I’m Dreaming of a Whitelist this Christmas

Posted by Nicole Niemiec on

It’s the most chaotic time of the year, and not just in malls and kitchens. Email marketers have spent months ramping up for the holiday season, and the flood gates have yet to open. It’s the time of year that un-engaged subscribers open emails, and one-time buyers triple their orders. It’s your chance, as the sender, to turn holiday shoppers into regular customers.

But how will you do that if your message never makes it to the inbox? Marketers worldwide are vying for the inbox now more than any other time in the year. Right, right, you’re a good sender. But you’re in a sea of good senders—and countless spammers—and mailbox providers are buckling down to filter up. We know providers are strict on what they allow through the gateway, let alone how much. With the influx of holiday mail, those standards and thresholds get even tighter, making it more likely for senders to get lost in the crowd. Return Path can help you stand out.

Return Path’s certified whitelist gives eligible IP addresses preferential treatment at over 2.5 billion inboxes around the world, making inbox placement for certified mail a priority over all others. Certification allows mail to be delivered with little to no throttling limits (great for overcoming Comcast’s conservative throttling rules), deliver mail at faster speeds, and auto-enable images and links. This not only benefits you as the sender, but also the user’s experience with your email.

With 21% of commercial emails getting filtered to the spam folder or blocked altogether, marketers risk a decrease in opens and clicks at major mailbox providers that Return Path Certification covers. Providers like Outlook, Yahoo, and AOL (to name a few) rely on the certification program to lighten their load when weeding out legitimate mail from spam, especially during high-traffic holidays.

Even good senders can be flagged by spam filters based on activity seen within their database during time of deployment. For instance, Cloudmark (one of the many networks utilizing the certified whitelist) determines the spam status of email in real-timemeaning if they tag the content of a true spammer that resembles your mail, your content runs the risk for spammy Cloudmark tags as well. Being a Certified sender helps validate the legitimacy of your content, despite the real-time feedback within spam networks. 

Eligible senders must keep a clean list, set clear customer expectations, and send steady volume day-over-day. In other words, subscriber quality is key to being an eligible sender. But with all good things come high standards. Certified senders must use dedicated IP addresses, meaning no other senders can deploy mail from your IP address. There must be 90 days of consistent volume on the IP address, which in turn provides sufficient reputation data. And finally, the IP address cannot send content for third parties and/or corporate entities. Once Certified, senders must maintain good sending practices by keeping complaints low, meeting minimum volume requirements, and staying clear of spam trap networks in order to remain compliant.

Ready to see ROI this holiday season? Apply for Certification today!


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About Nicole Niemiec

Nicole Niemiec is an Technical Account Manager at Return Path. She enjoys sorting through deliverability data and working through email marketers' top challenges. On the weekends you'll find Nicole soaking up every ounce of sunshine at the beach or on the city streets. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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