He cites reduction in false positives and better delivery assurance as additional incentives for marketer authentication compliance, especially as authentication gets tied to white listing requirements. "Marketers need to understand the value proposition and benefits of compliance," says Della Penna. "We believe accountability will increasingly be tied to authentication, with nonauthenticated e-mail being subjected to additional filtering hurdles compared to authenticated e-mail. Therefore, there may be significant ROI and relationship ramifications for those companies that haven't authenticated."
E-dialogue's director of privacy and ISP relations, Rick Buck notes, "At some point in time, some subset of them needs to be defined as the defacto standard across marketers and ISPs, literally around the world, that says this is going to be the baseline of information we use to say this is authenticated. When that is able to happen, you'll see a lot less fraudulent e-mail and, in fact, potentially, no fraudulent e-mail in our mailboxes."
While authentication remains in flux, however, there's every incentive to take advantage of the benefits each option affords.
"Most people are coming around to the view that there is no reason to have just one [authentication protocol] and that multiple authentication standards are as good, or better than, having one dominant one," suggests Silverpop's Nussey. David Daniels, research director at JupiterResearch in New York City, agrees: "The best solution is for the ISPs to use all of them, or for these standards to be blended into one protocol."
Della Penna concludes, "Authentication is not the silver bullet, but it is a critical aspect of the ongoing multifaceted approach to combatting spam and e-mail fraud. Perhaps most importantly, authentication will play a vital role in helping marketers and ISPs preserve consumers' trust in the e-mail medium."
The Path to Authentication
Learn more about authentication protocols by visiting the following sources online: