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Email Sending, Receiving and Deliverability Standards

Email Sending, Receiving and Deliverability Standards

At Summit II, five new industry standards were presented for discussion and adoption. These standards received unanimous support from those in attendance, with many attendees who had been involved in Summit I indicating that they had already adopted these standards. ISIPP recommends that all email receiving and sending organizations adopt these standards, and is making available an ISIPP standards web icon for display on the websites of those who adhere to these standards.

Please note that the below represents a quick overview of the standards, and that full discussion and explanation of the standards can be found at the relavent links. The standards are:

I. Bounce Handling:

1. Bounce Handling Policy: senders should mark an address as "dead", meaning the sender should remove the address from the delivery list and not attempt to deliver to the address until the sender has reason to believe that delivery rejection would not occur, if the following two conditions are both met:

A. Three (3) consecutive delivery rejections have occurred; AND

B. The time between the most recent consecutive delivery rejection and the initial consecutive delivery rejection is greater than fifteen days.

A sender should have the capability to manage delivery rejections differently between ISPs, whether based on previous agreements or explicit requests from these ISPs.

2. Reply Coding Standards: receiving systems should comply with RFC and DSN codes. RFC 821, DSN or RFC 1894 are relevant standards. For example, ISPs can use RFC 550 5.7.1 "Go Away" to indicate that the ISP is intentionally rejecting the delivery of an email that is thought to be in violation of the list hygiene policies indicated herein.

Link to white paper
Link to PowerPoint presentation

II. Publication of Email Permissions Policies for Sending and Receiving of Email

Both receivers (ISPs and spam filtering companies) and senders (such as email service providers, email campaign provders, and email service bureaus) should publish clear, publicly accessible requirement as to what they require for receipt and transmission of email, and sending of email, respectively. These requirements should be applied consistently.

Receivers

1. Establish, implement, and post requirements for acceptance and delivery of e-mail (including first line contact information for delivery issue reporting) clearly on website, and apply consistently.

2. Establish, implement and publish uniform processes for complaint feedback loop clearly on website and apply consistently.

Senders

1. Establish, implement, and post a policy prohibiting the sending of unsolicited commercial e-mail (spam) clearly on website and enforce the policy consistently.

2. Implement automated system to process complaints, requests to unsubscribe, and delivery failure notifications. Additionally, honor all requests from recipients to modify permission preferences.

Link to Publication of Email Permissions Policies for Sending and Receiving Email PowerPoint presentation

III. Unsubscribe Request Handling

1. List managers should endeavor to provide an unsubscribe process which requires the fewest number of "clicks" possible. A "1-click" unsubscribe process is the ideal; it is understood that in some minority of instances, a 2-click process may be necessary for security reasons. Subscribers should not have to go through the process of having to provide a password or to surmount other obstacles to removing themselves from mailings they no longer wish to receive.

2. An unsubscribe request should result in the subscriber being immediately removed from the mailing list, and subscribers should not be required to continue to receive, and should not continue to receive, certain types of mailings from the sending site once they have submitted their unsubscribe request. An exception to the latter is understood for free sites which as part of their terms and conditions require users to receive promotional mailings in exchange for free services.

3. If the ongoing receipt of certain types of email is required in order for a user to participate and continue to participate in a program, this should be made very clear and explicit during the sign-up process, and before the user concludes the sign-up process.

IV. Multiple Addresses in Mailing List Mail

All mailing list mail should be sent "one address per piece", meaning that each piece should be addressed only to the primary recipient, and should not be cc:ed or bcc:ed to additional addresses. If there are 100 users on the list, 100 individual pieces of email should be sent.

V. Communication Between Senders and Receivers (EDDB)

Senders and receivers should participate in an inter-industry communications facilitation program to help ensure that they can communicate effectively and in a timely manner when an email delivery problem occurs. This can be ISIPP's Email Deliverability Database, or another such program.

ISIPP has developed the Email Deliverability Database ("EDDB") in order to support this standard. The objective of EDDB is to facilitate communications between sending and receiving systems regarding email transmission. This helps to ensure that users get the email they want, that legitimate email gets delivered, that spam does not get through, and that delivery issues are resolved quickly.

EDDB allows participants to have immediate access to contact information for organizations in the sending and receiving industries. Access is set up such that one can only access information about one's analog at the other organization. So, for example, someone at a help desk at a sending organization can contact someone at the abuse desk at a receiving site, or vice versa, while a manager at either organization would be able to access contact information for both management and the desk at the other organization, and the CEO of one organization would have access to the contact information for everyone from the CEO on down at the other organization.

A flash overview of how EDDB works is available here, and sign-up information is available here


NOTE: Organizations which comply with these five standards may display the "ISIPP STANDARDS COMPLIANT" web icon which is available here. There is no charge to use this icon.

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