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What is an IP Address?

An IP (Internet Protocol) address is the numerical label that is assigned to each device which is part of a computer network that uses Internet Protocol for communication. Thus every machine that's connected to the internet has a unique number that identifies it. There are two purposes that IP addresses serve- host or network interface identification and location addressing. An IP address is a 32-bit numeric address that is written as four numbers separated by periods and each number can be zero to 255. There are static IP addresses, which would never change and dynamic IP addresses, which gets assigned each time a system/device is connected to the internet.

My IP Address: Why Should I Care?

Shared IP addresses are shared with other customers of the ISP. In the case of some ESPs, the IP address of each customer is shared with thousands of customers. Emails in the email campaign are stamped as coming from a specific IP address, but for emails, you would be lumped together with every other customer sharing the same IP address. The result is that ESPs have to strive constantly and be engaged in sort of an unending battle to keep their pool of IP addresses in the good graces of corporate networks, ISPs etc. Of course it's ensured by high-quality ESPs that their customers remain CAN-SPAM compliant, but recipients still will and can file spam complaints. Consequently, if there is a large number of recipients filing spam complaints (the threshold is fixed by the corporate network or ISP), the IP address gets added to a blacklist and all emails originating from that IP address is blocked.

Not Everyone Whitelists

Many ISPs don’t offer whitelisting anymore, so it may not be easy to get whitelisted and be able to send emails to customers. You can always check with their ISP and yours to ensure that you are whitelisted, and also that they offer it. However, as regards those that don’t offer whitelisting, you may be out of luck.

There is one helpful suggestion for getting your messages sent to the inbox- sending out a message that requires a response. This can be accomplished in different ways-

  • By sending a respond-back message. This would make the recipients show their willingness to opt-in to the newsletter
  • By holding a contest for someone to win something, they need to respond back with their full name/contact information
  • Asking for their feedback
  • Asking them a pertinent question

Once they respond, you’re added to their contact list. Thus, you're in effect streamlined. You may also want to include that information in the message, such as “don’t forget to add us to your contact list so that you don’t miss important announcements".

Whitelisting your IP Address

Whitelisting your IP is something that can be accomplished by following some simple procedures. First you'd have to establish a track record as a permission-based email marketer. This requires a couple of months of sending legitimate emails and complying with the CAN-SPAM regulations. Once this is done, you can apply for whitelisting. (Each major ISP maintains its own whitelist and hence you would have to visit the ISP website and submit the whitelisting form). The ISP then would add you to its whitelist. Since you have your own unique IP address, no one can cause you to be removed from this whitelist or get the ISP to blacklist you.

How to Know if You’re Whitelisted and What it Means

You can find out if you are whitelisted by sending out a mail to verify it. You could also reach out via the Thank-You page, the welcome email, a request via a regular mail etc to request whitelisting by recipients. That you are whitelisted would make sure that your messages get across to everyone you want to share them with.


If you’re searching for a guarantee that you’ll end up automatically sent to the inbox, you likely won’t find it. Our product can definitely help with inner-office messages, but it can’t streamline you to other people. Whitelisting can’t guarantee that emails you send do find their way into the inbox and is thus in no way considered a free pass. Contact us today to learn more.