What is the deliverability of Facebook.com email addresses?

For those of you who took notice of the fact yesterday that Facebook altered users’ email addresses on site to use their Facebook.com pre-assigned email address first, you may be wondering: what sort of email deliverability is there on Facebook’s email addresses?

I ran a very quick set of tests this morning with the help of a friend to find out.

To Facebook:

Sending Address Receiver Type Relationship Result
cspenn{at}gmail.com cspenn Personal Profile Account Owner Delivered
cpenn{at}whatcounts.com cspenn Personal Profile No relationship Not delivered, no bounce
cspenn{at}gmail.com christopherspenn Public Page Page Owner Not delivered, no bounce
cpenn{at}whatcounts.com christopherspenn Public Page No relationship Not delivered, no bounce
Friend cspenn Personal Profile Friends on Facebook Delivered
Friend christopherspenn Public Page Liked Page Not delivered, no bounce
WhatCounts Professional Edition
newsletter{at}whatcounts.com
cspenn Personal Profile No relationship Delivered
WhatCounts Professional Edition
newsletter{at}whatcounts.com
christopherspenn Public Page No relationship Not delivered, no bounce
WhatCounts Publicaster Edition
newsletter{at}christopherspenn.com
cspenn Personal Profile No relationship Not delivered, no bounce
WhatCounts Publicaster Edition
newsletter{at}christopherspenn.com
christopherspenn Public Page No relationship Not delivered, no bounce

From Facebook:

Sending Address Receiver Type Relationship Result
cspenn{at}facebook.com cspenn{at}gmail.com Account Owner Delivered
cspenn{at}facebook.com cpenn{at}whatcounts.com No relationship Delivered
cspenn{at}facebook.com Friend Friend Delivered

Early Conclusions

What took me by total surprise was this: sending a copy of the WhatCounts company newsletter to my Facebook account got through.

Facebook messages have good deliverability.

What was even more surprising was that the Publicaster platform did not, despite the fact that I’ve authorized the Publicaster platform to access my Facebook account.

Facebook Pages seem to not be able to receive emails at all, even from the account owner.

Clearly, Facebook has some very odd, inconsistent rules when filtering email, and unlike other mail server systems, it doesn’t seem to return any messages when things do or don’t bounce.

Our advice for email marketers? For now, if someone tries to subscribe to your email list using a Facebook.com address, ask them for a second address just in case it doesn’t get through. Facebook’s rules seem inconsistent and there’s no way to tell whether or not your email was delivered or silently redirected into the ether.

Please share this with other professional email marketers who are considering emailing to Facebook.com email addresses!

Christopher S. Penn
Director of Inbound Marketing, WhatCounts

[cta1]

11 Comments

  1. How sneaky of Facebook. It’s doubtful that many people noticed the change. It’s also doubtful that many people will use the Facebook email as their primary email. Asking for an alternate for an email marketing campaign is a smart move since the filters seem inconsistent at the time.

    Reply
  2. At this point, I’d almost be wary of sending to @facebook.com email addresses in general — far too early to tell what sort of an impact they may have on sender reputation.

    Reply
  3. Since WhatCounts Professional does not use the email address behind the scenes to handle the social posting, my guess is this is why it’s still working. We use the email address within WhatCounts purely to identify the account, but not to do the social postings. However, if you do have problems within WhatCounts Professional Edition (which you hopefully won’t), I’d suggest the following steps:

    1. De-authorize the WhatCounts Professional Edition app from within Facebook
    2. Go to the Social Providers page in WhatCounts Pro and delete the Facebook provider
    3. Add the Facebook provider again, which should ask you to authorize again.

    If your account is still working, there’s no need to go through this process. However, you may want to check your Facebook account to see if your primary email address has indeed been changed by Facebook, and if so, change it back.

    Reply
    • Hey Joe,

      This wasn’t the social posting feature of the platform – this was manually subscribing the address to the list inside the Pro edition and sending from the Pro edition.

      Reply
  4. Did you check to see if the email ended up in the “other” folder in messages? You don’t get notifications for messages that end up there.

    Reply
    • We’ve been getting messages back that say Facebook’s mail servers are too busy.

      Reply
  5. Is it possible that FB whitelisted emails from WhatCounts automatically since you “like” the WhatCounts page (I’m assuming!)?

    Also great post Chris! I’ll have to keep an eye out for our delivery to Facebook emails in the future.

    Reply
    • I thought so at first but I checked and neither my whatcounts.com or my legacy blueskyfactory.com addresses were involved. My cspenn@gmail.com account is definitely linked, liked, and tied to the company FB page though.
      Thanks Mel!

      Reply
  6. I tested this yesterday with my personal facebook account and received a message back that said “Based on the email preferences of the person you’re trying to email, this message could not be delivered.” Facebook has made their facebook.com address everyone’s primary. You can change this by going to your page, clicking About and editing your contact info.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Robin. The more people testing this, the better and more accurate our understanding will be.

      Reply
  7. It’s also frustrating that it doesn’t seem like much, if anything, has changed in Facebook messaging and the documentation on developer.facebook.c— well, who am I kidding? There isn’t any. .The top search result is the announcement from Nov. 2010 of the new messaging platform. Here’s my post from Dec. 2010 describing what you’re likely to encounter if you send an HTML-formatted message to an @facebook.com email address:
    http://tvjames.blogspot.com/2010/12/facebook-messaging-work-related-post.html

    Reply

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