You’ve likely heard that Validity is going to start charging for access to the Validity Universal FBL (Feedback Loop), and you’re probably wondering just how much it’s going to cost you. (“Universal” because they have made it the single point of access to the FBLs of many ISPs.) Of course, many, many businesses subscribe to Validity’s Universal FBL, which has always been free. In fact, ever since feedback loops (FBLs) were first invented, and well before they started being curated by Validity, they have been free. Until now.

The Letter from Validity that Started it All

Here is the letter that went out from Validity several days ago, on August 22, 2023.

“Dear Valued Subscriber,

We are thrilled to announce some exciting changes coming in September to our Feedback Loop service!

What’s Changing:

Service Model Enhancement: Moving forward you will only have access to aggregated data insights within the application. To continue receiving spam complaints (ARF reports) you will need to upgrade your package. <--- Translation: "you will need to start paying"

Login Method Update: We are introducing a new, more secure login method. Email authentication will change from a secure email link to a username and password method supported by AuthO.

You will receive an additional reminder one week before the launch with additional information to ensure that you are well-prepared for the transition and have all the information you need to securely log in to your account.

Thank you for your continued support.

Best regards,

Universal Feedback Loop team”

Our CEO reached out to our Validity contacts to get some clarity around this, and here is what they said (shared with permission):

Most of you have been around long enough to know that we have been offering Feedback Loop Service (FBL) for quite some time and always at no cost. And if it was not clear in our communication, we will still be offering an aggregated FBL service for free. As the service has grown over these years, so have our operating costs. We have completely underwritten this service since 2009 – as we believe feedback reports are the keystone of good deliverability practices. We understand not everyone wants the ARF reports and have made the business decision to add a service fee to cover our costs of operating the platform. The service fees in part cover transport of the individual ARF reports.

All of our subscribers have received specific information regarding their account and will receive specific follow-up information on the impact of these changes on their account in the coming weeks.

We are maintaining a free version of FBL with an aggregated view of data and will develop new reports to improve effectiveness of the service for our users as we move forward. We remain committed to facilitating this information exchange and empowering senders to employ best practices and to serving this industry as best we are able. We trust you understand our business position here as we can continue to serve our deliverability community.

What it All Means for You

Validity distinguishes between providing individual reports in Abuse Reporting Format (i.e. when someone marks your email as ‘this is spam’ you get an individual report for that) and providing aggregate data (such as “you received 132 spam complaints at Fastmail, and 47 complaints at Rackspace”). It is those individual, ARF-formatted reports for which they will be charging. They will not (at least as of now) be charging for aggregated reports.

So Just What Does Validity Mean by “Aggregated Data”?

Our contacts at Validity explained that the still-free aggregated data reports consist of “aggregated complaint trends categorized by provider and group, for a period of up to 120 days. Basically translating to a single graph for every group of subscriptions within your account containing trends lines for every provider (if applicable). The ability to filter providers and date ranges will be available as well.”

How Much Will it Cost to Receive Individual Reports of Spam Complaints?

In a blog post on August 30th, Validity says:

“The price of the ARF service will be $1,500 US annually for up to 100,000 complaints. Current Everest and Sender Certification clients who are also registered for our Universal Feedback Loop service will continue to receive message-level complaints. We will also offer free service for Not-for-Profit companies via our Validity Cares program.”

When is Validity Going to Start Charging for the Universal FBL?

Validity will start charging for, and presumably for those not paying stop providing access to, the individual ARF complaints on September 21, 2023 (nine days from the posting of this article).

Which ISPs Contribute to the Validity Universal FBL?

The following ISPs contribute to the Validity Universal FBL (we would bet that they had no idea that the data they are providing to Validity for free was going to be packaged up and commodified).

Italia Online
La Poste
Liberty Global
Telecom Italia
Virgin Media

Note who is not listed there: Microsoft, Yahoo, Gmail, AT&T, and many other big ones.

Given all of the above, we suspect that a) many businesses will not pay, and that b) at least some ISPs will start making their FBLs available directly again.

Let us help YOU get to the inbox like we've helped these others!

No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We are ISIPP SuretyMail, the original certified sender program and email deliverability service. Learn more here
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Search in posts
Search in pages
Filter by Categories
Blocklists and Blacklists
Content Issues
Email Authentication
Email List Building
Feedback Loops
Mailing List Hygiene
Monitoring and Tracking
Opt-in Practices
Our News
Privacy & Email Laws
Sending Practices
SMS Marketing
Spam Complaints
Technical Stuff
The Industry
Need Help Getting to the Inbox?
If you need help getting out of the spam folder and into the inbox, we're here for you. Our deliverability services come with a personal touch, and we get results. That combination has created customer loyalty that's nearly unheard of. (testimonials)
Read what we'll do for you here.

Join our email community and get
How to Stay Out of the Spam Folder 
& How to Grow Your Email List free!

 Get to the Inbox by SuretyMail
The Original Email Deliverability Company

Free stuff!
Skip to content