Mirror, mirror, on the wall….

Ah, the joys of reputation systems!

Businesses that have relied for years on staying under the radar are quite visible these days. Those masses of marginal email that flow in, hiding behind the worse streams that draw off human attention? We can see you now. Hi!

I believe that the general receiver focus is shifting to eliminating the above class of mail. It costs a lot of money to transport, filter and store it, and most of that cost is borne by the receivers. My speculation is that across the board, at all major ISPs, the historical tolerance for marginal mail will rapidly evaporate. ISPs are tightening things down. Anti-spam vendors are stepping up and offering new products that I hope will prove very effective. I expect this trend to accelerate dramatically.

Engagement and relevance will be increasingly critical in getting mail delivered – not just to the inbox, but at all. That translates not just to well thought-out marketing and excellent targeting, but also to list hygiene and client vetting. The particulars of reputation systems do vary from ISP to ISP but fundamentally, the successful mailers in the long term will be the ones who do the most thorough and best due diligence before letting (desired, relevant, and targeted to an engaged audience) email leave their network. This isn’t news, really. It has always been true, but it now more crucial than ever. I was telling people to Get Ready, that Reputation Was Coming and would change everything…at least 2 years before it started to roll out. It’s gathering momentum rapidly now. The paradigm is changing very quickly, and those who don’t change with it will be left behind.

It’s evolution in action. Darwin would have been thrilled.

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