Amazon Simple Email Service
Developer Guide

Amazon SES Sending Review Process FAQs

We monitor the email that's sent through Amazon SES to make sure that the service isn't being used to deliver malicious, unsolicited, or low-quality email. If we determine that a user is sending content that falls into one of these categories, we take actions on that account. We call this process our sending review process.

In many cases, when we detect an issue with an account, we place that account under review. In other cases, we pause the account's ability to send email. We take these actions to protect each account's sender reputation, and to prevent other Amazon SES users from experiencing service interruptions and deliverability issues.

This section contains frequently asked questions about the following topics:

Amazon SES Account Under Review FAQ

Q1. I received a message stating that my account is under review. What does that mean?

We've detected an issue related to the email sent from your account, and we're giving you time to fix it. You can continue to send email as you normally would, but you should also correct the issue that caused your account to be placed under review. If you don't correct the issue before the review period is over, we might pause your ability to send additional email.

Q2. Will I always be notified if my account is placed under review?

Yes. You'll receive a notification at the email address associated with your AWS account.

Q3. Why didn't I receive a notificaton that my account is under review?

When your account is placed under review, we automatically send a notice to the email address associated with your AWS account. This email address is the one you specified when you created your AWS account. In some cases, this email address may be different from the one you use to send email using Amazon SES.

We recommend that you monitor your sender reputation by regularly consulting the Reputation Dashboard. You can also set up automated alarms in Amazon CloudWatch. These alarms can send you a notification when your reputation metrics exceed certain thresholds. You can also configure Amazon CloudWatch to contact you in other ways, such as by sending a text message to your mobile phone.

Q4. Will the fact that my Amazon SES account is under review impact my use of other AWS services?

You'll still be able to use other AWS services while your Amazon SES account is under review. However, if you request a service limit increase for another AWS service that sends outbound communications (such as Amazon SNS), that request may be denied until the review period for your Amazon SES account is lifted.

Q5. What should I do if my account is under review?

You should do the following:

  • If your situation allows it, stop sending mail until you fix the problem. You can still send email while your account is under review. However, if you continue to send mail without making changes, you might inadvertantly make the issue worse.

  • Look at the email you received from us for a summary of the issue.

  • Investigate your sending to determine what aspect of your sending specifically triggered the issue.

  • After you make changes that you believe will resolve the issue, send an email to ses-review@amazon.com from the email address associated with your AWS account. In your message, provide detailed information about the steps you've taken to resolve the issue, and describe how these steps prevent the issue from happening again in the future.

  • Be sure to provide any information we specifically request. We need this information to evaluate your case.

Q6. What's a review?

You can request that we review our decision to place your under review. See the following question for more information about requesting a review.

Q7. How do I request a review?

To request a review, send an email to ses-review@amazon.com from the email address associated with your AWS account.

Important

To protect the security of your account, we can only respond to review requests that are sent from the email address associated with your AWS account.

In your request, provide the following information:

  • Information about the root cause of the event that caused your account to be placed under review.

  • A list of the changes that you've made to correct the issue. Only include the steps you've already implemented, not the steps you plan to implement in the future.

  • Information about how these changes prevent the same issue from occurring again in the future.

Depending on the nature of the event that led us to place your account under review, we might require additional information. See the FAQ topic associated with the issue you experienced for a list of the information you should include in your request.

Q8. What if my review request isn't accepted?

We'll respond to your request with information about why we didn't accept it. In some cases, you'll be able to submit another request if you're able to demonstrate that you resolved the issue, and that your changes prevent the issue from occurring again in the future.

Q9. Can you help me diagnose the problem?

Typically we can give you only a high-level overview of your issue (for example, that you have a problem with bounces). You'll need to investigate the root cause on your end.

Q10. How will I know if my account is no longer under review?

The Reputation Dashboard includes information about the current status of your account. For more information, see Using the Reputation Dashboard to Track Bounce and Complaint Rates.

Q11. Do you place my account under review every time there's a problem?

No. In some situations, we might pause your account's ability to send email without first placing your account under review. For example:

  • If the issue is very serious.

  • If your account has been placed under review for the same issue multiple times in the past. For this reason, it's important to address the underlying problem rather than just resolve the specific incident that led to your account being placed under review. For instance, if a particular campaign caused us to place your account under review, you have to do more than simply stop that campaign. You should determine which properties of the campaign were problematic and ensure that you have processes in place so that your future campaigns don't have the same issue.

In either of these situations, we automatically send you a notification when we pause your account's ability to send email.

Q12. What if I make my fixes shortly before the review period expires?

Send an email to ses-review@amazon.com from the email address associated with your AWS account. In your message, let us know that you've resolved the issue.

Q13. Can I get help from my AWS representative or Premium Support?

If you're already working with an AWS account representative, we'll automatically contact him or her when your account is placed under review. Your account representative may be able to provide additional information to help you better understand the issue. If you use Premium Support, you should also contact that team for additional help.

Amazon SES Sending Pause FAQ

Q1. I received a message stating that my account's ability to send email is paused. What does that mean?

We paused your account's ability to send email because of a critical issue with emails you sent. Most often, we pause accounts for one of the following reasons:

  • We previously placed your account under review. The issues that caused us to place your account under review weren't corrected before the end of the review period, so we paused your account's ability to send email.

  • We've placed your account under review several times for the same issue.

  • Your account sent email that violated the AWS Service Terms. If these violations are serious, we might pause your account's ability to send email without placing your account under review first.

Q2. Will I always be notified if my account's ability to send email is paused?

Yes. You'll receive a notification at the email address associated with your AWS account.

Q3. My account's ability to send email is paused. Why didn't I receive a notification?

When we pause an account's ability to send email, we automatically send a notification to the email address associated with that account.

Note

When you create your AWS account, you must provide an email address. You can change this address at any time. For more information about changing the address associated with your AWS account, see Managing an AWS Account in the AWS Billing and Cost Management User Guide.

You can use Amazon CloudWatch to create alarms that inform you when your bounce and complaint rates are too high. Creating an alarm is a good way to receive an early warning of factors that could cause us to pause your account's ability to send email. However, there are factors other than bounces and complaints that could cause us to pause your ability to send email. For more information about creating alarms in CloudWatch, see Creating Reputation Monitoring Alarms Using CloudWatch.

You can also use the Deliverability Dashboard to determine the current status of your account. For example, if your account's ability to send email is currently paused, the Account status section of the Deliverability Dashboard displays a status of SENDING PAUSE. If your account is able to send email normally, it displays a status of HEALTHY.

Finally, you can check the AWS Personal Health Dashboard (PHD) at https://phd.aws.amazon.com/ to determine if your account's ability to send email is currently paused. When we pause an account's ability to send email, we automatically add an SES sending paused event to the Event log section of the PHD. The SES sending paused event always has a Status of Closed, regardless of whether or not the account's ability to send email is currently paused. The event log also includes a copy of the email that we sent to the email address associated with your AWS account when the sending pause event occurred.

You can use CloudWatch to create an alarms that alert you when new events appear on your Personal Health Dashboard. For more information, see Monitoring AWS Health Events with CloudWatch Events in the AWS Health User Guide.

Q4. My account's ability to send email is paused. Does this impact my ability to use of other AWS services?

You can still use other AWS services while your account's ability to send email is paused. However, if you request a service limit increase for another AWS service that sends outbound communications (such as Amazon SNS), we might deny your request until your account's ability to send email is restored.

Q5. What should I do if my account's ability to send email is paused?

You should do the following:

  • Look at the email you received from us for a summary of the issue.

  • Investigate your sending to determine what aspect of your sending specifically triggered the issue.

  • After you make changes that you believe will resolve the issue, send an email to ses-review@amazon.com from the email address associated with your AWS account. In your message, provide detailed information about the steps you've taken to resolve the issue, and describe how these steps prevent the issue from happening again in the future.

  • Be sure to provide any information we specifically request. We need this information to evaluate your case.

Q6. What's a review?

You can request that we review our decision to place your under review. See the following question for more information about requesting a review.

Q7. How do I request a review?

To request a review, send an email to ses-review@amazon.com from the email address associated with your AWS account.

Important

To protect the security of your account, we can only respond to requests that are sent from the email address associated with your AWS account.

In your request, provide the following information:

  • Information about what caused the issue.

  • A list of the changes that you've made to correct the issue. Only include the steps that you've already implemented, not the steps you plan to implement in the future.

  • Information about how these changes will prevent the same issue from occurring again in the future.

Depending on the nature of the event that led us to pause your account's ability to send email, we might require additional information. See the FAQ topic associated with the issue you experienced for a list of the information you should include in your request.

Q8. What if my request isn't accepted?

We'll respond to your request with information about why we didn't accept it. In some cases, you'll be able to submit another request if you're able to demonstrate that you resolved the issue, and that your changes prevent the issue from occurring again in the future.

Q9. Can you help me diagnose the problem?

Typically we can give you only a high-level overview of your issue (for example, that you have a problem with bounces). It's your responsibility to correct the issue.

Q10. How do I know if my account's ability to send email has been restored?

The Reputation Dashboard includes information about the current status of your account. For more information, see Using the Reputation Dashboard to Track Bounce and Complaint Rates.

Q11. Can I get help from my AWS representative or Premium Support?

If you're already working with an AWS account representative, we'll automatically contact him or her if we pause your account's ability to send email. Your account representative may be able to provide additional information to help you better understand the issue. If you use Premium Support, you should also contact that team for additional help.

Amazon SES Bounce FAQ

Q1. Why do you care about my bounces?

High bounce rates are often used by entities such as ISPs, mailbox providers, and anti-spam organizations as indicators that senders are engaging in low-quality email-sending practices and their email should be blocked or sent to the spam folder.

Q2. What should I do if I receive a notification stating that my account is under review or that my sending is paused because of my account's bounce rate?

Identify the cause of the issue, and then correct it. After you make changes that you believe will resolve the issue, send an email to ses-review@amazon.com from the email address associated with your AWS account. In your message, provide detailed information about the steps you've taken to resolve the issue, and describe how these steps prevent the issue from happening again in the future. Also include the following information:

  • The method you use to track your bounces

  • How you ensure that the email addresses of new recipients are valid prior to sending to them. For example, which of the recommendations are you following in Q11. What can I do to minimize bounces?

Q3. What types of bounces count toward my bounce rate?

Your bounce rate includes only hard bounces to domains you haven't verified. Hard bounces are permanent delivery failures such as "address does not exist." Temporary and intermittent failures such as "mailbox full," or bounces due to blocked IP addresses, don't count toward your bounce rate.

Q4. Do you disclose the bounce rates that could cause my account to be placed under review or that could cause my sending to be paused?

For best results, you should maintain a bounce rate below 2%. Higher bounce rates can impact the delivery of your emails.

If your bounce rate is 5% or greater, we'll place your account under review. If your bounce rate is 10% or greater, we might pause your account's ability to send additional email until you resolve the issue that resulted in the high bounce rate.

Q5. Over what period of time is my bounce rate calculated?

We don't calculate your bounce rate based on a fixed period of time, because different senders send at different rates. Instead, we look at a representative volume—an amount of email that represents your typical sending practices. To be fair to both high- and low-volume senders, the representative volume is different for each user and changes as the user's sending patterns change.

Q6. Can I calculate my own bounce rate by using the information from the Amazon SES console or the GetSendStatistics API?

No. The bounce rate is calculated using representative volume (see Q5. Over what period of time is my bounce rate calculated?). Depending on your sending rate, your bounce rate can stretch farther back in time than the Amazon SES console or GetSendStatistics can retrieve. In addition, only emails to non-verified domains are considered when calculating your bounce rate. However, if you regularly monitor your bounce rates using those methods, you should still have a good indicator that you can use to catch problems before they get to levels that cause us to place your account under review or pause your account's ability to send email.

Q7. How can I find out which email addresses bounced?

Examine the bounce notifications that Amazon SES sends you. The email address to which Amazon SES forwards the notifications depends on how you sent the original messages, as described at Amazon SES Notifications Through Email. You can also set up bounce notifications through Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), as described at Monitoring Using Amazon SES Notifications. Note that simply removing bounced addresses from your list without any additional investigation might not solve the underlying problem. For information about what you can do to reduce bounces, see Q11. What can I do to minimize bounces?.

Q8. If I haven't been monitoring my bounces, can you give me a list of addresses that have bounced?

No, we can't provide a complete list of addresses that have bounced. You are responsible for monitoring and acting upon the bounces for your account.

Q9. How should I handle bounces?

You need to remove bounced addresses from your mailing list and stop sending mail to them immediately. If you're a small sender, it might be sufficient to simply monitor bounces through email and manually remove bounced addresses from your mailing list. If your volume is higher, you'll probably want to set up automation for this process, either by programmatically processing the mailbox where you receive bounces, or by setting up bounce notifications through Amazon SNS. For more information, see Monitoring Using Amazon SES Notifications.

Q10. Could my emails be bouncing because I've reached my sending limits?

No. Bounces have nothing to do with sending limits. If you try to exceed your sending limits, you'll receive an error from the Amazon SES API or SMTP interface when you try to send an email.

Q11. What can I do to minimize bounces?

First, be sure that you're aware of your bounces (see Q7. How can I find out which email addresses bounced?). Then follow these guidelines:

  • Don't buy, rent, or share email addresses. Send email only to recipients who explicitly requested to receive email from you.

  • Remove bounced email addresses from your list.

  • On web forms, ask users to enter their email addresses two times, and check to make sure both addresses match before the form can be submitted.

  • Use double opt-in to sign up new users. That is, when a new users sign up, send them a confirmation email that they need to click before receiving any additional mail. This prevents people from signing up other people as well as accidental sign-ups.

  • If you must send to addresses that you haven't mailed lately (and thus you can't be confident that the addresses are still valid), do so only with a small portion of your overall sending. For more information, see our blog post Never send to old addresses, but what if you have to?.

  • Ensure that you're not structuring sign-ups to encourage people to use fictional addresses. For example, don't provide any added value or benefits until recipients verify their addresses.

  • If you have an "email a friend" feature, use CAPTCHA or a similar mechanism to discourage automated use of the feature, and don't allow users to insert arbitrary content.

  • If you're using Amazon SES for system notifications, ensure that you're sending the notifications to real addresses that can receive mail. Also consider turning off notifications that you don't need.

  • If you're testing a new system, be sure you're either sending to real addresses that can receive email, or you're using the Amazon SES mailbox simulator. For more information, see Testing Email Sending in Amazon SES.

Amazon SES Complaint FAQ

Q1. What's a complaint?

A complaint occurs when a recipient reports that they don't want to receive an email. They might have clicked the "Report spam" button in their email client, complained to their email provider, notified Amazon SES directly, or through some other method. This topic includes general information about complaints. If your notification contains specific information about the source of the complaints, also read the relevant topic: Amazon SES Complaints Through ISP Feedback Loops FAQ, Amazon SES Complaints Directly from Recipients FAQ, or Amazon SES Complaints Through Email Providers FAQ.

Q2. Why do you care about my complaints?

High complaint rates are often used by entities such as ISPs, email providers, and anti-spam organizations as indicators that a sender is sending to recipients who didn't specifically sign up to receive emails, or that the sender is sending content that is different from the type that recipients signed up for.

Q3. What should I do if a receive a notice saying that my account is under review or that my sending is paused because of an issue with complaints?

Review your list acquisition process and the content of your emails to try to understand why your recipients might not appreciate the email they're receiving from you. Identify the cause of the issue, and then correct it. After you make changes that you believe will resolve the issue, send an email to ses-review@amazon.com from the email address associated with your AWS account. In your message, provide detailed information about the steps you've taken to resolve the issue, and describe how these steps prevent the issue from happening again in the future.

Q4. What can I do to minimize complaints?

First, be sure that you monitor the complaints that Amazon SES can notify you about, which are complaints that Amazon SES receives through ISP feedback loops (see the Amazon SES Complaints Through ISP Feedback Loops FAQ). Then follow these guidelines:

  • Do not buy, rent, or share email addresses. Use only addresses that specifically requested your mail.

  • Use double opt-in to sign up new users. That is, when users sign up, send them a confirmation email that they need to click before receiving any additional mail. This prevents people from signing up other people as well as accidental sign-ups.

  • Monitor engagement with the mail you send and stop sending to recipients who don't open or click your messages.

  • When new users sign up, be clear about the type of email they will receive from you, and ensure that you send only the type of mail that they signed up for. For example, if users sign up for news updates, don't send them advertisements.

  • Ensure that your mail is well-formatted and looks professional.

  • Ensure that your mail is clearly from you and can't be confused for something else.

  • Provide users an obvious and easy way to unsubscribe from your mail.

Amazon SES Complaints Through ISP Feedback Loops FAQ

This topic provides information about complaints that Amazon SES receives through feedback loops. For general information that applies to all types of complaints, see the Amazon SES Complaint FAQ.

Q1. How is this type of complaint reported?

Most email client programs provide a button labeled "Mark as Spam" or similar, which moves the message to a spam folder and forwards it to the ISP. Additionally, most ISPs maintain an abuse address (such as abuse@example.com), where users can forward unwanted emails and request that the ISP take action to prevent them. If the Amazon SES has a feedback loop (FBL) set up with the ISP, then the ISP will send the complaint back to Amazon SES.

Q2. Are these complaints included in the complaint rate statistic shown in the Amazon SES console and returned by the GetSendStatistics API?

Yes. Note, however, that the complaint rate statistic doesn't include complaints from ISPs that don't provide feedback to Amazon SES. Nevertheless, the complaint rate from domains that provide feedback is likely to be representative of the rest of your sending as well.

Q3. How can I be notified of these complaints?

You can be notified through email or through Amazon SNS notifications. See the set-up instructions in Monitoring Using Amazon SES Notifications.

Q4. What should I do if I receive a complaint notification through email or through Amazon SNS?

First, you need to remove addresses that generated complaints from your mailing list and stop sending mail to them immediately. Do not even send an email that says you've received the request to unsubscribe. Consider setting up automation for this process, either by programmatically processing the mailbox where you receive complaints, or by setting up complaint notifications through Amazon SNS. For more information, see Monitoring Using Amazon SES Notifications.

Then, take a close look at your sending to determine why your recipients don't appreciate the mail you're sending, and address that underlying problem. For every person who complains, there are potentially dozens who didn't appreciate your mail who didn't (or weren't able to) complain. If you only remove the recipients who actually complain, you're not addressing the underlying problem.

Q5. Do you disclose the Amazon SES complaint rate limits that could cause my account to be placed under review or that could result in my account's ability to send email being paused?

For best results, you should maintain a complaint rate below 0.1%. Higher complaint rates can impact the delivery of your emails.

If your complaint rate is 0.1% or greater, we'll place your account under review. If your complaint rate is 0.5% or greater, we might pause your account's ability to send additional email until you resolve the issue that resulted in the high complaint rate.

Q6. Over what period of time is my complaint rate calculated?

We don't calculate your complaint rate based on a fixed period of time, because different senders send at different rates. Instead, we look at a representative volume—an amount of mail that represents your typical sending practices. To be fair to both high- and low-volume senders, the representative volume is different for each user and changes as the user's sending patterns change. Additionally, the complaint rate isn't calculated based on every email. Instead, it's calculated as the percentage of complaints on mail sent to domains that send complaint feedback to Amazon SES.

Q7. Can I calculate my own complaint rate by using metrics from the Amazon SES console or the GetSendStatistics API?

No. There are two primary reasons for this:

  • The complaint rate is calculated using representative volume (see Q6. Over what period of time is my complaint rate calculated?). Depending on your sending rate, your complaint rate can stretch farther back in time than the Amazon SES console or GetSendStatistics API can retrieve. For this reason, we recommend that you regularly use these methods to monitor the complaint rate for your account. Monitoring your complaint rate in this way gives you the information you need to identify problems before they reach levels that could impact the delivery of your email.

  • When calculating complaint rate, not every email counts. Complaint rate is calculated as the percentage of complaints on mail sent to domains that send complaint feedback to Amazon SES.

Q8. How can I find out which email addresses complained?

Examine the complaint notifications that Amazon SES sends you through email or through Amazon SNS (see Monitoring Using Amazon SES Notifications). However, different ISPs provide differing amounts of information, and some ISPs redact the complained recipient's email address before passing the complaint notification to Amazon SES. To enable you to find the recipient's email address in the future, your best option is to store your own mapping between an identifier and the Amazon SES message ID that Amazon SES passes back to you when it accepts the email. Note that Amazon SES doesn't retain any custom message IDs that you add.

Q9. If I haven't been monitoring my complaints, can you give me a list of addresses that have complained?

Unfortunately, we can't give you a comprehensive list. However, you can monitor future complaints by email or through Amazon SNS.

Q10. Can I get a sample email?

We can't send you a sample email upon request, but you might find this information in the complaint notification. For more information, see Q8. How can I find out which email addresses complained?.

Amazon SES Complaints Directly from Recipients FAQ

This topic provides information about complaints that Amazon SES receives directly from recipients. For general information that applies to all types of complaints, see the Amazon SES Complaint FAQ.

Q1. How is this type of complaint reported?

Multiple recipients directly contacted Amazon SES about your mail through email or some other means.

Q2. Are these complaints included in the complaint rate statistic shown in the Amazon SES console and returned by the GetSendStatistics API?

No. The complaint rate statistic you retrieve using the Amazon SES console or the GetSendStatistics API only includes complaints that Amazon SES receives through ISP feedback loops. For more information about those types of complaints, see the Amazon SES Complaints Through ISP Feedback Loops FAQ.

Q3. Why haven't I heard about these complaints through email feedback notifications or through Amazon SNS?

Email feedback forwarding and Amazon SNS notifications only include complaints that Amazon SES receives through ISP feedback loops. You won't receive notifications for complaints that recipients filed directly with Amazon SES.

Q4. How can I find out which email addresses complained?

To protect the identities of the recipients who complained, we can't list the email addresses that complained about your email.

Rather than focus on removing individual recipients from your lists, we recommend that you determine the problem that led to the complaints being issued. We recommend that you begin by reviewing your customer acquisition process, and that you remove any customers from your lists that didn't explicitly ask to receive email from you. You should also analyze the content of your emails to try to understand why your recipients are complaining.

Q5. Can I get a sample email?

To protect the identities of the recipients who complained, we can't provide copies of the emails that caused your recipients to complain.

Q6. What should I do if I receive a notification stating that my account is under review or that my sending is paused because of direct complaints?

Immediately change your sending processes so that you're only sending messages recipients who have specifically signed up to receive them. Also, ensure that you're sending the type of content that your recipients signed up to receive. After you make changes that you believe will resolve the issue, send an email to ses-review@amazon.com from the email address associated with your AWS account. In your message, provide detailed information about the steps you've taken to resolve the issue, and describe how these steps prevent the issue from happening again in the future.

If you don't request a revinw within three weeks, and we continue to receive direct recipient complaints, we might pause your account's ability to send email.

Amazon SES Complaints Through Email Providers FAQ

This topic provides information about complaints that Amazon SES receives through email providers (also called mailbox providers). For general information that applies to all types of complaints, see the Amazon SES Complaint FAQ.

Q1. How is this type of complaint reported?

An email provider reported to Amazon SES that a significant number of its customers marked your emails as spam. The report was provided to Amazon SES through a means other than the feedback loops described in the Amazon SES Complaints Through ISP Feedback Loops FAQ.

Q2. Are these complaints included in the complaint rate statistic shown in the Amazon SES console and returned by the GetSendStatistics API?

No. The complaint rate statistic you retrieve using the Amazon SES console or the GetSendStatistics API only includes complaints that Amazon SES receives through ISP feedback loops.

Q3. Why haven't I heard about these complaints through email feedback notifications or through Amazon SNS?

Email feedback forwarding and Amazon SNS notifications only include complaints that Amazon SES receives through ISP feedback loops.

Q4. How can I find out which email addresses complained?

Email providers typically don't disclose this information. However, rather than focusing on removing individual recipients from your list, you need to focus on finding and fixing the underlying problem. Start by reviewing your list acquisition process and the content of your emails to try to understand why your recipients might not appreciate your email.

Q5. Can I get a sample email?

No. Email providers typically don't provide an example email.

Q6. What should I do if I receive a notification stating that my account is under review or that my sending is paused because of email provider complaints?

Identify the cause of the issue, and then correct it. After you make changes that you believe will resolve the issue, send an email to ses-review@amazon.com from the email address associated with your AWS account. In your message, provide detailed information about the steps you've taken to resolve the issue, and describe how these steps prevent the issue from happening again in the future. If you don't request a review within three weeks, and we continue to receive complaints from providers, we might pause your account's ability to send additional email.

Amazon SES Spamtrap FAQ

Q1. What are spamtraps?

A spamtrap is a special email address maintained by an email provider, ISP, or anti-spam organization. Because that address will never legitimately be signed up to receive email, the organizations that maintain these spamtraps know that anyone who sends mail to any of these addresses is likely to be engaging in questionable email practices.

Q2. How are spamtraps set up?

Spamtrap addresses can be set up in multiple ways. They can be converted from addresses that were once valid, but have been unused (and bouncing) for an extended period of time. They can also be addresses that were set up just to be spamtraps. They can be unusual addresses that are hard to guess, and sometimes they are addresses that are close to real addresses (for example, introducing a typo into a common domain name). Often, but not always, spamtraps are "seeded" into the world by putting them on the internet in a variety of ways.

Q3. How does Amazon SES know if I am sending to spamtraps?

Certain organizations that operate spamtraps send Amazon SES notifications when their spamtraps are hit by Amazon SES senders.

Q4. How does Amazon SES use the spamtrap reports?

We review the reports. If we determine that your account is sending email to spamtraps, we place your account under review and ask you to fix the underlying problem. If you don't fix the problem before the review period is over, we might pause your account's ability to send additional email. If your spamtrap problem is very severe, we might pause your account's ability to send email immediately, without placing your account under review first.

Q5. What should I do if a receive a notice saying that my account is under review or that my sending is paused because of an issue with spamtraps?

First, you should address the issue that caused us to place your account under review or pause your ability to send email. Next, send an email to ses-review@amazon.com from the email address associated with your AWS account. In your message, provide detailed information about the steps you've taken to resolve the issue, and describe how these steps prevent the issue from happening again in the future. If we agree that the changes you've made appropriately address the issue, we'll cancel the review period or remove the sending pause from your account.

Because of the way that spamtrap hits are reported, it may take three weeks or more before we are able to determine if the changes you made solved the issue.

Q6. How many spamtrap hits can I have before you place my account under review or pause my account's ability to send email?

We don't disclose the specific number of spamtrap hits that cause us to take action on your account. However, it's important to note that even a small number of spamtrap hits can have a very negative effect on your reputation as a sender, so you should take spamtrap reports seriously.

Q7. Do you disclose the spamtrap addresses?

No. In order for spamtraps to be effective, it's essential that they remain confidential. Spamtrap organizations disclose only the occurrence of spamtrap hits, not the actual spamtrap addresses.

Q8. What can I do to avoid sending to spamtraps?

To reduce the risk of sending to spamtraps, follow these guidelines:

  • Do not buy, rent, or share email addresses. Use only addresses that specifically requested your mail.

  • On web forms, ask users to enter their email addresses two times, and check to make sure both addresses match before the form can be submitted.

  • Use double opt-in to sign up new users. That is, when users sign up, send them a confirmation email that they need to click before receiving any additional mail.

  • Ensure that you remove addresses that hard bounce from your list, so that they are removed long before they are converted to spamtraps.

  • Ensure that you're monitoring engagement by your recipients, and stop sending to recipients who haven't engaged with your emails or website recently. Time frames for what an "engaged user" is depend on your use case, but generally speaking if users haven't opened or clicked your emails in several months, you should consider removing them unless you have evidence that they do want your mail.

  • Be very careful with re-engagement campaigns where you intentionally contact people who haven't interacted with you recently. These efforts tend to be highly risky, and can often cause problems not only with spamtrap sending, but also with bounces and complaints.

  • Send an opt-in message to your entire mailing list and keep only the recipients who click on the verification link. In addition to removing inactive recipients from your list, this procedure also helps remove spamtrap addresses. However, we don't recommend using this technique if you think that your mailing list might contain a lot of bad addresses, or if your account already has a problem with bounces, because it might cause your account's bounce rate to increase further.

Amazon SES Manual Investigation FAQ

Q1. What should I do if I receive a notification stating that my account is under review or that my sending is paused because of a manual investigation?

An Amazon SES investigator has identified a significant problem with your sending. Typical problems include, but aren't 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 doesn't support.

If we believe that the problem can be corrected, we place your account under review for a certain amount of time. While your account is under review, you should make changes to your email sending practices to correct the issue.

If we don't believe that the problem can be corrected, or if the problem is very severe, we might pause your account's ability to send email without first placing your account under review.

Q2. What issues could cause you to perform a manual review of my email sending?

There are several issues that could cause us to begin a manual review of your account. These reasons include, but aren't limited to, the following:

  • Recipients contact Amazon SES to complain about email sent from your account.

  • We detect unusual changes in your email sending patterns.

  • Our spam filters find characteristics of your email that are typical of unsolicited or low-quality content.

When we place your account under review or pause your account's ability to send email, we send you a notification. In most cases, this notification contains information about the issue, and provides information about the next steps you can take.

Q3. What are "unsolicited" emails?

Unsolicited emails are emails that the recipient didn't explicitly ask to receive. 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).

When we place your account under review or pause your account's ability to send email, we send you a notification. If you receive a notification stating that we're taking one of these actions because of an issue with unsolicited email, send an email to ses-review@amazon.com from the email address associated with your AWS account. In your message, include the following information:

  • Are all the messages that you send specifically requested by the recipient, and do they comply with the AWS Acceptable Use Policy?

  • 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 acquired your mailing list.

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

Q4. What should I do if I receive a notification stating that my account is under review or that my sending is paused because of a manual review?

Identify the cause of the issue, and then correct it. After you make changes that you believe will resolve the issue, send an email to ses-review@amazon.com from the email address associated with your AWS account. In your message, provide detailed information about the steps you've taken to resolve the issue, and describe how these steps prevent the issue from happening again in the future. If we agree that the changes you've made appropriately address the issue, we'll cancel the review period on your account.

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're 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 can't find the source of the problem?

You can send an email to ses-review@amazon.com from the email address associated with your AWS account and request a sample of the mail that caused the issue.

Important

To protect the security of your account, we can only respond to requests that are sent from the email address associated with your AWS account.