High-Volume Email Marketing and the Switch to IPv6

Guest Author

Unless you are a high-volume mailer, learning about IPv4‘s successor, IPv6, can be as exhilarating as watching paint dry. Internet Protocol addresses (IPs), as a topic, lack pizazz. For people mailing more than a million messages a day though, IP talk can get borderline sexy.

Good IPs are vital for success. That’s why it’s time to have the talk about IPv6.

Internet land is fresh out of IPv4 (technically). But hardly anybody is using IPv6 (Why? see: time and money)! So, let’s outline what’s going on with the transition from IPv4 to IPv6.

Why the Switch from 4 to 6?

When the Internet was just a pup, 4.29 billion IPs seemed like enough. But the Internet has exploded. Now we have so many people, so many Internet-enabled devices and too little IPs.

The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) came to the rescue in 1998 by releasing IPv6. It has a dizzying number of hexadecimal addresses; 340,282,366,920, 938, 463, 374,607,431,768, 211,456 (340 undecillion for all you Jeopardy! Champions) to be exact. According to Steve Leibson, we could assign an IPv6 to every atom on the surface of the planet and still have plenty more to spare. Transitioning from 32 bit with IPv4 to 128 bit with IPv6 made all the difference.

Why Should a Mailer Care about the Transition

Serious mailers must posses above-average IP knowledge. The technical side of mailing demands it. If you are a computer dullard, just ground yourself in the basics.

How Will the Transition Impact High-Volume Mailing

Truth: nobody REALLY knows!

What We Do Know About the Transition

There Will Be Hick-Ups

            IPv4 and IPv6 cannot directly connect. Currently there are short-term workarounds put in place by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) such as: CIDR (Class-less Inter Domain Routing), NAT (Network Address Translation) and Private Addressing. These methods have squeezed more life of IPv4 and are making the segue to IPv6 possible.

IT administrators have to learn a new bag of tricks. IPv6 cannot be deployed the same as IPv4. We are, collectively, in the midst of a learning curve for how to trouble-shoot, configure and security monitor IPv6.

Security and Reputation

IPv6 is but a baby. Nobody knows what the exact security issues will be. It’s going to be tricky for awhile.

IPv6 has, baked into it, several nice security features, like end-to-end encryption. Which is great…but useless while we’re still in the transition. IPv4, by contrast, has to be specially tricked out to be secure.

SPAM Fighting in the Age of IPv6 could get interesting. One thing most email experts agree on is that domain reputation will be the new “email credit rating” method. Exponential expansion of available IP addresses made possible by IPv6 means spammers will have an endless supply of fresh IPs. Therefore, IP reputation may become pointless.

Deliverability Issues

It is hard to pin-point specific delivery issues on IPv6. Though latency, caused by service providers using dual stack IPv4/ IPv6 servers, could be a problem when it comes to managing IP throttle rates. Generally it’s the case that IPv4 machines are retrofitted to communicate with IPv6 infrastructures. Some IT specialists prefer to stick to IPv4 just for mail servers, at least for now.

Pricing and Availability

There’s an interesting problem/opportunity that will arise as more individuals and institutions switch over to IPv6 and release their IPv4 blocks. It could be that all the email administrators snatch up all the IPv4 blocks to use only for mail severs thereby spiking the asking price for IPv4. That could in turn help spur the use of IPv6 which in turn may cause the price of IPv4 blocks to then drop. Or maybe not.

It’s Going to Take Time

In 2016 IPv6 reached 10% deployment. That’s almost 20 years since its release. Slowly but surely we’re working our way to full saturation. Buckle in and take a nap. It’s going to be a while.

Meet the Author – VoloMP

As one of the earliest platforms to deliver high volume e-mail marketing, VoloMP is dedicated to providing the best solution for e-mail marketers that impact both top line and bottom line performance. VoloMP strives to optimize the time spent on sending e-mail campaigns, and increase the efficiency and performance of e-mail marketers.


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