Building a strong sending reputation is all about building trust. Once you build a good reputation, you have to work to maintain it. Sometimes you have to build your reputation from scratch. Or you may have built a strong reputation with an ESP, but now you need to transition to a new provider or sending platform.
When you switch ESPs, your reputation doesn’t magically carry over. All the backend bits change, and most of those bits are what built and maintained your reputation.
How do you ensure your reputation is built strong as a new sender when you switch ESPs? And what do you need to consider to rebuild your reputation with a new platform?
In this month’s roundup, email experts from Iterable, Klaviyo, SocketLabs, iContact, Word to the Wise, Hurix Digital, Zeta, Netcore Cloud and myself, your very own Kickbox deliverability geek, roll up our sleeves to help you build a strong reputation when you get started with a new ESP.
And off we go!
Reputation starts with HELO
The first time you meet someone, you typically start with a “hi,” “heya,” or “HELO” (the email geek version of “hello”).
Your first introduction and resulting impression or reputation are built off how you introduce yourself (on the technical side) and how you behave as a sender.
When you move (to a new ESP), your name (domain) can bring along some past reputation. But, because your number (IP) changes, you do have to reestablish your reputation behind that number.
So whether you are starting as a new sender, adding a new ESP or replacing an ESP, here are 4 factors to consider to ensure your first “HELO” leaves a positive mark.
Are you a match made in heaven?
The first step in building your reputation at an ESP is making sure that ESP is the right partner for your program. One thing I often see when consulting isn’t necessarily the client’s email program that needs an overhaul, but the infrastructure and support behind the program weren’t a good fit.
A lack of compatibility between a sender and an ESP can end up causing more problems and work against the good of your reputation. Some high-level questions you should keep in mind:
- Do they support dedicated or shared IPs, and do you fit the volume needs for that setup?
- Do they have a deliverability team/support to help with issues?
- Do they have experience with your vertical?
- Do they have reputable IP ranges and compliance practices to maintain a healthy sending environment?
If their answers don’t meet your needs exactly, it doesn’t mean you can’t work together. But you may need to have additional tools and/or resources ready. For example, if they don’t have a dedicated deliverability team, you may need to consider external deliverability consulting.
Warming is for everyone
Once you’ve found that perfect ESP, you need to build your reputation slowly through the process of domain and IP warming. In short, your reputation is tied to your IPs, sending domains and the configurations of these systems.
Warming your program is most successful at building your reputation when your messages have email authentication (SPF, DKIM, DMARC). And you start at low volumes and build your way up to your desired cadence and audience size. Then it’s all about listening to your customers and following best practices to maintain it.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
If you already have a well-established sending reputation, there’s no need for you to lose it entirely. You can share your sending domain between ESPs which allows you to bring over your domain reputation from one ESP to another.
The magic of email and building reputation is based on the internal workings, like the framing of a building. No one sees the studs, but you’ll see the final store and brand. As a company with an established reputation, you want that to follow you regardless of the building you reside in.
But, even with domain reputation, you still have to build your IP reputation on your new ESP.
Track performance using the best metrics
Finally, no two ESPs are the same, which means attempting to compare metrics between ESPs can be futile and keep you from focusing on inbox performance and your effectiveness.
Instead of comparing campaign metrics, which are calculated differently from ESP to ESP, focus on the results—revenue, website visits, new subscriptions, confirmations, etc. Utilize reputation sites, like Google Postmaster Tools and SNDS, and third-party email deliverability tools like Kickbox.
When Switching ESPs, Planning & Patience are Key
Switching sending platforms is a very tricky time, from a deliverability standpoint, because you start using new IPs and (usually) a new sending domain.
Mailbox providers use your sending IPs and domain to identify you. When switching ESPs, you change identity!
Because most of the emails they receive are spam, mailbox providers have complex algorithms to quickly identify what mail should be rejected vs. let through—and what’s worthy of reaching the Holy Grail—the inbox! These filters analyze hundreds of different signals over time.
What’s been sent recently from these IPs / domains? Are daily volumes regular? How clean is the data? Are spam traps being hit? How are recipients reacting to this mail—do they open, or ignore it? Do they complain about it?
But when you start using new IPs or a new domain, mailbox providers don’t have enough historical data to assess how reliable you are, so they’re suspicious. They might block or filter your emails to spam and see how recipients react.
You wouldn’t give your house keys to someone you just met—it takes time to build trust, and establishing reputation with mailbox providers works exactly the same way.
Because of all this, planning and patience are key when switching to a new ESP.
First, do your homework:
- Which are the largest mailbox providers on your list?
- What’s your targeted max daily volume?
- How many recipients fall into different engagement buckets (e.g., “Have opened and clicked an email in the past 1, 3-6, 6-12 months, >12 months, never engaged).
- You can create a specific creative to use as a warm-up campaign. Ensure the content is engaging and includes a strong CTA. Ask recipients to add your new sending address to their contact list – if they do, this will be highly regarded by mailbox providers!
- Set up Google Postmaster and Microsoft SNDS
Prepare a plan to progressively migrate your mail from your old to your new ESP.
- It helps if you can use both platforms in parallel while warming up (but it requires a bit of planning to update unsubscribes).
- Plan to transition volume over very progressively to your new ESP, always starting with new to file or most recently engaged cohorts. The key is: don’t rush, start super low, and increase volumes very progressively. And throttle campaigns across a few hours. If you can, get help from the team at your new ESP to create the plan.
Monitor your results with an eagle eye!
- Each day, review your metrics for the previous day (to allow some time for bounce retries and open/click data to come through).
- Always look at the campaign’s results per mailbox provider to see where issues are coming from.
- Monitor your reputation in Google Postmaster and Microsoft SNDS.
- If you start to see bounce rates skyrocketing or open rates plummeting—act! Slow down, and make sure your ESP’s deliverability team opens support tickets with the problematic mailbox provider. Don’t continue increasing daily volumes if you start to see high bounces. Go back to the previous daily volume that was successful, focus on engaged users, open a support ticket and take it gently again from there. Continue sending, though! If you stop sending, you’ll go out of the mailbox providers’ radars and will have to start all over again.
It’s normal to experience some blocking and spam placement during warm-up. Microsoft especially can be incredibly frustrating to crack. Remember, it’s worth taking the time to do this right because once you’ve established that ~30 days of positive sending history and overcame these initial issues, your deliverability will be in a very good place. On the contrary, rushing through the process and starting on a bad foot can be very complicated to turn around.
Let’s Split the Check: Working Together With Your ESP
When migrating to a new ESP, folks first think of the logistics of ‘how’ to migrate: gathering historical data, managing overlapping marketing schedules, and importing data. Arguably the bigger lift, this is important, but there’s so much more going on behind the scenes many marketers are unaware of. What are some of the most important things to know before you get started?
New Sender Pools
Switching to a new ESP is like going on a first date. You want to bring the best version of yourself, and you are probably in for a lot of new conversations like how you gathered your list, what is your engagement management strategy, and your sunsetting practices.
Most new senders will be placed in a ‘new sender’ shared IP pool, meaning your performance while on this ‘new sender’ pool will likely dictate the type of shared pool you’ll end up in the long term.
The criteria and evaluation time frame are different from ESP to ESP, but you need to be on your best sending behavior when first making the switch (and, of course, long term). Now is not the time to run your re-engagement campaigns or try to bring in that purchased list—bad first impression.
Maybe the new ESP’s dating profile leaves you feeling like a ‘bait and switch’ after you realize their compliance teams aren’t actively protecting the shared networks you plan to send from.
While researching and testing ‘inbox placement,’ don’t forget to put emphasis on your research into the compliance mechanisms of the ESP.
Do they have a dedicated team tasked with removing bad actors? Did any of your campaigns get held up in a manual review process to protect both you and the platform?
Are there internal checks and balances providing guidance on how to avoid being shut down by the Compliance team?
Lastly, be sure all your ducks are in a row by storing proper opt-in data to supply to the Compliance team if/when requested.
Warm Up & Ramp Up
Every ESP has some level of support and resources around how to warm up your reputation and/or ramp up your volume at a new ESP. What isn’t so clear is why it’s so important.
Sure, you need to establish your domain reputation in relation to the new IP(s). However, you are also ‘warming up’ your reputation at the new ESP. You are both getting to know each other, and while there’s no list of blind date questions to respond to, this time allows for trust to be built on the type of sender you’ll be on the platform and the type of platform you’ve committed to for your marketing.
Ramping up volume over the first 30 days from a small subset of hyper-engaged contacts to your full list gives both of you plenty of space to build a healthy sending relationship.
In the end, when migrating to a new ESP, don’t make the mistake of expecting the other to “pick up the check.” It’s a shared responsibility to perform well, and when both the marketer and ESP are at their best and trust is built, you can expect a strong performance.
Also, let’s not forget about the other part of the dating equation: your first impressions and long-term relationships with the mailbox providers. It’s a delicate triangle that, when executed properly, leads to deliverability success.
Moving ESPs is Like Moving Houses—Organize the Chaos
Moving is CHAOS
Boxes!! Boxes everywhere!
Don’t do it solo.
Moving ESPs is a LOT like moving houses. As I write this, I am surrounded by boxes in various states of unpacking, desperately wishing I could turn back the clock and follow the same advice I give people when moving ESPs: label and categorize your boxes, have a “first” box, don’t do it alone, and expect the unexpected.
Label and categorize your boxes
At a certain point in moving, there comes the temptation to just start emptying drawers, sweeping arms across surfaces, and labeling the box, “Things I own.” Similarly, when switching ESPs, people commonly just move ALL their data without categorizing it first.
How old is that data? What addresses are your most engaged? Did you bring your unsubscribes over properly? If you just shoved everything into a CSV, you’re going to struggle to unpack that data and get it reorganized.
Take steps at the beginning of your migration to sort your data: I recommend sorting it into “these are the best of the best,” “these are good to keep,” and “these are super old/unknown, and I should probably either not bring them over or should take steps to clean this list first.”
Have a “first” box
The “first” box in moving is the box with all your absolute essentials for living in a new house: your toothbrush, maybe a few changes of clothes, toilet paper, a shower curtain, paper towels, etc. I did not do this and found my hairdryer in a box of random cleaning supplies.
The last thing you want to do is find a super-engaged, interested subscriber list you accidentally completely ignored as a result of your migration. If you sort your data into three sections, your “first” box is now your most engaged subscribers. This list is the one you should use as you warm up your new IP.
Don’t do it alone!
Moving companies can be expensive, but do you know what’s more expensive? A trip to urgent care after you throw your back out trying to lift something you shouldn’t have. Don’t ask me how I know.
Similarly, migrating ESPs is an extremely heavy lift. You have to consider your data, your IP, your domain health, data retention with your old ESP, and what feels like a hundred other things I don’t have space to list here. It’s high-stakes, and it’s important to make sure everything is done correctly. Having a thoughtful migration plan in place—or better yet, a knowledgeable person to guide you—will provide peace of mind AND can help lift those heavy boxes.
Expect the unexpected
No matter how well you’ve planned out your move, something weird is going to happen. Say, as a random example, the oven is mysteriously disconnected, and you aren’t super sure you want to know why. There’s a LOT of stuff to learn, and there’s always a point where you feel extraordinarily overwhelmed, wondering if you made the right call to move, and maybe you should just undo everything.
Moving ESPs is similar: if you’re a good sender, your new ESP is going to do worse at first. That’s normal: your new kitchen isn’t going to perform nearly as well as your old one because you haven’t fully unpacked. You haven’t yet gotten into a rhythm on your new IP address and your new infrastructure, but it’ll come as you move in. Give it some time, do your best to roll with the weird and the unexpected, and know it’ll get better, one email send at a time.
This is challenging
Dangerous to go alone
Take a friend with you 🙂
Focus on Organization, Consistency, & Technical Set Up
My advice to senders going through a transition to a new ESP is simple—keep your contacts properly organized, be consistent with your messaging, and set things up correctly from a technical perspective with the proper authentication.
Keep Your Contacts Organized
This tends to be the biggest issue senders run into. Remember to segment your contacts properly when exporting from your old ESP, so you don’t make any mistakes when importing to your new provider.
Using a new ESP to send to contacts that previously opted out or marked as spam isn’t just rude; it violates federal (CAN-SPAM) and international (CASL, GDPR) law. It also leads to decreased sender reputation and a higher rate of messages being delivered to spam/junk.
And don’t forget to separate those contacts that have hard bounced out, either. Sending to a high number of inactive or bad addresses mirrors the activity of a spammer reusing old or purchased data and may lead to a conversation with your new provider’s Abuse team. Not a good first impression!
Domain reputation has become the norm to make it easy for mailbox providers to identify senders regardless of which server or IP set is being used. So, although there may be slight variances in inbox placement for the first few sends, providers are able to match the “new” data stream back to their historical data on the domain and content rather quickly and normalize results back to the average.
Be consistent with details from your previous provider to account for this – “From:” name and address, overall message design, subject lines, sending frequency. Not recognizing a sender’s content or if messages previously going to spam are now being delivered to the inbox will greatly increase the risk of a contact marking as spam, putting them back in the original predicament of not receiving messages.
On the other end of the spectrum, you should also prepare for the possibility that not all messages will be delivered to the inbox. For those, you would want the recipient to clearly recognize you as the sender and mark as “Not Spam” in their email client, something that won’t happen without being distinct and remaining consistent with who you are and your normal sending.
Luckily your ESP should handle most of this for you, with SPF and DKIM being the general rule. But recent data shows that many mailbox providers want senders to fully authenticate their mail – this requires publishing a DMARC policy for your sending domain and sending mail that complies with that policy with an aligned DKIM signature.
For specific examples of this, Gmail and Yahoo are on record that a sender should have a published DMARC policy to ensure best delivery. Your sending domain may already have one of these, so it’s especially important to make sure mail from your new ESP is fully compliant, or you’ll be explaining some mighty interesting new metrics if your domain has a policy of “quarantine” or “reject.”
Pretty simple, right? The first two items are the easiest to accomplish and, incidentally, are the most important to ensure success at your new provider. Authentication can get a little more complicated and “techy,” so call in the experts at your ESP to point you in the right direction*.
*This may also involve your organization’s IT team and/or domain/DNS hosting provider
Pay Attention to Subtleties When Moving Traffic to a New Platform
A few common scenarios happen when a company is moving traffic from one sending platform to another.
The first is they’re moving an established mail stream to an established and active sending IP.
Second, they’re moving an established mail stream to a new sending IP.
The third is they’re creating a whole new mailstream on a new platform using an established audience.
In all cases, the goal is to train the machine learning filters that this new traffic is wanted by the recipients and should be delivered to the inbox.
The mechanics of reaching that goal are also the same: send traffic to those recipients who are most likely to interact with the mail in ways that tell the machine learning (ML) filters the mail is wanted and should be delivered to the inbox.
Knowing the goal and the mechanics mean we have standard recommendations for warmup, focusing on the most engaged users, and moving traffic over in a controlled fashion.
There are some subtleties folks are often unaware of in terms of warmup and moving traffic to new platforms.
- Volume matters. If the whole list is only a few tens of thousands of recipients, then warmup doesn’t need to take a month. It can be accomplished in a week. Larger mailing lists may take longer, particularly if they’re moving to a dedicated IP.
- Target IP status matters. Moving to a shared or warm IP doesn’t take as long as moving to a cold IP. This makes a lot of sense. The goal here is to teach the ML filters that the new mail is a legitimate source of traffic. We want them to connect the old platform’s reputation with the new one. This takes less time if the filters are not also trying to classify an IP they’ve never seen mail from before.
One thing I don’t think we talk about enough is how drastically some metrics can change between ESPs. Often marketers move from one ESP to another and can see ‘open rates’ decrease by 10, 20 or even higher percentages. This is a shock and regularly gets blamed on the new ESP having bad deliverability. But this is not a deliverability problem nor something with a clear fix.
There are a couple of reasons for metrics altering so significantly. A primary reason is that different ESPs report ‘opens’ differently. Some are now removing image loads they classify as belonging to bots. But there is no universal definition of bots, so each ESP adjusts the data differently. Often the answer to “why are our open rates so different?” is as simple as “our ESPs report different metrics.”
Another reason metrics can be different may be related to how ISPs pre-fetch images. We don’t know all the specifics of how the ISPs decide when to pre-fetch images, but I’ve seen some numbers that suggest the ISPs are selective about when they do this.
My current working theory is that pre-fetching happens consistently for established mailstreams but not as consistently for streams in warmup.
The ISP isn’t sure if this is wanted mail or if it’s legitimate, so it’s not going to spend the cycles processing the message until and unless the user actually opens it. As the stream becomes more established, the ISP pre-fetches images more consistently and metrics can recover.
Overall, senders should be prepared for more changes than they expect when moving ESPs.
6 Tips to Establish Sender Reputation with a New ESP
ESP migrations are said to be a daunting task. You are uprooting your entire email tech stack to another platform and hoping to do better in performance. Migrations are often seen as stressful and challenging.
On top of that, there is a looming task of establishing a good sender reputation with Mailbox providers.
But, it doesn’t have to be that hard if you plan well ahead of time.
Here are some tips that email senders can use to establish their sender reputation with a new ESP:
Migrate your segmentation logic
It’s quite natural for a company to have two ESPs working in tandem with each other before migrating completely. You should migrate your best performing segments to your new ESP to establish a good reputation. There’s no point in sending to unengaged contacts from a new set of IPs.
High engagement equals a healthy sender reputation. Make sure your new domain and IPs are warmed up with the best open rates your emails can receive.
Warming up your IPs
Whether you are using the same domain on the new platform or an entirely new one, your set of delivery IPs will need warming up. Start with a small volume and follow the warmup process by incrementally increasing volumes using your best performing segments.
Warm domain and IPs will allow you to scale faster to your intended daily send volumes. Check out this IP warmup schedule for more details.
Migrate your suppression list
Most senders don’t think about migrating suppression lists, and that leads to all sorts of deliverability trouble. I have a lot of experience with B2C companies not giving suppression lists a single thought. That should be the first thing on your data migration checklist.
It’s important to migrate unsubscribes, bounces, spam complaints, invalid ids from the old platform to the new one.
Retargeting any of these lists from the new domain could prove detrimental to your domain health.
Track your email deliverability
No ESP can ensure 100% inboxing. If they do, that’s not the right ESP to choose.
But a good ESP can provide reliable analytics to track your deliverability and reputation. Make sure you maintain high inboxing right through the warmup process until you start your regular campaigns. If there are hiccups in the process, pause campaigns for a while to figure out the root cause of spam.
Slow and steady wins the race
Treat ESP migrations as if running a marathon and not a 100m race. Plan ahead of time with integrations, domain authentications, list migrations, warmups and scale ups.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
ESP migrations take a longer time than expected and no migration is ever fully smooth. There are bound to be surprises at every corner and planning ahead of time will save you a lot of energy and investment.
Post-migration scale up
When you are done with your warmups and ready to scale up to regular volumes, don’t go crazy with it. You need to scale up, keeping in mind your reputation and IP health. Go steady with your scale up, phasing out the older ESP.
ESP migrations should be done keeping the long-term goals in mind. Have the right reasons to do an RFP and then plan ahead of time. So you need to make sure you will receive the right support, data capabilities, analytics, reporting, and service levels in the longer term that will enable you to reduce any pains going ahead.
Migration is a collaborative effort with your new ESP; hence, all stakeholders need to be on top of managing the project. Lastly, be patient, adaptive and think long term.
Happy Migration! 🙂
Reimagine Your Infrastructure as You Re-establish Your Reputation
While there are many challenges when switching from one ESP to another, it is a great opportunity to reimagine your current sending infrastructure and re-establish your reputation.
Switching ESPs is not something that is done frequently. I often find while the current setup works, it is not optimized for the best performance.
A great example of this is many businesses will use the same sending domain for all mail regardless if it is transactional, promotional, or an entirely different line of business.
While this approach works, it’s not always the best method for building and maintaining reputation.
Ideally, you want to set up new subdomains for each business and a separate subdomain for transactional emails.
Not only does this isolate each subdomain, so an issue with one subdomain doesn’t affect the others. It also helps build a better connection with your contacts if the subdomain matches the business name and stream they expect to see.
When contacts feel they can trust the email they are receiving, they are more likely to engage, which builds and maintains a healthy reputation.
This is why creating new subdomains whenever possible is recommended—and is most opportune when switching ESPs.
Along with setting up and warming new subdomains, depending on your new ESP and sending volumes, you may need to warm new dedicated IPs. This is another chance to reevaluate your sending infrastructure to optimize your performance.
While not always possible, separate your IPs between the different types of mail you’re sending. Having your transactional emails, such as receipts and login information, come from a separate domain and IP from your normal marketing emails helps ensure they will be delivered if there are any issues with your marketing stream.
A common issue we see is when an inbox provider defers emails due to IP reputation issues. If your transactional emails share that IP, password resets and receipts might be delayed.
In some cases, though, the volume you are sending won’t support separate IPs for each mail stream, making the use of subdomains even more important.
Once you figure out the setup of your email infrastructure, the most important step comes next—warming your new domain and IP and establishing your reputation as a good sender. This is the most important part of transitioning to a new ESP, but is often the most rushed part.
When it comes to warming a new domain and IP, the name of the game is slow and steady and as engaged as possible. Since you are trying to build a relationship with each inbox provider from the ground up, first impressions are the most important.
This is why I recommend starting with those contacts who have clicked on an email in the last 15 days and starting off at low volumes (varies by ISP). And refrain from increasing volume too quickly.
I tend not to increase volume by more than 1.6x each day and only if I see positive feedback. If deliverability and engagement are struggling, it is a sign that either the contacts are not the most engaged or there is another issue preventing emails from being delivered to the inbox.
In this case, hold off on increasing volume until you can identify the issue and start to see improvement once a remediation plan is implemented.
While changing ESPs can be an intimidating and daunting task, look at it as a way to audit how you are sending mail. And make any changes you’ve wanted to implement but could not for whatever reason. Since you already have to rebuild your reputation, it is the perfect time to set up new subdomains and segment mail across multiple IPs.
Once you figure out and implement your ideal setup, it all comes down to slowly building out volume and establishing yourself as a reputable sender and maintaining it for the long haul.
Measure KPIs at Top Mailbox Providers to Help Build a Good Reputation
Email reputation is constantly in flux as engagement metrics are being evaluated by the various mailbox providers.
This means you can have a great reputation with one mailbox provider and an awful reputation at another, so measuring your KPIs individually at the top mailboxes will be key to building/maintaining a good reputation.
Reputation is built on a number of different elements within an email message—the links, the domains, the authentication records, the IP addresses, and the content, to name a few things.
It’s important to understand all of these individual elements are important to monitor and manage individually. One bad link to a compromised site can cause havoc with your email program just as much as being listed on a popular RBL or blocklist.
Remember, each time something significant in your email infrastructure changes, like a new ESP, IP or domain you’re mailing from you’ll want to take time to monitor and manage your email’s reputation.
Reputation systems don’t tend to like an IP or domain going from sending zero emails to 10’s of thousands in a short time frame. You’ll likely experience rate limiting, blocking and bounces that will cause additional delivery issues and damage your reputation.
Configurations and testing should be done well in advance of sending large quantities of email, and plan to warm up IPs and domains for 45-60 days to ensure you have enough time to properly warm up your email with the mailbox providers.
Services like Grade My Email can help monitor your domain and authentication to ensure you’re properly configured to be successful with your warm up.
Always start by sending low volumes of high-quality mail. Focus on your most recent and active segments first (last 90 days), and pay attention to domain stacking (ex: yahoo.com, yahoo.ca, and aol.com, or outlook.com, hotmail.com and msn.com) when you’re building your segments for warm up.
Be sure to focus on your best subscribers, those who click regularly and have recently purchased. Some may say include your “new subscribers” at the start as well, but new users tend to have a lot of typos and may have higher complaint numbers you don’t want to interfere with your warmup process. Consider adding them in a couple of weeks after you’ve seen positive results with your ongoing warm up program.
Mailbox provider tips:
- Gmail – Faster growth is possible. Keep a close eye on Google Postmaster Tools and IP/Domain reputation. Start with a few thousand and grow up to 50% a day if metrics look good.
- Yahoo – Slow and steady. Start with a couple hundred emails and gradually add more names each day. Start with less than 500 recipients and add 10-20% growth daily. If you see good results, pause growth on days with poor results before continuing.
- Outlook – Slow and steady. Start with a couple hundred emails and gradually add more names each day. Be prepared to stay at low volumes for some time as blocking/filtering is typically aggressive and harder to recover from if you end up filtered. Start with 100-200 recipients and grow around 10% a day if these are looking positive.
These ideas can be used for multiple different elements of your email program. It’s not just for warming up. You can use these ideas o help rebuild your email reputation if you’ve run into problems in the past with your email program and noticed that delivery is suffering. Pull back to a smaller active period, retarget your subscribers, and grow slowly to ensure your email domain’s health stays positive.