Email Authentication

A big problem for email is the question of origin and accountability. When you send a marketing email, the recipients email provider has to determine if the email is really what it says it is. It is spammer and phisher practice to fake the real origin of the message. Spammers do it to so they can avoid responsibility and accountability for their actions, and phishers do it because that is the whole point of their scheme, to make you believe that the email is from your bank or favorite store instead of a con-artist. That is why email authentication is growing to be a big deal. Email authentication is something that is important for email marketing. Authentication is here to stay and it is key to your marketing success.

What is it and why does it matter?

Email authentication is a process that enables the ISPs and email providers to verify the sender of an email. If a sender can’t be confirmed that they are who they say, an ISP may block that email or add marks to the spam score of the sender. The ISP may deliver the message, but tag it as unverified. Or it may deliver email as normal but mark verified email as such. It is not hard to see how this can affect email marketing. Email authentication directly affects deliverability and it can impact how a reader perceives your message. The AOTA (Authentication and Online Trust Alliance) reported that in 2008 over 50% of the top brands and companies were authenticating outgoing email messages. Major ISP’s and webmail services (e.g. Yahoo, AOL, Gmail) use authentication processes. Authentication is already playing a role in email delivery and labeling and you should get on board. Authenticating email is good thing for email marketing, and authentication brings trust back to email as a secure communication method.

How does it work?

There is not a universal authentication system as of yet, but most standards follow similar doctrines. It basically involves your domain name records and which IP’s are allowed to send message on behalf of your domain. The important point is that you need to modify your domain records and establish approved sender IP addresses. . This is a totally basic description of the standards, but this is something that you will need to discuss with your IT expert, list host and/or email marketing service provider, they can help you with this process.

Work on executing authentication standards for your marketing/outgoing emails and get help if you need it for authentication. Authentication isn’t going anywhere and it is a welcome force that is only going to grow.

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