A Belated 2007 Year in Review with a Look Ahead to 2008

George Bilbrey
By George Bilbrey
President

We waited a little while to make sure that 2007 was really and truly over before noting the interesting trends for the year. With a fair degree of certainty we can predict that 2007 won’t return. After polling some of the smarter folks about deliverability at Return Path, here are some of the trends that we found interesting over the last year and what we think will happen in ’08:

2007 Was the Year that Email Marketers Really “Got” Reputation. Sometime over the course of 2007 the conventional wisdom seemed to become that delivery problems are largely based on “reputation.” In 2008, we will all come to a common definition of what that means and foster industry wide adoption of the only metric that matters when determining inbox placement.

More ISPs Are Using Cloudmark. It seems like some of the largest US and European ISPs have suddenly added Cloudmark to their filtering “cocktails.” Perhaps this is because Cloudmark uses an interesting “content reputation” (my term, not theirs) filtering approach. In 2008, we’ll figure out what this means for deliverability.

Spamhaus Rose in Importance. It’s been pretty well covered that Yahoo recently started using Spamhaus list to protect their subscribers inboxes. Therefore, it will come as no surprise that Spamhaus will continue to be the most widely used black list in 2008.

More Feedback Loops Were Implemented. Yahoo, Comcast and others have feedback loops in the early stages based on the need for senders to better monitor and manage complaint data. As a result of its growing popularity, I expect others will arise in the new year Since feedback loops are a great way to keep track of complaints – a prime factor in determining sender reputation. When available, marketers will sign up for these FBLs as they provide useful and actionable information that will aid in maintaining a good sender reputation.

DKIM becomes a standard. DKIM became an Internet standard in 2007. We have seen some adoption of DKIM in 2007. In 2008, DKIM will become an important part of many commercial email systems and a few large ISPs. It won’t be a hard requirement yet, but anyone who hasn’t been paying attention will have to rush to catch up.

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