a victim of a "false positive". But that's another topic.

Who should submit a ticket to Hotmail support?

Now that's a good question! When the work we talked about above has been done correctly, and you think there is no other solution, the ideal is to ask your email routing solution directly! In order for them to have all the cards in hand, you will need to explain the history:

  • When and how you detected the incident
  • What you have done in terms of actions, urgency and substance
  • Since when have corrective actions been deployed
  • What has evolved since
  • Why you think you should contact support anyway

In some cases, your router may not allow you to contact Microsoft. In this case, you can take over and contact them directly or possibly through a consultant (hello!)... but this is not ideal as your router has the IP addresses and is therefore legitimate in this contact.

Sending a ticket to Microsoft Hotmail: in practice

After 795 words in this article, we finally get to the step you are interested in.

Send a ticket to Microsoft Hotmail support

(so you have to start by clicking on the link above)

First thing to know... we communicate in English!

Step 1: We define the incident in a few words

Be descriptive, type of incident and error code if any.

Step 2: Explain who you are!

Here, nothing too complicated, you identify yourself, you give your name, your email address.

Step 3: Identify yourself in relation to your sending infrastructure

In the first field, identify the domain(s) from which you are sending your messages (From:). In the second field, for Marketing messages, it will be either ESP (if you are a router) or Other if you are sending a ticket to support but you are using a third party router (again, we always prefer that it is the router that communicates with Microsoft).

Concerning the lists of IP addresses, we have two cases:

  1. You are using dedicated IPs: you will have to list all the IPs of the pool that causes problems by separating them with a ";".
  2. You use shared IPs: in this case, you may have to list all the IPs used by your router (using the IP range notation).

Step 4 : Some more information

Then, some additional information to fill in. Are you using a dedicated or shared server (or rather IPs). Copy/paste error messages if you have had any in bounces. Give the URL of your website.

Step 5: We validate

Push the "Submit" button

Step 6: We exchange (or not) with the support

Very often, at least if you have never used Microsoft support, there is a first automated step. That is to say that a system will check your IPs, and if they are indeed blocked, if you don't have a very bad history and if it's not the 20th time you ask for help, you might well be unblocked automatically, without the intervention of a human.

On the other hand, in the other cases, you will potentially go into manual mode, and there, you will have to justify your actions and negotiate with the operator so that there is a manual action carried out by him. Be careful, no miracles either, these operators have a limited scope of action and do not have access to all the variables (far from it) that make your emails not be delivered to the right place.

Good luck!

Need help with your email deliverability strategy?

Photo by Joladis B. on Unsplash
 

Need a deliverability audit ? Or a monitoring ? We can also offer you :

Badsender also animates training on the subject of email deliverability !

4 Responses

  1. A must-have article!
    It remains to do the same for the other main providers of email addresses (GMail, of course, but also Yahoo, La Poste... and ISPs).
    Thank you in advance!

  2. Hello,
    so thank you very much, this article has helped me a lot. It's true that there should be more clear solutions like this for other suppliers.

  3. 3 important emails (in January and February) that were sent to my hotmail box (zanatsoa@hotmail.com) are not found. Checked inbox, spam, junk mail, deleted and definitively deleted, not found.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.