The Whole Magilla

If there’s one word that most aptly describes Ken Magill’s coverage of online marketing, it’s fearless. For more than a decade, Magill has built a reputation for calling it like he sees it no matter who may get offended. Some marketers read his column just to make sure they’re not in it. In a trade-publishing market populated mostly by vendor representatives who must watch what they say, Magill stands out as the one guy who says what he thinks. Moreover, he often writes what others are thinking, but are afraid to say. He can even be very funny.

Having been a direct marketer, and having covered online marketing since 1997 for DM News, Direct, Chief Marketer and Multichannel Merchant magazines, Magill offers a unique, informed perspective on the evolution of digital selling. He was also founding editor of trade weekly iMarketing News and Magilla Marketing, a newsletter dedicated to e-mail.

He is currently founding editor of the recently launched trade weekly email newsletter The Magill Report.

It finally happened. Politicians' idiotic email practices had a measurable negative effect. "Maine Republican Party chairman Charlie Webster has admitted that the state party made numerous clerical errors in counting the state's caucus results—even omitting some votes because emails reporting tallies 'went to spam' in an email account." Ha ha, especially if you're a Democrat, right? Well, the same thing is happening to you.

Is there any topic more certain to make a marketer's eyes glaze over with boredom than email authentication? Don't answer. That was rhetorical. However, there was an email-authentication-related development earlier this week that marketers who use email should take note of. It may begin to tip the scales in the battle against phishing—fraudulent email pretending to be from a well known brand in order to get users' account information—in favor of the good guys.

Quick! Which email service provider has the best delivery rate? Don't know? Neither do I. Let's try and find an answer. According to a list put out by ranking firm topseos, Pinpointe On-Demand has the best delivery rate of 10 email service providers it ranked for January. Let's just cut to the real problem with Topseos' rankings list—that it mentioned ESPs' so-called "delivery rates" at all.

My journalism mentor Charlie Adair [RIP] was an utterly twisted human being, but in the best way imaginable for a student who wanted to learn to be the best reporter he could be. He could have taught marketers a thing or too, as well-for example, about empathy, hitting deadline, and always thinking on one's feet. The final exams for Charlie's infamous interviewing course were legendary for putting students in excruciatingly uncomfortable positions. ... Team Obama could use a Charlie Adair.

So you're sitting around a conference table discussing your company's email marketing and someone starts talking about the program's open rate. To the uninitiated, common sense says "open rate" refers to the average percentage of emails that get opened. ... But that's not what it means all.

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