Amazon Simple Email Service
Developer Guide

Amazon SES Manual Investigation FAQ

Q1. I received a probation or shutdown notice for a manual investigation. What does that mean?

An Amazon SES investigator has identified a significant problem with your sending. Typical problems include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Your sending violates the AWS Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).

  • Your emails appear to be unsolicited.

  • Your content is associated with a use case that Amazon SES does not support.

If the problem is correctable, your account is put on probation and you are given a certain amount of time (rather than a certain volume of mail, as with bounces and complaints) to correct the problem. If the problem is uncorrectable, your account is suspended without a probation period.

Q2. Why would you do a manual investigation?

There are a variety of reasons. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Recipients contact Amazon SES to complain about your emails.

  • We detect a significant change in your sending patterns.

  • The spam filters of Amazon SES flag a significant portion of your emails.

The probation or suspension notification indicates the issue at a high level. For some problems, we are able to provide more specific details.

Q3. What are "unsolicited" emails?

Unsolicited emails are emails that the recipient did not specifically sign up for. This includes cases in which a recipient signs up for a certain type of mail (for example, notifications), and instead is sent a different type of mail (for example, advertisements). If the probation or suspension notice indicates that unsolicited sending is your problem, you should provide the following information in your appeal:

  • Are all the messages that you send specifically requested by the recipient, and do they comply with the AUP?

  • Have you acquired email addresses in any way other than a customer specifically interacting with you or your website and requesting emails from it? You should explain how you accumulated your mailing list.

  • How do your subscribe and unsubscribe processes work? You should include your opt-in and opt-out links.

Also, feel free to provide any other information you might have to assure us that your email list was accumulated and is managed using the practices described in the Amazon Simple Email Service Email Sending Best Practices whitepaper.

Q4. What should I do if I receive a probation or suspension notice for a manual investigation?

As with any probation or suspension, fix the underlying problem that is causing the issue specified in the probation or suspension notice, and then appeal to get your case reevaluated. For information about the appeal process, see the FAQs on probation and suspension.

Q5. What types of problems do you view as "correctable?"

Generally, we believe the situation is correctable if you have a history of good sending practices, and if there are steps you can take to eliminate the problematic sending while continuing the bulk of your sending. For example, if you are sending three different types of email and only one type is problematic, you might be able to simply stop the problematic sending and continue with the rest of your sending.

Q6. What if I cannot find the source of the problem?

You can respond to the notification (or email from the email address associated with your AWS account) and request a sample of the mail that caused the issue.