The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

My Predictions for RSS In 2007

There has been an ongoing debate in the email marketing industry for the past couple of years regarding RSS (Real Simple Syndication).  With just 3% Internet user penetration, proponents of the medium say RSS will replace email marketing because it is 100% opt-in and has 100% deliverability.  True, these two characteristics make for very compelling arguments however most proponents of RSS overlook four major characteristics of email that trump RSS; personalization, data collection, portability and two-way communication.  These characteristics will sustain email's marketing vitality until another technology comes along and does a better job.

That said, it doesn't mean RSS doesn't have a place in the marketer's arsenal.  With Microsoft's launch of IE7 yesterday, RSS will find its way to many more Internet users in 2007.  When there is massive market adoption of RSS, marketers who rely on traditional batch and blast email marketing will want to start looking to RSS for this task. 

My Prediction:
Toward the end of 2007, traditional batch and blasters will BEGIN to consider RSS on a mass scale for marketing purposes in addition to using email.

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RSS
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Congratulations to David Baker! New Vice President of E-mail Solutions for aQuantive

It seems as though Avenue A/Razorfish picked up a rock star to run their email marketing practice.   Avenue A/Razorfish will need a guy like Baker since I'm sure they are starting to feel a little heat from traditional media agencies trying to steer in the interactive direction.  Good Luck Dave!

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Spamhaus vs. e360. Which Side Should A Legitimate Email Marketer Take?

Every email marketer has heard by now about e360insight.com's whopping $11.6 million judgment against the notorious and often feared blacklist The Spamhaus Project.  As an email marketer, I wince at the mere idea at one of Spamhaus' "volunteers" reading my blog that criticizes the organization and as a result point their loaded guns at my business.  However, I do live in the United Stats and last time I checked the First Amendment is still alive and I think it's about time someone from my industry poke a few holes in Spamhaus' model even if it means that I will have to dodge a few rotten from the far left of spam vigilantism.

According to many members of the Email Senders and Providers Coalition (http://www.espcoalition.org/), of which Gold Lasso is still debating about becoming a member, legislated lists of email addresses or any legislative lists of anything related to email marketing is a bad thing.  I find it ironic however that these same people never openly criticize black lists and how they wreak havoc on legitimate email marketers.  By this statement I'm not suggesting that Spamhaus' labeling of e360 as a spammer is right or wrong. I am not familiar with e360's business or anyone related to the company.  However, I have dealt with Spamhaus on behalf of a client, and it wasn't fun to say the least.  Gold Lasso's main client base is trade associations and nonprofits.  As a member of these groups, you expressly give them permission to send you email yet a very prestigious client of mine with over 300,000 members in the academic community ended up on Spamhaus' list.  Just as e360 claimed in its complaint against Spamhaus, I found myself frantically searching for a non-existing phone number.  After a week of email exchange with an unidentified representative, I finally convinced the individual that my internationally recognized client was not a spammer nor were any of Gold Lasso's servers compromised by a spammer.  The net result was missed opportunities of my client's abilities to share vital academic research, sell books and other items that help augment its budget and most important, deliver information to their members of which they expressly asked to receive.

Some analyst estimate the direct mail industry to be $27 billion stretched across postal fees, printing, envelopes and the hundreds of thousands of people that make it all work. What would happen to the direct mail industry if some rouge group decided to take over local post offices chucking various piece of mail they thought to be unwanted by its recipients?  Worse, what if the post office opened the doors and feely let them do this? As the email industry grows, so too is its economic impact on this country.  Right now this nascent industry is fast becoming the most relied on medium for retailers, publishers, associations, educators, manufacturers, etc. to sell their wears, exchange ideas, and provide much needed information.  Having a group that can not be reached via the telephone determine who is a spammer and who is not could have a catastrophic economic impact on this industry in the next five years.

Given my criticisms of Spamhaus, overall they do a good job of catching the crooks, hucksters and pornographers.  Their technological methods are effective however just as a tuna fisherman they tend to catch a lot of untargeted dolphins.  Since most anti-spam efforts are a result of IP address and domain filtering, would it be such a bad thing if ICANN incorporated Spamhaus into its organization?  This maybe a pie in the sky thought, but it's better than the Legit Email Marketing Industry vs. Spamhaus nightmare that will likely unfold.

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Return Path's Bonded Sender Program Has a New Dress

I just finished reading Return Path's Sender Score Certified: Standards for Reputation-Based Email Accreditation; July 2006 white paper by George Bilbrey, General Manager of Delivery Assurance.  From what I can tell by reading this five page white paper, Return Path's new Sender Score Certified is a program to replace their not so popular Bonded Sender Program. Instead of putting the cost on bulk email senders, ISPs will pay to use Return Path's scoring system to determine if a bulk email sender has a decent enough reputation to send email to their customers.    

Return Path's scoring system seems sophisticated and in theory could work however I have yet to see a white list that prevents spam.  Spammers are usually a few steps ahead of the industry and I'm sure they are studying Return Path's white paper too.  

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What Ever Happened To Email Formalities?

When was the last time you began an email with "Dear" either personal or business?  I haven't received an email that said "Dear Elie" for a long long while.  Just as my first grade teacher taught me, in the beginning of the Internet boom, you wouldn't dare begin a formal communication let alone a business email without the formality Dear.  What happened over the past ten years to erode formality in email?

Don't even mention email closings.  These days I'm lucky to get a "Thanks".  These days, email closings usually end with a black line followed by the person's name or email signature.

I'm not that formal of a guy.  I don't wear a suit to work nor do I require guests to wait in the reception area when they come to my office.  But if you don't know me or have never done business with me and want to sell me something, for god sakes be polite.

There are some lessons to be learned from the Nigerian spam scammers.  

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The Email Monetization Playbook
Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!

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Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!