Contingency Planning vs. Spam Filter Error

August 9th, 2012

After months of planning, AFI International and IMAC announced their merger to AFIMAC on August 1, 2012.  There are lots of things to consider when rebranding such as business cards, websites, old hyperlinks, social media pages, etc.  Everything seemed to have switched over smoothly.  I had even sent an email out to Peter Martin letting him know everything was alright around 2pm that day, mentioning that unless any unforeseen hiccups came up…we had nothing to worry about.

Well, there was an unforeseen hiccup – a BIG one.  Every outgoing email that was sent by any staff was ending up in spam filters and not reaching the intended recipient.  But why!?  Our IT and creative department got on it.

After drilling down, we realized that spam companies globally had flagged our new URL.  It had so effectively been keyword targeted that I’d class it right up there with emails that get flagged for ‘Free Viagra Pills’.  As best as we can pin point why, spam filters didn’t know our new URL until August 1st, and so when we emailed the news of our merger to our large client database, it flagged it as spam – even though we’d never had issues sending mass email announcements previously.

So regardless of why, we had to make some major changes quickly.  The IT and creative team did an excellent job to get things corrected, but it was something that nobody reviewing our prelaunch could have predicted.  We were able to make massive change quickly because we had contingencies in place that if we had to completely go in a different direction, we were ready.  We didn’t think we would need it, but having that continuity plan in place was a huge benefit.

Having several backup plans was key, much like strike or disaster planning, but the real lesson learned was that we have no control over what rules and regulations spam companies use and even if we did, they can change at any time.

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