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BizReport : Email Marketing : February 05, 2008

AOTA: Email authentication has reached tipping point

According to a recent report from the Authentication and Online Trust Association (AOTA) more than half of email marketers are using authentication or certification programs to ensure that consumers know the messages are real. Chances are as an email marketer you have at least heard of authenticating your mail messages, but are you actually engaged in authentication? If not, why?

by Kristina Knight

Authentication is a simple way for marketers to ensure that messages are marked as legitimate, which means there is less chance that consumers will report the message as junk and more of a chance that consumers will actually read and click through the message.

"[We are] working to advance best practices to provide brand protection to consumers and to companies," said Craig Speizle, Chairman of AOTA and Director of Internet Security & Privacy for Microsoft. "Left unchecked you can have the best creative and the best list management but if consumers lose trust in email as a whole it's all for naught."

By authenticating the domain, email marketers can prevent email spoofs from reaching consumers. Spoofing is gaining ground on tradition spam messages and can be more dangerous to users. According to an AOTA test in November 85% of emails purportedly from "Bank of America" were actually spoofed; these emails were sent to steal identities or to gain consumers' banking information.

One such authentication/certification service is from GoodMail. The platform accredits legitimate marketers and attaches an icon to their outgoing messages. ISPs see this icon, mark it as legitimate and allow it to land in user inboxes. To become accredited, mailers in GoodMail must have low complaint rates and must adhere to email best practices. According to David Atlas, senior vice-president of sales and marketing for GoodMail, users have seen an increase of 15% - 30% in conversions after signing on with the program.

Tags: email authentication, email marketing

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