For those of you in the email marketing space, the day-to-day challenges within our industry can be almost mind-numbing once added to the laundry list of tasks one must consider when creating an effective email campaign.

One of the biggest challenges email marketers have faced in the past three years has been the growing shortage of usable, clean hosting space (or IP space) within the realm of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). Hosting space is one of the most vital elements in email campaigns and unfortunately has become one of the hardest to come by. The shortage occurred in early 2011 and even with the advent of a new Internet Protocol (IPv6), email marketers have remained in the dark ages of IP space capabilities.

IP addresses are individual spaces within the internet that act as virtual mailmen sending mail to various mailboxes – a.k.a. inboxes – across the web. Until recently, the number of available IP addresses was limited to about four billion. While that may sound like a lot, it’s a very finite number. The new protocol, which boosts the old IP address format from 32 bits (e.g. 123.456.7.8) to 128 bits, now allows for trillions more IP addresses.

So what does this mean to mailers?

The problem with the current and outdated setup is that email marketers are being forced to use the same recycled IP space within IPv4 to execute their email campaigns. The majority of this IP space has been deemed untrustworthy by ISP’s such as Aol, Yahoo, and others, causing IP space that is considered to be clean and usable harder to attain. This, in turn, directly affects the delivery of emails to users who have whitelisted certain companies as “good guys” because the IP space they are using to send their messages has been blacklisted. And if an IP is blacklisted by an ISP, that message is either getting blocked altogether or kicked into a user’s spam folder, never to see the light of an inbox.

There is a common misconception across many industries that there has been a lack in IPv6 implementation. However, this is not the case. According to an article posted in Google’s support forum, Google has been supporting access via IPv6 since June 2012 as part of the World IPv6 Launch and other ISPs have undoubtedly followed suit.

So the question now becomes, with many hosting companies now issuing and providing IP space within IPv6, why are there currently no email marketing platforms which support this upgraded hosting space?

With IPv6 allowing for what is essentially an endless supply of new, clean, and usable IP addresses, why is it that all of the current platforms only support servers with IPv4 addresses?

Email marketers may be stuck in their ways, but I find it shocking that the people who spend days and nights pouring over ways to optimize performance and deliverability have yet to sound the alarms for IPv6 to be implemented into more email platforms.

I encourage anyone who has heard of or knows of a platform which can support IPv6 to continue discussing below. If it’s out there, the email marketing community needs to know. For those of you seeking more information regarding IPv6 and how it works, check out CircleID to learn more.

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