Reputation front line for filtering, content last defense: DM Days’ speaker

NEW YORK — Reputation has taken over content as the
most important test for e-mail delivery, according to a session at
yesterday’s DM Days Conference and Expo in New York.

In his talk,
“What is your e-mail reputation?,” Matt Blumberg, chairman/CEO of
Return Path, discussed the importance e-mail reputation has assumed for
Internet service providers when deciding whether to let an e-mail get
into a consumer’s inbox. A few years ago content was king, with about
80 percent of filtering controlled by what was in the e-mail. Today 77
percent of filtering is driven by sender reputation, 6 percent by
domain reputation and only 17 percent by content.

“Reputation is
used as the front line of filtering and content is used as a last
defense,” Mr. Blumberg said. “Complaints put the consumer in charge of
your deliverability and they are the main driver of whether or not you
make it into the inbox.”

Five key drivers that ISPs look for when
measuring reputation are consumer complaints, unknown users, sending to
spam-trap addresses, sending infrastructure and sending stability.

This doesn’t imply a red light for marketers. It just means that they need to be informed of ISP expectations.

need to start learning the speed limit and recognize that that is how
the receivers of the world make their decisions,” Mr. Blumberg said.

Some ways to build a good reputation are to sign up for free feedback loops offered by many ISPs.

addition, marketers should do the basic math. Reducing complaints is
really a function of meeting subscriber expectations. It’s about how
you build relationships with the consumers. It’s also about sending
welcome messages that inform a consumer of what to expect from your
communications with them, like how often you send e-mail and what
content you will include.

It is key to always keep a clean list
and respect unsubscribe requests, as well as to measure complaints the
way any other metric is measured. One Return Path client upped its
delivery rate by identifying that a number of people over age 40 were
marking their e-mail as spam.

The lesson learned? E-mail should be relevant to consumers, and house lists should be cleaned on a regular basis.

you send what you say you are going to send and you keep a clean list
by removing consistent non-clickers, then you will have a higher
delivery rate,” Mr. Blumberg said.