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Many are asking me what do I think about – and indeed, how do I feel about – this morning’s announcement that ReturnPath is acquiring Habeas, the company which I helped to found. And, was I surprised?

First, to answer the last: no, I wasn’t surprised. Of course, there was plenty of industry speculation, and the handwriting was on the wall. But more fundamentally, I wasn’t surprised because my colleague Matt Blumberg, CEO of ReturnPath, had the grace and class to set up a meeting with me beforehand, to tell me personally.

And yes, that’s right, I consider Matt a colleague, despite the fact that we run competing houses. Which brings me to how I feel about ReturnPath’s acquisition of Habeas.

I’m very pleased.

Because, you see, I know that Matt runs a tight ship, steering a straight course. They are up front, and honest. They won’t sell their soul to make a buck – they won’t take on dirty email senders – and they have the cajones and fortitude to hold to the fire the feet of any customer who tries to put one over on them.

Just like us.

In short, while yes, they are a competitor, they are a worthy competitor. Like us, they believe in building a business and a brand based on a foundation of ethical business practices and principled goals.

I’ve been around this industry since before it was an industry. I know who all the players are, and I know most of those players personally. I know which companies are Doing the Right Thing, which ones are pretending to do the right thing, and which ones wouldn’t know the right thing if it slapped them in the face.

ReturnPath is very much a Doing the Right Thing company.

The Habeas which ReturnPath has just acquired is not the Habeas which I founded, not the Habeas of which I was CEO. They had evolved into something that bore the same name – had the same DNA – but had grown into something unrecognizable, and at times something that not even this mother could love.

By bringing Habeas into the house of Blumberg, I believe that the good that Habeas had to offer will have the opportunity to be cultivated and embraced, with the less appealing attributes that it had developed being left behind with the paperwork.

Yes, it’s true that email senders now have only two full-service email accreditation houses from which to choose – ourselves and ReturnPath – however not only does that simplify the choice, but it allows them to truly choose based on which is the best fit, as with either they can be assured that they will get enhanced email deliverability, supported by a solid company with a stand-up reputation.


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