Habeas: Friend or Foe to Newsletter Publishers?

    July 7, 2003

Lately many of you have sent me emails about a new company, Habeas. Many of you have read the frightening predictions abounding on the Internet that Habeas spells the end of email marketing. After reading many such predictions myself, I wanted to get a perspective straight from Habeas CEO Anne P Mitchell. She was gracious enough to sit down with me and discuss her company and what it means to company newsletter publishers.

Billed by some as a “protection money scam,” in reality, Habeas simply offers one more assurance that your email will reach its intended audience. Is it a program for everyone? Certainly not. But, those of you with larger lists who frequently send messages that may trigger filters may want to look into their licensing programs.

Unfortunately, Habeas still isn’t a perfect solution for the recipient. That’s because, according to Ms. Mitchell, Habeas doesn’t review email messages sent on a regular basis. That means a publisher could, conceivably, develop a double opt-in list on the premise that each newsletter would be about dog care and instead send list members advertisements from mortgage lenders.

Drawbacks aside, Habeas does present one possible solution to what is a growing problem: the blocking of legitimate email. And now, on to the interview.

Jessica: Anne, thank you for agreeing to this interview! Can you tell me a little bit about your personal vision for Habeas?

Anne: To provide the ultimate solution to deliver deliverability for people who send legitimate email, and to identify the email which recipients want.

Jessica: And you do that using your haiku system, right. Where did the idea for the haikus come from?

Anne: The original Habeas concept was the brainchild of our chairman, Dan Kohn, as was the idea for the Habeas haiku. Dan and I together developed the haiku as it is today.

The reason for the haiku is to provide us with copyright as well as trademark protection. For something to be copyrightable, it has to be creative, and not functional, in nature.

Jessica: So it’s both interesting and functional. That’s great. Now, tell me, why do you think there’s a need for Habeas?

Anne: On the sending side, as receiving systems draw their spam filters ever tighter in an effort to stem the flow of spam, senders need a way to demonstrate that the email they are sending is not spam, and should not be accidentally or improperly tagged, blocked, or bounced as spam, no matter how “spammy” it may look.

On the receiving side, receiving systems need a way to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff – to be able to instantly recognize “this email is definitely not spam, so it should be delivered, and not blocked, and resources need not be expended to try to determine whether it is spam.”

Jessica: So, this is a way for newsletter publishers to avoid worries about filters. How does Habeas affect the average company newsletter publisher with an opt-in list?

Anne: As it stands today, because of content filtering and other sorts of anti-spam solutions, even the cleanest of mailing lists is experiencing problems with deliverability. I recently received a newsletter containing an article about Habeas, wondering why an online marketer or publisher should need to sign up for Habeas, and in that very article the author had intentionally misspelled the word “bulk” as “b^lk” in order to avoid being blocked by spam filters! And *that* is how this affects the average online business owner, and why they need a service like Habeas.

Jessica: Do you see Habeas becoming *the* spam solution, or would you like to see other solutions as well?

Anne: I see us as *a* solution. I don’t think that there will ever be one be-all and end-all solution. But as solutions go, we’re a darned good one!

Jessica: What’s your vision of the future of spam protection and email marketing?

Anne: I think that there will always be spammers who will find ways around even the most rigorous of spam detection systems, and so long as that is the case, legitimate email from legitimate online marketers is going to get caught in the crossfire. The most effective way to avoid that effect is to manage your mailings to the highest standards – we allow marketers to identify their email which meets those standards, so that receiving sites won’t be afraid to accept it and deliver it.

Jessica: And what about you, Anne, how much spam do you find in your inbox on a daily basis?

Anne: I can’t filter out spam, because I need to monitor the spam which is reported to us. I probably get between 100 and 200 pieces a day across all of my accounts. However, I know people who get quite literally thousands of pieces a day.

Jessica: Anne, thank you for spending so much time with me today! I, for one, can’t wait to see if Habeas really makes a difference in inboxes everywhere.

As President and CEO of Habeas, Inc., Anne P. Mitchell, Esq., actively works to help legitimate opt-in email marketers reach their target audience without falling prey to filters. To find out more about Habeas, visit http://www.habeas.com.

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