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Email Delivery Imperatives - ReturnPath Guide

Posted on 2.21.2010

Email deliverability company Return Path released a guide outlining some best practices for email senders. According to the Email Delivery Imperatives, email senders should be prepared to implement email authentication (specifically DKIM), apply for email whitelists and focus on developer user engagement metrics by ISP.

“Almost 95% of email messages at one point in 2009 were classified as spam, according to a recent study,” said George Bilbrey, President, Return Path. “As ISPs battle the onslaught of spam, the risks increase that legitimate senders’ will find their emails mislabeled as spam or junk and not reach consumers’ inboxes. After talking with ISPs about trends for 2010, we identified three key strategies senders should focus on to help ISPs properly identify their mail and ensure delivery to the inbox.”

Let’s review Return Path’s recommendations:

Implement email authentication – DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is a security standard that allows ISPs to verify the IP address that sent an email. Google, AOL, and Yahoo! currently use DKIM as one email verification measure but Yahoo! also requires DKIM for access to their feedback loop.

Apply for email whitelists – Whitelists allow ISPs to identify legitimate emails and give increased functionality to trusted senders. For example, Return Path’s Certification Program automatically enables links and images for emails sent to Hotmail.

Prepare for an increased focus on engagement metrics – ISPs are increasingly developing engagement metrics to find legitimate emails. For example, Yahoo! is tracking the time an email stays in users inboxes before it is deleted. ISPs will develop a variety of engagement metrics in 2010 to identify legitimate email, including tracking messages that users find in their junk or spam folders and mark as “not spam.”

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