Riding the E-mail Highway
The availability and benefits of whitelist and certification services differ by ISP and RSP. A few ISPs, such as AOL and Yahoo!, maintain their own whitelists and use a certification service to extend additional privileges to qualified senders. Some, such as MSN/Hotmail and RoadRunner, use a certification service in lieu of a whitelist. Other ISPs and domains maintain a stand-alone whitelist or use an anti-spam filter that weights certification along with other factors in its algorithms. Still others neither offer a whitelist nor honor certification.
License and Proof of Insurance, Please
While qualification requirements for whitelisting and certification vary from service to service, there are some common themes. They are:
List Management. Most ISPs have requirements for effective bounce management. Maintaining low levels of “unknown users” is a key consideration.
Regulatory Compliance. Strict adherence to the Can Spam Act is a prerequisite. There must be no attempt to hide, forge or misrepresent the sender or deceive the recipient as to the e-mail’s intent. All e-mail must have valid, nonelectronic contact information for the sending organization. Plus, there must be a simple and obvious unsubscribe mechanism that works, and senders must honor all unsubscribe requests within the prescribed legal time frame.
E-mail Authentication. Many require that senders authenticate their e-mail using the protocol required by the receiving ISP, such as SPF, Sender ID or DKIM.