Here are some brief thoughts on the whole Goodmail / AOL / Pay Per Email discussion that is going on. There is plenty to read on the topic, however, here are some random considerations from my point of view:
- We all know that email’s number one hinderance is spam. Take spam away and email is undeniably one of the most effective marketing channels accessible today. Over the past 5 years, we as an industry, and as consumers of email have watched spam continue to increase and begin to have deeper effects on the overall quality and effectiveness of the medium. As a result, the major ISPs, consumer mail providers (hotmail, gmail, aol, yahoo, etc), and corporations of all sizes have implemented technologies that block, tackle & filter email. This in turn has made it more difficult for the legitimate marketers and users themselves to get their messages delivered. People are looking for messages but not getting them due to filtering or non-delivery altogether, i.e. blacklists, etc.
- There are a handful of companies out there who offer deliverability services and solutions, and have helped make progress with the overall situation. We work with both Return Path’s Bonded Sender and Habeas, both are great companies and offer a valuable service. As you know though, as great as these services are, they have not solved the spam problem.
- A comprehensive pay per email solution has been speculated to come for quite a long time. With the announcement of AOL’s implementation of Goodmail’s CertifiedEmail solution the industry has been up in arms about the costs that it will bring to email marketers. Initally, people also reacted in an uproar about AOL ditching their enhanced whitelist, which was later retracted, they are not getting rid of it at all. All that said, lets think about it for a second, here is really the first solution to market that can guarantee deliverability for a marketers campaign. The very first solution that poses to eat into spammer profits and prevent them from their mass blasting (spammers are very smart, they will figure out quickly where to cut their loses).
- I am actually in a very neutral position on the Goodmail CertifiedEmail. I think it has the potential to be a very good thing for the email industry if implemented and structured correctly. At Blue Sky, we are in process of setting up our relationship with them and will begin to offer it to our client base in the very short term. I expect a variety of reactions from our clients when we fully educate them on the process of paying extra for guaranteed delivery. Personally, I think some of them will be all over it and welcome a solution that will end the worrying (especially our ecommerce clients), while others will be discouraged. The bottom line is this, Goodmail offers a solution that presents a disruptive change within an industry. Change can be a good thing. Pamela Parker in her Clickz column brings up the questions:
“I can’t help but wonder if marketers would be better served by taking that money and that energy and applying them to (1) guaranteeing delivery via a certification system and (2) optimizing messages for ROI. How many times do marketers change language, layout or images for fear of triggering spam filters? What if they didn’t need to concern themselves with getting into the inbox? Would that open up new opportunities to boost response?”
Looking at it from that side shows there is a lot more to consider in regards to this change. I am looking forward to watching this unfold. We will be keeping up with it on The Thinking Inbox, stay tuned.