Kiss is more reticent about DomainKey implementation. "Sooner or later technology will come up, but we're just preparing for the long haul, and until we find something that's 100 percent flawless, we're not ready to invest," he says.
However, the other side of the deliverability equation for HoneyBaked Hams is relevancy. "We started to focus our efforts on making our e-mails as compelling as possible," says Kiss. "Consumers have to understand that there's some value in there for them."
Dawn Bronkema, senior CRM specialist for retail and grocery marketer Meijer Inc., in Grand Rapids, Mich., offers her perspective:
"E-mail deliverability issues are quickly becoming a roadblock to maximizing the use of e-mail." She does not, however, see the current, available authentication options as a cure-all. "All good ideas, but in the end there are always programmers that can program around what others have done," she says.
Bronkema suggests education is vital, as is getting decision makers behind any anti-spam/deliverability protocol for any solution to work in the long term.
Incentive to Authenticate
Whether you choose SPF, SIDF or take the plunge into DomainKeys or IIM, implementing any kind of authentication protocol is no longer an option. Rather, these technologies quickly are becoming the first steps in the legitimate e-mail marketer's set of best practices.
In a white paper titled "E-mail Authentication: Actions You Need to Take Today," Return Path describes the basic steps to authentication:
1. Perform an audit of all domains and subdomains used by your company.
2. Have your IT team publish the appropriate record.
3. Validate your SPF and/or SIDF record.
4. Check your log files for problems.
5. Update records as your environment or the authentication requirements change.
"Definitely, at the very least, ensure accurate SPF publication today. It's simple, low-cost and actually remarkably low-tech to do so," advises Bigfoot Interactive's Della Penna. "Moreover, there's now the very real possibility that not being compliant or publishing your SPF records the wrong way, can result in blocking or 'junk' folder placement at Hotmail and MSN. This will become the case elsewhere as more and more ISPs implement these solutions."