Not All Goodmail Partners Have A Whitelist

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Goodmail Systems announced last week that four major Internet service providers will be adding CertifiedEmail to their repertoire of email filters. The sweeping partnerships give Goodmail automatic access to some 65 percent of US inboxes.

Not All Goodmail Partners Have A Whitelist
Not All Goodmail Partners Have A Whitelist

Microsoft has yet to join the program, a deal that would boost that number to 85 percent. Bulk email senders wanting to bypass the spam filters at Yahoo, AOL, Time Warner Road Runner, Comcast, and Cox, can now do so for a quarter of a cent per email.

Or, as Goodmail competitor and third-party reputation service Habeas’ CEO Des Cahill puts it, at a cost of $2.50 CPM.

Goodmail unveiled its CertifiedEmail product last year amid a storm of controversy when AOL appeared to be forgoing its email whitelists (free sender reputation lists) in favor of fee-based Goodmail.

The press was quick to take note, calling the arrangement an email tax, or a kind of postage that could derail small online businesses and non-profit organizations that depended on bulk email. AOL decided to keep its whitelists after significant public pressure. Yahoo joined up shortly after AOL.

So news a year later that Goodmail is to be put into use at nearly all the major email service providers in the US (except Microsoft and GMail, which announced last year they had no plans to institute a third-party authentication program), sent déjà vu levels to new heights.

The most important question was: Do these email service providers have free whitelists and will they keep them? Or is Goodmail now the only option for bulk emailers looking to reach inboxes with images and links in tact? 

Spokespersons with both Verizon and Time Warner have told WebProNews that they will continue to offer whitelisting and have no plans to phase out the free offering. Cox and Comcast, however, may be a different story.

"Cox does not have a white list," Cox Communications Director of Public Relations Susan Leepson told WebProNews. "All email must go through our spam and virus scanning."

That includes email Cox sends its own subscribers, continues David Deliman, Product Communications Manager for Cox. Deliman clarifies that Goodmail is not a postage-type company, accepting payment to bypass filters.

"Goodmail performs a strict background check on all senders," he said, "and their CertifiedEmail is only available to legitimate organizations whose customers have already opted-in to receive e-mail from the company."

That doesn’t necessarily mean that bulk emailers can have their messages delivered with images and links in-tact. 

Comcast did not return request for comments regarding whitelists and whether or not bulk emailers would have a choice beyond Goodmail.

Though representatives for Goodmail and the ISPs that responded are heavy on the end-user benefit talking points (Goodmail’s Vice President of Marketing David Atlas was reluctant to speak to the sender-side of the issue at all), Cahill thinks there the monetary benefits shouldn’t be ignored.

"I think what Goodmail has proved is that ISPs want to make money off of email," he said.

The ISPs involved wouldn’t speak to the financial arrangements between them and Goodmail Systems, but Atlas says they have a 50/50 split in revenue.

While these arrangements may be beneficial to the end-user (a recent study by the ESPC showed over half of respondents were open to authenticated email), and definitely beneficial to Goodmail and the ISPs in terms of revenue, what of bulk senders?

Atlas says non-profit organizations like the Red Cross, who needs protection from spoofing, can get up to an 85 percent discount. Small businesses, however, are not eligible.

"They haven’t proved that senders can afford to pay Goodmail and the ISPs," said Cahill, who believes the phishing problem can be better addressed via the refinement of industry standards, which is what quarterly-held Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group looks to do.   

Not All Goodmail Partners Have A Whitelist
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  • Lynda Williams

    I maintain bulk mail lists both for the small financial services company I work for and for a non-profit that helps high-risk kids get their lives on track through arts mentoring.

    Both groups already pay a reasonable fee to our bulk-mail service, Constant Contact. To add another fee on top of that just so that members can get the information they’ve requested intact – or even at all! – is inconceivable! Our lists consist of signups from our web site, verbal or email requests to be added, or are customers with whom we do business regularly via email who have agreed that they want to be kept abreast of our offerings, events, special news, or services.

    While my company will probably bite the bullet, I don’t think our small non-profit has the budget for even this tiny fee. We may be forced to end our mailings, in spite of the demand for them. :(

    It’s a real shame that the small percentage of all email senders who resort to spam, scams, and phishing have made it necessary to punish the rest of us who are just trying to get the word out legally and with respect to the email-receiving community.

  • Billy

    Yahoo web based eMail are soon to allow unlimited storeage.

    They state:-

    Coming soon – unlimited storage for free…

    Keep as many photos, attachments and messages you like. You won

  • Jason

    Funny thing is that these services are marketing for Clients and computer users whom should already have protection from such emails via the laws they have already paid taxes for enforcement.

    In Australia for example it is an illegal act to ‘TRANSMIT’ virus or other illegal content over the wire (but Oz first spam charge was in 2006? funny how the law works). The cost of the enterprise protection enables users to spend more time online, paying more money, etc.

    However coming from the days when no-one was online the single largest ISP in Oz along with many others was even selling McFee (a MSN partner) and other AV software until the law was enforced to make up profit margins. I am sure they can still sell AV products to conserned clients as they should but at the same time are no longer permitted to transmit virus data down the wire from an enterprise to smaller client computer/s.

    In the USA you have the ideal of un-sensoured yet over 60% PC users purchaced M$ products to license data entry, created laws to prevent china sending email ads, followed by anti terror laws, and now paid cert email. One wonders at what comes next. But the same kind of marketing also allows M$ and its print media partners whom include TW to dump un-addressed mail in other countries, bad movies with trash product placement propaganda to overt future public revolt, etc..

    Marketing in this form of One bad thing wraped in an ideal is also used by Oz TV and Oz print media to discredit the internet until such time as in M$ case 9msn could advertise things like ebay and how safe it is.. etc.. (they even had news and current affair stories aka product placements based on this fact of 1 bad email to turn around and say how good ebay is.. lol..)

    So to sum up.. could you change your heading to “65% of US inboxes are to be owned by blind proxy morons eating marketing by the bucket full in 2007; Ready for sale in 2008 to new controlers”.


  • Dr. Everhardo

    yes, we belive it is a very good sytem if it can be extended to a verification that the recipient opened the mail too.
    Many times the mail ends up at the spam folder and will be deleted by accident or automatically.
    We have a lodging business and there is always the problem with Yahoo and Hotmail, that our response to inquiries ends up at the spam folder and will be trashed.
    Then we get sometimes angry clients calling us and we have to tell them that they deleted our mail.
    In case we know for sure that the letter was red, we then don’t have to call the guests and this safes money and time.
    Basically, just a proof that the mail was put on the computer is not sufficient. There must be a proof that the mail was opened too and we don’t mind paying for it. Most likely all businesses with a web site where you can click at a link to send an e-mail as response will appreciate it very much.

    • Jim Anderson

      Please tell me the name of your loding business, so that I can steer clear!

      Can’t you see the Con game being played here?

      1. Create filters for email.
      2. Charge citizens who paid to build the internet (yes we did!) for the luxury of bypassing said filters – A CON!

      This spits in the face of what the Internet is all about!

      Haven’t you heard of Net Neutrality yet!

      Here’s the first site that came on Google:

      Here on Earth we already have mechanisms that let us know if an email was read and the person reading the email maintains the right to keep the fact that they read your email private!

      This is no comparison to certified mail. With certified mail, you can ask the postman where the letter is coming from and if you don’t like the answer, you DO NOT have to accept it. How would you like it if a letter was rigged with an RFID chip that alerted the sender when you opened it and still another to know when you unfolded the letter to read it?

      WAKE UP!

      No offense, but If I had to guess, I would guess that you are not from the USA, where we value and cherish our freedom: Our privacy being a major part of that freedom and our ability to communicate freely another.

      Oh…wait…wait…your name is Dr. “Everhardo”…I see…I see…you can’t be real…You’re a plant (not as in a vegetable) designed to illicit an emotional response. Good work!

  • Jim Anderson

    Thanks…well written+good info

  • Jim Anderson

    1. Create filters for email.
    2. Charge citizens who paid to build the internet (yes we did!) for the luxury of bypassing said filters – A CON!

    This spits in the face of what the Internet is all about!

    Viva Net Neutrality!!!

    Here on Earth we already have mechanisms that let us know if an email was read and the person reading the email maintains the right to keep the fact that they read it, private!

    This is no comparison to certified mail. With certified mail, you can ask the postman where the letter is coming from and if you don’t like the answer, you DO NOT have to accept it. How would you like it if a letter was rigged with an RFID chip that alerted the sender when you opened it and still another to know when you unfolded the letter to read it?

    I value my freedom: My privacy being a major part of that freedom and my ability to communicate freely; another.

    Jim Anderson

  • Chris

    This is extortion, plain and simple.

    Instead of doing their jobs of delivering email that was requested by their customers, these ISPs want businesses have to pay to get their mail delivered.

    This is the Internet equivalent of the mob thug with a baseball bat who offers to make sure your car doesn’t get damaged if you pay him a fee.

    What needs to happen is more lawsuits against these ISPs for their interference with commerce.

  • Paul Harrison

    If anyone has problems with mail being blocked by Goodmail or any one else, I suggest you try sending to someone in the UK on the same server if they block it they are in breach of UK law and it is a very serious law and holds a possible prison term.
    I had a problem a few months back with AOL, after contacting them they told me what I had to do to unblock my domain, I refused and instead contacted AOL legal team pointing out they were in breach of the UK’s post office and telecommunications act and they could face a prison term. 2 hours later the block was lifted.
    Only 2 weeks ago same problem with Microsoft (Hotmail) same thing happened.
    I have informed them both that if they ever block again I will report them and they will have to face a UK court.
    I suggest if you have email blocked and it is going to a person in the UK you report it to the post office and telecommunications office.
    Intercepting any ones mail in the UK electronic or snail mail is theft lets stop these companies breaking the law.

  • Chris Tailby

    Hello – I think the paying for e-mails is a good thing as long as the cost is low – say between 0.02 – 0.08 per e-mail. It would work especially well for small – medium sized business who have built up customer lists in the thousands (not hundreds of thousands) – I would pay to ensure my e-mails reached my clients inboxes correctly. I think the problem would come if /when the service providers became greedy and increased the price to silly amounts, in effect killing off
    e-mail marketing for good.

    Claire Philips

  • Doyle

    Those ISPs doing so will definitely loose customers. This is the worst thing that can happen to our present computer technology. Absolute greed is the bottom line. They don

  • Astra P

    Horrible idea and will ruin most business

  • manny wood

    I will never pay for something that should be free .There are plenty of different ways
    to take care of spam without robbing everyone in this country .If people have a brain any bigger than a bb they will let good mail know that they arnt welcome .

  • Ward

    Certified Email is a good thing but the rates they are sporting is as bad as the gasoline gouging. If they start the program as optional then see how many DON’t sign up that shuld answer the procing problem. My first thought is that this should be “part of the service” as the spamming that comes from false addresses and scams effects the entire world community. At the very least an automatic filter to stop those pirates should be no charge. Sort of eliminating the “Top 10 Most Wanted”. Kill these emails and prove yourself then people will signup for addition sservice in gratitude.

  • Keith D Commiskey

    I’m not a guru on ISPs or e-mail, but am a long-time recipient of hundreds of spams per day, and as such, consider myself a citizen of spam country. Thus, my vote…

    My thought way back was to escrow a small charge for each e-mail; reimburse if the receiver accepts it (however that is implemented), and charge if the receiver rejects it.

    If I send an e-mail to a friend and they reject it, I lose 0.01. If I send to 1,000 folks and they all reject, that’s gonna hurt a little bit ($10). Spammers send to how many per day? 100,000 maybe?

    I’ve discussed this concept with someone who is an expert in the field of servers, ISPs, and telecommunications, and although it is a possibility, it would require a new protocol (POP5 ?).

    And if all ISPs don’t go into whatever it is, I’m not sure its going to work anyways. I use SPF records for my hosting accounts, but they don’t always work, ’cause not all ISPs utilize SPF record checking.

    Keith D Commiskey
    http://kdcinfo.com – Web Utilities
    http://giftsforyou.biz – Crystal Gifts

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