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You will be very well aware of link shorteners and already using it in your daily marketing routine. To brief out, link shorteners are tools/domains such as bit.ly, tinyurl.com, etc that converts the long URLs into shareable short URLs. Initially, the technique of URL shortening was introduced to be used in microblogging but now it is been used widely across all the marketing channels. The biggest question we have for you is - How do you think these URL shorteners impact email deliverability? If you are using shorteners then you are at the risk of being blacklisted. Yes! It deteriorates the email deliverability and ruins your email marketing campaign.

Let’s look at some details about this problem!

When you make use of such URL shorteners, they intend to mask the route where the original link gets navigated. This has benefited the spammers who use short URLs and direct the readers to malicious websites which may contain malware or viruses. In spite of the good purpose of URL shorteners, they are misused by the already blacklisted domains which seem dangerous to be used in your email database! Once you use the same tool used by previous spammers/blacklisted domain, ISPs will be blocking your emails. Hence the email deliverability drops! As a result, your well-planned content does not reach your targeted mailing list.

You might have good intentions for using URL shorteners but ISPs do not understand it. They just recognize that you have used same domain as a spammer and hence your email need to be blacklisted. This seriously hurts your reputation that in turn destroys your mailing list’s quality as well as content. Using URL shorteners can also get your data stolen! These short URLs are extremely easy to scan by the spammers. As a result, the long original URLs are easily scanned and discovered by hackers.

Many blackhat spammers and grayish hat spammers have thoroughly understood that by using shortened URLs they can hide their blacklisted domain name and achieve high email deliverability. If your marketer does his work in the right manner, then there is no need to hide the domain name through short URLs. Just go ahead and proudly use it in the marketing strategies. On the other hand, there exist other legitimate ways of using the link shortener. But its better you don't use link shorteners for your email databases. However, you can use such link shortener for social media marketing but keep it far away from email marketing.

Other options you can make use instead of link shortener

  • Develop your own URL shortener. Are you technically strong? If yes, you can prepare a script for link shortening and insert it in your domain. Buy a short and available domain name before you get started with this option.
  • Opt for HTML based emails rather than plain text only emails. If you are sending HTML emails, you can hyperlink your lengthy URLs to any image or text. This kind of neat display is left to the receiver for clickable options and has proved to be highly responsive.

Are you aware of blacklisted link shorteners?

As per the research conducted by Justin Premick, he cross-referenced 24 famous link shorteners with the below three URL blacklists:

  • Spamhaus DBL

The above-mentioned lists are utilized by ISPs in order to filter the emails either to be in the inbox, bulk folder, or none. If any ISP detects the presence of such short URLs directing to the blacklisted domain in the mail, it might not be delivered as expected to your prospects’ inbox.

The main objective was to practically measure the impact of link shortener on email deliverability. In the June year 2011, among 24 link shorteners, 8 were found to be listed in URIBL or Spamhaus DBL. This observation is subjected to the mentioned time and year. The blacklisted domains keep changing every day. As a result, if the sent email contains the link to one such blacklisted domain affects the email deliverability. So, if you are currently using any of the link shorteners in your B2B mailing list, please STOP.

Did you know? Text to Link ratio also affects your email deliverability

It is observed that spammers intend to send numerous links and less text content through emails. So, you have to consider the number of links being used while creating email content. This is to ensure the content quality and to avoid being listed as spam. If you disappoint your targeted email database audience with low-quality content, they will never open. Audience engagement just drops and there will be no sales conversion too! Make sure to offer highly engaging and meaningful content to your target audience. At last, never forget to balance the number of links with the quantity of text. In the end, keep a check on links being used since it might lead to malware or virus infected websites. This might destroy your email marketing reputation!


The quality of your email content decides the value you are wishing to offer through the email database. Stick tight to all the promises you made while subscribing and deliver the same consistently. Take care while developing an email content that ensures the maximum email deliverability. Ultimately, you should be able to deliver your message through well-planned emails without any bounces or being spammed. But, how can you detect whether you have email deliverability issues or not? If you experience high spam filters, bounce backs, or bad engagement, then you do have some problems with email deliverance.

So, the above knowledge on avoiding link shorteners will eliminate most of your email deliverability issues. The primary aim for marketing is to reduce the need for selling. Unless you do not misuse the B2B mailing database, you are in the minds of your target audience. Never stop engaging your audience with high-quality content through right email marketing strategies. Stop using link shorteners and attain maximum email deliverance rate through strategic email campaigns. Let your prospects experience the genuine brand through useful content.