Victory for Email: AOL Enhanced Whitelist to Stay

Posted by Matt Blumberg 

It’s official. AOL will keep its organic Enhanced Whitelist, clarifying that is not planning on replacing it with Goodmail’s email stamp program. Goodmail will now be ONE way, not the only way, to reach AOL inboxes. Charles Stiles, the postmaster for AOL, confirmed this earlier today on the phone with me, and I announced the news on CNBC’s Power Lunch.

This is a huge win for all companies who strive to do email the right way, earning the solid reputations that drive deliverability and response rates. Paying for inbox reach is akin to only having paid search engine marketing – it works for some business models, not others; some consumers like paid ads, some don’t. By having multiple ways to vet email inbox delivery, consumers keep a level of control over the process and marketers can decide which delivery solutions they do and don’t need.

When the news broke last week that the enhanced whitelist was going away, we took a pretty vocal stance that it was a bad idea for the email industry, our clients and consumers. It was not so much Goodmail that we were against (though we do not think that email stamps are the right solution to spam for many reasons), but the notion that the only way to gain inbox assurance was by buying it. We’re happy to see that AOL agrees with that.

So, email marketers and publishers, we encourage you to keep the important thing in mind: your email reputation remains critical in getting delivered at AOL and every other ISP. Do what you can to make sure your reputation is solid, and your email program will benefit with high delivery and response rates.

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About Matt Blumberg

Matt Blumberg founded Return Path in 1999 because he believed the world needed email to work better. Matt is passionate about enhancing the online relationship between email subscribers and marketers so that both sides of the equation benefit. It is with great pride that he has watched this initial creation grow to a company of more than 400 employees with the market leading brand, innovative products, and the email industry’s most renowned experts. Before Return Path, Matt ran marketing, product management, and the internet group for MovieFone, Inc. (later acquired by AOL). Prior to that he served as an associate with private equity firm General Atlantic Partners and was a consultant with Mercer Management Consulting. He holds a B.A. from Princeton University. You can learn much more about Matt by reading his email marketing and entrepreneurship blog Only Once – one of the first CEO blogs on the Internet. Last year he wrote a book, Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business.

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