Don’t Email from Trendy or Cheap Domain Extensions

Today I want to share the results of an investigation I’ve been conducting into deliverability for alternate domain extensions which I started back in January.

Let’s start with a few definitions to help you understand better.

What’s a domain extension?

It’s the part of a domain name that appears after the dot. It’s also known as a Top-Level Domain, or TLD for short.

For example our domain is helloinbox.email — so .email is the domain extension.

There are several types of TLD’s but we’re going to focus on 2 for today: 

  • Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs): .com, .net, .org, .info, .xyz, .email, .site, .me, .ai
  • Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs): .co, .io, .us, .ca, .uk

In 2014, ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a non-profit organization in charge of managing the global Domain Name System, made it possible for site owners to start using new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that are more descriptive (and fun) than .com, which remains the most popular extension.

One of these new domain name extensions is .xyz amongst many others.

So why is this a problem?

Because their low price compared to other TLD’s have led them to being abused by spammers — which has prompted mail providers to react.

I was first alerted to this a few years ago when I registered a .xyz domain for a side-project and noticed that emails sent from my domain went immediately to spam.

I also noticed this to a lesser degree when I first registered the domain name for Hello Inbox. I also registered the .net TLD and only send newsletter campaigns from helloinbox.net.

So what exactly is the problem?

I decided to reach out to Jesse Hanley, founder & CEO @ Bento, an email marketing platform I use on a regular basis to get his expert opinion.

Here’s an excerpt from our email exchange.

From your experience running an email marketing platform, why shouldn’t businesses send email marketing campaigns from trendy or cheap domain extensions?

Hans @ Hello Inbox

We’ve noticed across our platform that when customers email from specific TLDs, .xyz and .xxx being two verify problematic ones, they have a high chance of being silently dropped. In that the inbox providers will ingest the email but they’ll either push it straight to spam or not even add it anywhere in the inbox (noticed this a lot with .xyz). These more opinionated spam rules tend to be applied towards trendy TLDs or very cheap/free ones (.tk). We advise heavily against using them.

Jesse @ Bento

What about country code TLD’s like .co or .io? Have you seen any issues with those or are they safe?

Hans @ Hello Inbox

.co is fine and .io has been off somewhat but not that bad due to SaaS usage.

Jesse @ Banto

You can check the spam level of your TLD on Spamhaus Project and also find a list of the worlds most abused TLD’s.

So what’s the solution?

If you’re experiencing deliverability issues your TLD could be one of the reasons.

I would recommend you stop sending email marketing campaigns from trendy or cheap gTLD’s and purchase a .com, .net or .org variation of your domain name.

Great email deliverability is already challenging, you don’t need one more thing possibly damaging your email deliverability and open rates.

Hope you found this useful — if you have questions or need additional help — book an intro call with me or join our Discord community (similar to Slack).

Hans Desjarlais
Hans Desjarlais

Hans Desjarlais is a seasoned tech entrepreneur with over a decade of industry experience. Faced with low open rates in his previous lifestyle software business, he dived into the complexities of email deliverability, performed rigorous testing and learned to achieve remarkable results. Now, he specializes in helping companies fix their email deliverability, avoid the spam folder and boost their email ROI.

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