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What does unsubscribed, bounced, auto-returned contacts and spam complaints mean?
What does unsubscribed, bounced, auto-returned contacts and spam complaints mean?

What are unsubscribed / bounced contacts? What are spam complaints? Do I pay for these contacts?

Jan Tlapak avatar
Written by Jan Tlapak
Updated over a week ago

In campaign reports, you have not only the history of openings and clicks, but also information about auto-returned (bounced) and unsubscribed contacts or spam complaints. What do each category mean and for which contacts do you pay?


If the recipient clicks the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email, he becomes the unsubscribed contact.

Marked as spam (spam complaints)

Contacts that actively marked you as "spam" after receiving / opening an email. When the spam flag limit is exceeded, the account is automatically blocked.

Auto-returned / Bounced are divided into:

Soft bounce: Only temporarily undelivered email, for example due to full mailbox. 6 more delivery attempts will be made to this mailbox within one campaign within two days. If the email fails to be delivered after six attempts within one campaign and another 4 from the next campaign (a total of 10 delivery attempts), it will be marked as Hard bounce. Soft bounce falls into active contacts.

Hard bounce: Email returned in most cases due to a non-existent mailbox. Also an email with a trial limit (total of 10 delivery attempts) exceeded is also marked as hard bounce.

An overview of the most common reasons for bounced emails:

  • Invalid recipient - the user does not exist at the mailbox address

  • Mailbox full - the mailbox is full

  • DNS failure - failed to connect to destination mail server, it is possible that the mail server is blocked or inactive

  • Timeout - the message could not be delivered, the destination server is not responding

  • Relaying denied - the message was blocked by the target server,
    it is not allowed to receive external mail to this mailbox

  • Undetermined - unknown error

  • Mail Block - the message has been temporarily blocked

  • Out of band - the receiving server put the message into a so-called "holding" status, where it has not yet received or rejected the message, but will decide on it later

  • Generic bounce - the message was rejected without a reason

  • Spam Content / Block - the message was blocked by the receiving server due to marking as spam

  • Transient failure - this can be due to issues like server downtime, recipient server network problems, a full recipient inbox, or email size limits. Unlike permanent failures, transient failures suggest the email might be delivered if retried after some time has passed. Ecomail tries to deliver the e-mail up to 10 times.

Which contacts are included in the paid tariffs

The monthly tariff fee depends on the number of active contacts in your account.

  • Active - contacts to which you send your campaigns (you pay for these contacts)

  • Inactive - you do not pay for these contacts, no other campaign will be sent to them and therefore there is no need to delete them in the application
    Unsubscribed - those who unsubscribed
    Bounced - or auto-returned emails
    Spam complaints - designation as "spam" by the owner of the email address
    Unconfirmed - this category includes contacts who subscribed to your website, for example, but have not confirmed the subscription in the email yet - ie have not approved double opt-in yet. The contact does not become active until the recipient clicks the confirmation email. Until then, the contact is an inactive contact (it is not included in the active contact database and your newsletters are not sent to it, you also do not pay for it).

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