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Maximizing Deliverability

GMail now displaying images in messages from your contacts

Repost from GMail Blog:

GMail now displaying images in messages from your contacts
Monday, July 20, 2009 5:58 PM
Posted by David de Kloet, Software Engineer

When an email references external images, Gmail usually doesn't display them automatically. Instead we show placeholders and present you with the option to "Display images below" or "Always display images from" that sender.

We do this to help protect your privacy from spammers, who can use images and links to verify that your email address is real.

But often the messages you get with images are from friends or family and there's no reason to worry about your privacy — you just want to see the photo of your newborn niece or the invitation design they're sending you. So, in these cases, we've decided to start displaying images by default. Now, whenever someone you've emailed at least twice sends you a message containing images, you'll see them right away. Note that we picked this threshold of two messages to start with, but we may tweak it if it doesn't seem right going forward. And we only display images by default for authenticated messages (using SPF or DKIM). Gmail and other big mail providers usually authenticate their mail, but other services might not, so it's possible you'll get an email from one of your contacts where images aren't displayed by default.

If you prefer to go back to the way things were, you can choose not to display images from certain senders or from anyone. To disable images from an individual sender, click "Don't display from now on" under the "Show details" link of an email from them with images. To disable images from everybody, select "Ask before displaying external content" under "External content" on the general Settings tab.

Posted by: Spencer Kollas at 9:17 AM
Categories: deliverabilty, delivery, gmail, rendering, spam, spammers

News from Gmail on Authentication

Here's the latest news on Gmail authentication, straight from the source....

New in Labs: The super-trustworthy, anti-phishing key
Monday, July 13, 2009 9:43 AM
Posted by Brad Taylor, Gmail Spam Czar

We're always looking for new ways to protect Gmail inboxes from spam and phishing. Last year, we started taking extra steps to protect you from fake eBay and PayPal emails, requiring that any email claiming to come from one of eBay's or PayPal's domains actually comes from them. We do that by looking at the "From" header, and when it says "ebay.com" for example, it means it really did come from ebay.com. Anything else is rejected; it won't even appear in your spam folder because Gmail won't accept it.

Now, unless you are a regular reader of this blog with a photographic memory, you may not be aware of this extra protection. So, we thought we'd add a little something to remind you. Turn on "Authentication icon for verified senders" from the Labs tab under Settings, and you'll see a key icon next to verified emails that are super-trustworthy.

"Super-trustworthy" is a technical term I just invented that means: (1) the sender, usually a financial institution, is a target of phishers, (2) all of the sender's email is authenticated with DKIM, and (3) Gmail rejects any fake messages that claim to come from this sender, but actually don't.

It's a bit of work for senders to make their email super-trustworthy, which is why this feature is limited to just eBay and PayPal right now. We hope to add more senders in the future, and when we do, you'll know because you'll see the super-trustworthy key icon magically appear by those senders too. Give it a whirl and let us know what you think.

http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/new-in-labs-super-trustworthy-anti.html

Posted by: Spencer Kollas at 9:59 AM
Categories: authentication, deliverabilty, delivery, gmail

Alltel.com no longer

Just to make sure all are aware that according to the press release, as of May 15 alltel.com will no longer accept email deliveries. You can find the whole announcement at http://ow.ly/8xAc.

Posted by: Spencer Kollas at 11:37 AM
Categories: alltel, delivery

New Article from iMedia Connection

Check out my latest article in iMedia Connection about delivery numbers and how to look at them:

http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/22825.asp

Posted by: Spencer Kollas at 9:36 AM
Categories: deliverability, delivery, delivery rates, email metrics, imedia connection

Old Roadrunner FBL ending on 4/30

Just a reminder as of April 30, 2009, the old RoadRunner feedback loop will cease to exist. To prevent any lapse in Feedback Reports please ensure you visit http://feedback.postmaster.rr.com and follow the instructions there for signing up.

Note: if you are a Delivery Services customer feel free to reach out to the Delivery Services team for assistance.

Here is a snippet from the RR message that was sent out.

Hello.

We are presently transitioning our feedback loop from the home-grown
legacy system we've had for a couple of years to a shiny new one
hosted by Return Path.

The legacy FBL will expire on April 30, 2009, and many of you have not
yet registered your outbound MTAs in our new one.


http://feedback.postmaster.rr.com/

Posted by: Spencer Kollas at 11:30 AM
Categories: Roadrunner, deliverabilty, delivery, feedback loops, services

Compare Campaigns in Mailbox Monitor

Here is an announcement from our partner Return Path as it relates to StrongView's StrongDelivery Tools.

Dear Client,

We are pleased to announce that we have added a new feature to Mailbox Monitor to allow you to compare campaigns to see deliverability results at the region, ISP and individual seed level across all of the campaigns to easily find the differences in deliverability and isolate problems.

You can select new campaigns to compare on the first page of Mailbox Monitor by selecting the checkboxes to the left of the campaign and clicking the button “Compare Checked” at the bottom of the page. You can compare 2-3 campaigns, but you must have them all on the same page to be able to check the boxes.

Once the campaigns have been selected you’ll be taken to the "Compare Campaigns" page where you’ll be able to see the differences across all of the campaigns. Here, you can see all of the high level data (date seen, domain sent from, total deliverability results) all the way down to each individual seed across all of the campaigns to help you diagnose and troubleshoot problems within your campaigns.

We hope you are pleased with this enhancement. We are continually looking for ways to improve our tools and respond to client requests. As always, if you have any questions, please contact your Account Manager directly.

Best,
Return Path

Posted by: Spencer Kollas at 11:45 AM
Categories: Mailbox Monitor, StrongDelivery Tools, deliverability tools

Roadrunner FBL changing

I recieved an email today from Roadrunner's security group notifying senders that their feedback loop will be changing.

The key dates for this effort are as follows:

* August 28, 2008, 5PM US/EDT - The existing Road Runner FBL will
be frozen, and no new enrollments or additions to or modifcations
of existing enrollments will be accepted after that time. Reports
will continue to be sent to enrolled parties after that date.

* November 17, 2008 (tentative) - The new Feedback Loop goes live,
and everyone wishing to be part of our feedback loop will have to
re-enroll beginning on that date.

* December 31, 2008 (tentative) - The old Feedback Loop ceases to exist.

Much more information about this migration is available here:

http://postmaster.rr.com/FBL.html

Posted by: Spencer Kollas at 9:18 AM
Categories: Roadrunner, delivery, feedback loops

Return Path Acquires Habeas

Today it was announced that Return Path has purchased Habeas. While terms of the deal were not disclosed in the announcement, it was stated that both SenderScore Certified and the Habeas Safelist will continue to run as two separate whitelists. Over the last couple of months, there have been a number of rumors as to what would happen to Habeas, as it was widely known that they were up for sale. I believe this new deal makes a lot of sense for Return Path, as they will not only take over Habeas’ customer list, but I imagine that they paid a “fair” price for the company.

So what happens to those Habeas customers that were using their delivery tools such as their seedlist, message preview or even delivery support? Those customers will be migrated over to the Return Path tools and services in the next couple of months so that there will only be one platform supported by the company.

What does this mean for the industry? Well, the first thought is that it reduces the number of well-established accreditation companies from three to two, with only Return Path and GoodMail still in the mix. While there are some other smaller options out there, these two seem to be the most widely used and well known by those that are not just in the deliverability space, but email as a whole. With regards to delivery tools, there are still other companies such as Pivotal Veracity as well. Of course, the next question most people will ask, will the reduction in options increase the prices for what is left, that is something we will have to wait and see on. For now, I think this acquisition makes a lot of sense for Return Path, and I have all the faith in them that they will make a smooth transition for the current customers of Habeas.

Let me know what you think—Do you agree or think I have lost my mind on this—please make sure to add your comments.

Posted by: Spencer Kollas at 8:50 AM
Categories: Return Path, deliverability, delivery

An ESP Dirty Secert--Really?

I recently read a blog posting from another person in the industry that stated that all ESPs have a dirty little secret. Basically what this person said was that all ESPs have some clients that they are not proud of and should fire but keep them around simply because they don’t want to lose a big pay check. I personally have so many issues with this way of thinking, I am not sure where to begin. I think first I will start with the fact that he claims all ESPs do this—does this person have a full list of every single client each ESP has? Can he be sure that these clients are paying these ESPs that much money that it is worth their time?

I think the other part of this argument that I don’t agree with is that this email professional doesn’t take into account a number of different factors. Does this person know for sure that these clients haven’t asked for help and the ESPs are simply trying to work with them improve their practices. Sure some customers will say anything in order to work with some of the ESPs—like, “just tell us what to do and we will do it, we really want to improve our delivery rates.” That might say this just to get in the door, or they really believe it at the time and then they realize what is being asked of them and they are unwilling to do make those changes. If that is the case the sender might just play the game of going to one ESP and then move on to the next ESP once their current one gets wind of everything they are doing.

But how is that a dirty little secret? I know most of my friends in the industry talk about these types of clients on a regular basis and we all understand that they are out there. Sure as a deliverability professional it is my job to try to help any sender improve their delivery if they are willing to listen but some of them just wont so we continue to try to work with them, if they do anything against company policy then we will all let them go as a client to protect the entire business.

I would love to hear any other thoughts on this subject—let me know if you think I am crazy or not on this one.

Posted by: Spencer Kollas at 8:50 AM
Categories: deliverability, delivery, delivery rates

FTC comes out with updates to CAN-SPAM

This is the message sent out to our StrongView customers. As we get more information and understanding I will update this blog

StrongView Customers,

WHAT'S HAPPENING
Today, the FTC announced four new rule provisions under the CAN-SPAM Act. These new provisions bring some much needed clarification to several key definitions.

In summary, the new rule provisions address four topics:

Prohibition of an Opt-out Fee – This provision prohibits the imposition of any fee, any requirement to provide personally identifying information (beyond one’s email address), or any other obligation as a condition for accepting or honoring a recipient’s opt-out request.

Definition of "Sender" – CAN-SPAM now defines "sender" as the entity identified in the "from" line. The definition of “sender” was modified to make it easier to determine which of multiple parties advertising in a single email message is responsible for complying with the Act’s opt-out requirements.

Definition of “Valid Physical Postal Address” - A “sender” of commercial email can now include an accurately registered post office box or private mailbox established under United States Postal Service regulations to satisfy the Act’s requirement that a commercial email display a “valid physical postal address."

Definition of "Person" – Up until now, CAN-SPAM had no definition for "person," which created some confusion in regards to whom the act applied. With this new provision, "person" has been defined as an individual, group, unincorporated association, limited or general partnership, corporation, or other business entity. Note that non-profits are not exempt from CAN-SPAM.

HOW THIS MAY IMPACT YOU
These new rule provisions will not likely affect your day-to-day email operations, as these updates are more applicable to companies not currently following the email best practices that StrongView promotes to all of its customers. In fact, the best practices we recommend go far above and beyond current CAN-SPAM provisions.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
If you think you might not be in compliance, you can review the FTC press release or the official May 12 Federal Register Notice for more information on the updated provisions.

Posted by: Spencer Kollas at 8:22 PM
Categories: FTC, delivery, spam, CAN-SPAM