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A couple of things happened today which reminded me that a) we’re all in this together, and b) not everybody realizes or feels that we’re all in this together.
What I mean is that legitimate email senders and ISPs really want the same thing: they want to not send or deliver email to people who really don’t want it, and they want email that is wanted to be delivered to the people who do want it.
The things that happened were, first, having breakfast with a colleague who has been around, and in the same industry, for as long as have I, and our discussing just how far the relationship between senders and receivers has come.
The second was – in jarring juxtaposition – having a couple of senders tell me this afternoon just what they thought of ISPs, and it wasn’t flattering. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard senders talk like that, and I have to tell you that I was pretty surprised.
I’d thought, for the most part, that the email wars were over.
Most ISPs realize that legitimate email senders don’t have horns and a tail and are trying to do the right thing, and most ESPs realize that ISPs are not evil incarnate, and that the ISPs are working under a crushing amount of spam, through which they have to sift and try their best to detect the legitimate stuff.
As I said, ever since – at least – our Email Deliverability Summits that we held back in 2003, most major ISPs and spam filters, and the major ESPs and larger email marketing firms, get it, and have a cordial, even civil and in some cases downright collegial, relationship.
Yes, that’s right, they work together.
But every so often I’m brought up short and am made to realize that not everybody feels that way, and that some people still feel that ESPs have horns and tails, or that ISPs are evil incarnate.
So to those people, I want to give them some hope: ISPs and ESPs do work together now – more often than not. Most people on both the sending and receiving side now realize that ISPs and ESPs really want the same thing, and together they focus on the same goal – making sure that wanted email gets to the inbox, and that email that isn’t wanted isn’t sent or delivered.
To those who don’t believe it, I can only say that our own experience – every single day – bears this out.
I also want to share something with everybody, as I took a trip down memory lane today – this the recap that we sent out after the main Email Deliverability Summit back in 2003. The Email Deliverability Summit was a full day, with the CEOs or executive decision makers from twenty ISPs and twenty ESPs, all locked in a room together with me. No press, no non-industry folks. The outcome was amazing – and in the past five years it’s only gotten better.
So hang in there, and if you need help with delivery issues – you know where to find us.
Here’s that notice:
EMAIL DELIVERABILITY SUMMIT SUCCESSFULLY DELIVERS FOCUS, COOPERATION, AND NEW INDUSTRY STANDARDS
Broad Support Among ISPs, Spam Filters, and Email Senders for New Standards
SAN FRANCISCO, CA â€“ September 17, 2003 – The Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy (“ISIPP”) announced today that the Email Deliverability Summit II which it sponsored yesterday in San Francisco was a resounding success.
Bringing together the CEOs and other executive decision makers from twenty top ISPs and spam filtering companies such as AOL, MSN, RoadRunner, CloudMark, SpamAssassin, and Ironport, and twenty top email senders including RappDigital Innovyx, SilverPop, YesMail, CheetahMail, and Digital Impact, the Summit was observed to be the first group to bring members of both the email sending and email receiving industries together in a manner which facilitated cooperative problem-solving regarding email deliverability.
“Even though we had more than three times the number of people as at Summit I, the level of focus and cooperation was just as high. It was absolutely incredible,” explained Anne P. Mitchell, Esq., CEO and President of the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy, and co-Chair of the Summit.
“The Summit was the most productive event of its sort that I’ve ever attended,” said George Bilbrey, Vice President and General Manager of Deliverability Services for ReturnPath. “It provided both senders and receivers a set of concrete steps they could take to improve the deliverability of the legitimate mail that end users want.”
“The Summit was a tremendous success,” agreed Kevin George, Vice President of Operations for SilverPop, and one of the organizers of the Summit. “It was a unique opportunity to have many of the brightest minds in the industry together in one room with the common goal of solving the issues of false positives and improving deliverability rates for legitimate e-mail, while helping receiving systems to be able to distinguish good mail from bad in order to help them in their efforts against spam.”
Organized by Mitchell, co-Chair Ian Oxman, Vice President of Email Consulting for RappDigital, and George, Summit II carried forward the work of the first Email Deliverability Summit held in July of this year, presenting and recommending new industry standards to both the sending and receiving industries.
“A total of five new industry standards were presented at Summit II,” said Mitchell, “and all five received broad support and commitment from those in attendance. Many of those present at the first Summit have already implemented these standards, and many more committed to doing so.”
The standards presented at Summit II related to bounce handling, unsubscribe requests, publication of email permissions requirements, and communication between the sending and receiving industries. With respect to the last, ISIPP debuted its new EDDB (Email Deliverability Database), the result of a collaboration among Summit I attendees.
“I think everyone present found out what we realized at the first meeting, that we’re all focused on the
customer experience, and have far more in common than we thought,” said Summit veteran Derek Harding, CTO of RappDigital Innovyx. “For perhaps the first time in history the email senders, spam filter companies and the major ISPs, partners and competitors, rivals and friends, sat at one table and talked honestly and openly about the issues we face and what can be done to address those issues. Not just in a theoretical way but in a practical, “what can we do right now”, manner.”
Traveling from India to attend the Summit, Suresh Ramasubramanian, Security and Antispam Operations Manager for ISP Outblaze Limited, congratulated ISIPP and all of the Summit attendees “for what turned out to be a highly interesting, frank and open discussion of issues that concern both senders and receivers of email – the issues that will make email remain a usable communication tool, and drag it out of the morass of spam into which it is slowly sinking.”
“That was the most energizing meeting I have been to in a long time,” added Laura Atkins, CEO of Word to the Wise, a deliverability consultancy to both the sending and receiving industries. “It was amazing to watch the dynamics in the room — that everyone who was there was able to put aside their corporate
competitiveness and work for the good of everyone. And not just everyone in the room, but looking forward and understanding that this impacts everyoneâ€¦each group deeply understood that it was the end user, their experience and their mailbox that we were talking about. Everything was focused on making sure they, the end users, have the best possible online experience.”
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS PROVIDED BY ATTENDEES:
“The summit was highly productive, and went a long way towards improving relations between
mailers and ISPs. The steps taken at the second Email Deliverablity summit will, eventually,
go a long way towards ensuring that users would not have a problem getting mail from lists
that they subscribed to. Just as importantly, the results of this Summit will help
users not receive mail from lists that they never signed up for or requested. I congratulate ISIPP, and all the attendees at the Summit, for what turned out to be a
highly interesting, frank and open discussion of issues that concern both senders and receivers
of email – the issues that will make email remain a usable communication tool, and drag it out of
the morass of spam that it is slowly sinking into.”
– Suresh Ramasubramanian, Security and Antispam Operations Manager, Outblaze Limited
“It was gratifying to see all the key stakeholders — ISPs, ESPs, intermediaries — in one room talking to (not at) one another about deliverability solutions. That’s the only way we’re going to preserve the integrity of the email medium and protect it from a common foe: the spammers. Digital Impact is pleased to participate in this dialogue and commends ISIPP for bringing the stakeholders together into a stronger, mutually beneficial relationship.”
– R. David Lewis, Vice President, Deliverability Mgt & ISP Relations, Digital Impact
“Digital Connexxions was privileged to participate with the select group of
industry decision makers at the ISIPP summit. The key to the success of this particular
group and summit (where similar groups have failed) is that all constituents
involved are high level decision makers and industry leaders of major ISP’s, ESP’s
and anti-spam organizations. Having the appropriate decisions makers involved
allows them to act upon the recommendations proposed by the group and make the
appropriate changes within their respective organizations. It also opened up lines of
communication that are desperately needed to ensure that all companies can easily
work together to ultimately get e-mail delivered. ”
– Carey Catala, VP Sales, Digital Connexxions, Corp.
“The genuine spirit of cooperation to achieve a common goal clearly
represents the best effort I have seen to date. Socketware is anxious to contribute and
fully support this initiative moving forward.”
– John Karnes, CTO, Socketware, makers of Accucast
“The email summit was a phenomenal event due to the presence of key
players on both sides of the table — email marketers and ISP’s. There
truly was a “team” atmosphere and a recognition of common goals. We really
do want the same thing, the ability to continue to conduct our business
without the external pressures of unwanted email. I am more than
encouraged by the real progress we have made as a group thus far, and look
forward to the impact we’ll have on the industry moving forward.”
– Chip House, Director of Marketing, ExactTarget
“Everyone.net was pleased to participate at Summit II, an
industry-leading forum that promoted open dialogues between email
sending and receiving companies.”
– Josh Mailman, VP Marketing, Everyone.net, an email provider for over 100,000 domains
“The summit exceeded my expectations. In one room you had all of the key
senders and key receivers focused on the same issues. I think that
the most interesting facet of the meeting is that both senders and
receivers are in agreement on many key issues. Both senders and receivers
are united in a common mission, ‘how do we get the email people want into
their mailboxes.’ While this may sound like a simplistic objective,
everything we worked on at the meeting was highly focused on that mission.
The fact that we have opened a clear communications channel that will
make it much easier to reach the right people (on either side) when there
is a critical question or issue will definitely help the industry achieve
– Jordon Ayan, CEO and Chairman, SubscriberMail
“That was the most energizing meeting I have been to in a long time. It was
amazing to watch the dynamics in the room — that everyone who was there
was able to put aside their corporate competitiveness and work for the
good of everyone. And not just everyone in the room, but looking forward
and understanding this impacts everyone and working out how to include
more companies as it grows. The other thing was that while we didn’t have end users represented in the room, each group deeply understood that it was the end user, their
experience and their mailbox that we were talking about. Everything was
focused on making sure they, the end users, have the best possible online
– Laura Atkins, CEO, Word to the Wise
“I think it was a great step towards creating accountability and standards.
I feel like this kind of teamwork, even more so than any proposed
legislation, will end up saving the email marketing industry from being
destroyed by spam. I was surprised at how eager the ISPs were to
cooperate with the senders, and vice versa.
– Michael Torres, Messaging Practices Policy Manager
“I think the future of email is reaching a critical point. In this
country it has become virtually ubiquitous and yet at the same it is
drowning under the deluge of spam. Yesterday I think everyone present found out what we realised at the first meeting, that we’re all focused on the customer experience, and have
far more in common than we thought. So for perhaps the first time in history the email senders, spam filter companies and the major ISPs, partners and competitors, rivals and
friends, sat at one table and talked honestly and openly about the issues
we face and what can be done to address those issues. Not just in a
theoretical way but in a practical, what can we do right now, manner. I
think the takeaways give us all things to think about and things we can do
in our own organisations to start addressing this problem.”
– Derek Harding, CTO, RappDigital Innovyx
“We have participated in several conferences like the ISIPP Summit with the
same goals of developing better communication between ESPs, ISP and
anti-spam software firms and data companies like AcquireWeb. This is the
first meeting that we have participated in where the various
constituencies felt comfortable talking about their own problems and
issues in a constructive forum focused on building solutions to help each
other and the industry as a whole. By continuing to work together like
this we will improve the experience for the entire online community from
the marketer to the consumer.”
– Albert Gadbut, President, AcquireWeb Inc.
FULL LIST OF ATTENDEES
Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. – CEO, ISIPP – Summit Co-Chair
Kevin P. Doerr – Group Bus. Manager, Anti-Spam Technology & Strategy Group, Microsoft
Carl Hutzler – Technical Director, AntiSpam Operations, AOL
Mark Herrick – Director of Operations Security, RoadRunner
Rich Buchanan – VP Marketing, Cloudmark
Patrick Peterson – Sr. Director, Services and Support, Ironport
Josh Mailman – VP, Marketing, Everyone.net
Doug Turner – Senior VP, Marketing & Business Dev., MessageGate
Arnold de Leon – Email Practices Policy Manager, MSN/TV
Steve Atkins – Founder, SamSpade
Lance Weatherby, CMO, Cyphertrust
Laura Tessmer – CEO, Word to the Wise
George Bilbrey – VP and GM Deliverability Services, ReturnPath
Eytan Urbas – VP, Marketing, Mailshell
Suresh Ramasubramanian, Manager, Antispam and Security Operations, Outblaze
Craig Hughes – Chief Architect, McAfee Security; Founding Architect, SpamAssassin
Kee Hinckley – CTO, MessageFire
Jon Oliver, Chief Spam Fighter, MailFrontier
Mark Neumann, VP, Product Development, Cable & Wireless
Ian Oxman, VP Email Consulting, RappDigital – Summit Co-Chair
Kevin George, VP Operations, Silverpop,
Derek Harding, CTO, Innovyx, Inc.
Steve Koenig, VP Client Services, YesMail
Matt Seeley, COO, Cheetahmail
John Karnes, CTO, Socketware
Brian Haberstroh, CEO, Atriks and TheMail.com
Ray Everett Church, Esq., ePrivacyGroup
Dave Geller, CEO, WhatCounts
Dave Lewis, VP ISP Relations, Digital Impact
Carey Catala, VP Sales, Digital Connexxions
Michael Wexler, VP, e-Dialog
Al Iverson, DigitalRiver
Kirill Popov, VP, Uptilt
Chip House, Dir. Marketing, ExactTarget
Michael Torres, CEO, Captaris
Ben Isaacson, Experian
Al Gadbut, CEO, Acquireweb
Jordan Ayan, CEO & Chairman, SubscriberMail
Rob Mattes, CFO, NetCreations
Mark Graham, CEO, iVillage
Markus F. Mullarkey, VP Outbound Marketing Solutions, CNET