E-mail Marketing: Differentiate Your E-mail Marketing Messages From Spam
Internet service providers (ISPs) and legitimate e-mailers should develop a comprehensive e-mail authentication and reputation strategy, noted several speakers at the E-mail Authentication Implementation Summit held last week in New York.
The need for such a strategy is illustrated by statistics revealed by Craig Spiezle, director of technology care and strategy for Microsoft, in his session”Authentication Identity Crisis.” Spam now represents 75 percent of all e-mail, and 95 percent of all phishing attacks are made from spoofed or forged e-mail addresses, he said.
Tips and trends revealed at the Summit included:
* Marketers should implement some form of e-mail authentication in time for the holiday selling season. E-mail authentication, an opening gambit in the war against spammers, is used to describe any of the processes used, by both ISPs and e-mailers, to verify that an e-mail is authorized to come from the domain or Internet protocol (IP) address from which it was sent.
Erik Johnson, vice president of e-mail infrastructure and secure messaging for Bank of America, noted that with Internet activity bound to increase in the final weeks of the year, merchants should, at the very least, publish sender policy framework records (SPFs) for their domains. Because SPF shows who is allowed to send e-mail from your domain, it prevents a spammer from forging your domain in the e-mail “from” field, protecting you from spoofing attacks.
* Consider your reputation. Spiezle noted that spammers were some of the earliest adopters of authentication, realizing that if they couldn’t fake other companies’ e-mail “from” fields, then they could validate their own domains. “It’s not going to be enough to know who an e-mailer is; ISPs will want to know how trustworthy he is,” said Spiezle.
Reputation can be measured in a variety of ways. Yahoo!, for instance, currently uses open source blacklists that keep track of IP addresses known for producing large amounts of spam. Miles Libbey, anti-spam product manager for Yahoo!, revealed that as authentication becomes more widely adopted, the company will shift from IP-based filters to domain-based filters, as it allows further granularity. Libbey said he wants to track reputation, not just at the IP level, but at the individual sender level. He further noted he’ll dig deeper still, tracking whether individual types of messages are reputable, based on content and URLs contained within.