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© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 1 Is Email Dead? Communicating in the era of spam control Bill Pease Chief Technology Officer GetActive Software NTEN, Washington DC October 14, 2004
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 2 Overview of Session Email Publisher Perspective – Bill Pease, CTO, GetActive Impact of spam on non-profit communication efforts Social, legal, technical trends in spam control Best practice advice ISP Perspective – Charles Stiles, Postmaster, America Online
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 3 Email at risk as a means of communication Spam flood 65% of all email traffic in 2004 will be spam or virus Increasing forgery, fraud and malware exploits make email untrusted Triggers spam control measures Control “at any cost” results in considerable “collateral damage” Legitimate messaging is blocked or routed into oblivion
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 4 Non-delivery is a growing problem Return Path March 2004 Blocking and Filtering Report
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 5 Impact on non-profits Messages don’t get through Slower list growth Greater risk of brand damage Stigmatized as a spammer Spoofed by a phisher
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 6 Social trends in spam control Throw the baby out with the bathwater Benefit of blocking offensive spam outweighs risk of non-delivery of legitimate email Guilty until proven innocent No special exemptions for messaging to members, for political or charitable appeals, etc. Vigilantism Private action required to stop spam; government action only makes it worse
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 7 Legal trends in spam control CAN-SPAM of 2003 Worsened spam problem Opt-out, not opt-in Legalized unsolicited commercial messaging Weak requirements No false headers/subjects No email harvesting Working opt-out Study do-not-email registry Pre-empted stricter state laws
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 8 Technical trends in spam control Client-side delivery barriers to protect the inbox Multiple, error-prone systems Accessing each inbox becomes a job Distributed spam id systems More complaints -> more barriers Demand for sender authentication
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 9 Your deliverability depends on List building Subscription management Content Email vendor performance Spam complaint management
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 10 Value of permission To establish & maintain a trust relationship with supporters To improve response rates To defend the legitimacy of your messaging if challenged by ISP blocking, blacklisting, etc.
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 11 Getting it and losing it Request explicit permission whenever you collect email addresses Link brand or publication name to every opt-in request Document all opt-ins – especially those collected offline Respect permission Let subscribers control their communication preferences Honor opt-out
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 12 List-building methods to avoid Questionable Opt-in without positive action Pre-checked opt-in Hidden opt-in Transactional opt-in Auto-adding to other lists – especially independent orgs Transferred opt-in List shares or buys Co-registration Indefensible Opt-out Email harvesting From web pages or directories E-pending To voter registration lists To any list source without permission >80% of recipients do not think a mailer who has their postal address on file "has the right to send me email" http://www.proclickexchange.com/news/easyway.php
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 13 Barriers to list growth: Challenge-response Assumes sender is suspect unless listed in recipient's address book Imposes additional burden on publishers to “prove” their legitimacy prior to accessing inbox
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 14 Barriers to list growth: Getting into the address book Serves as a local whitelist If you’re on it, email is delivered If you’re not, email will be blocked, routed or mangled Use a persistent from: address Provide instructions regularly
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 15 Barriers to list growth: Email address churn Basic list hygiene Quality control email capture Easy subscription management Self-serve profile maintenance No complicated log-in Personalized links Address correction services
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 16 Don’t make subscription management difficult
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 17 Make it the starting point for relationship management
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 18 Does content matter? Generally, no Market-leading spam systems rely on multiple filters Non-profit content itself rarely exceeds triggers But “false positives” do occur Error-prone, rule-based systems exist among your audience
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 19 Understanding filters Few filter by content alone Market-leaders like Spam Assassin authenticate senders check blocklists & whitelists check distributed spam id systems Spam complaints, list building and mailing practices drive delivery barriers
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 20 Email vendor mailing practices GOOD Whitelisted Verifiable sender Throttle by ISP Compliance with bounce mngmt standards Feedback loops & Good ISP relationship mngmt BAD Blacklisted Incorrect DNS High send rates High proportion hard bounce or invalid emails No respect for ISP customers & no relationship mngmt
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 21 Abuse complaint management Operational removal/unsubscribe Feedback loops to automate complaint processing Ongoing evaluation of list building practices Strategic use of subscribers to communicate with ISPs Maintain a good reputation
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 22 What to expect (1) Accountability For your list building & messaging practices Reputation based on measurable performance Vulnerability Threat to brand from being tarred a spammer Identity theft by a spoofer or phisher Increasing costs To acquire permission-based names To respond to spam controls To obtain third-party certification
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 23 What to expect (2) List growth challenges Less e-pending & co-registration Resistance to list sharing Decline in email viral marketing yields New communication channels Alternatives to email RSS syndication
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 24 Links - General Best Spam resources http://spamnews.com/blog/spamNEWS/index.html http://www.paulgraham.com/antispam.html http://spam.abuse.net Spam legislation & regulation http://www.spamlaws.com/us.html http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/spam/index.html Anti-Spam tools in use http://spamotomy.com/ http://www.nwfusion.com/reviews/2003/0915spam.html http://www.consumerreports.org/main/detailv2.jsp?CONTENT%3C%3Ecn t_id=322713&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=162693&bmUID=10577091434 69 Anti-Spam activism http://spamlinks.port5.com/spamlinks.htm http://www.cauce.org/ http://www.spamhaus.org/ http://www.mail-abuse.org/
© 2004. GetActive Software. All rights reserved 10/1/2004 page 25 Links - Practical Check your spam status http://www.senderbase.org/search http://www.spamvertized.org/ Avoiding spam filters http://ezine-tips.com/articles/management/20020812.shtml http://www.newsletterindustry.com/newsletterindustry-57- 20021218AvoidingtheSpamTrap.html http://www.emailsherpa.com/barrier.cfm?currentID=2125 http://www.emailsherpa.com/barrier.cfm?currentID=80 Challenge-response http://blogs.onenw.org/jon/archives/000450.html http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1204684,00.asp http://www.templetons.com/brad/spam/challengeresponse.html http://kmself.home.netcom.com/Rants/challenge-response.html
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