Bolstering Authentication in the Direct Marketing Community

Back in 2005, when commercial emailers started adopting authentication en masse, the Direct Marketing Association stuck its neck out a bit and took a leadership position by requiring that all of its member companies authenticate their email.

Of course, this was much easier said than done. First, marketers found authentication confusing and weren’t sure exactly what standards to implement or how to do it from a technical standpoint, or how to ensure comprehensive enterprise-wide authentication across all outbound email servers, including those of vendors and partners. And then, for the DMA, tracking compliance was nearly impossible in a comprehensive way, although secret shopping and spot checking have been producing positive results since authentication became de rigeur (apparently, I am feeling very French today).

In my role as chairman of the DMA’s Interactive Marketing Advisory Board I saw a great opportunity to use Return Path’s Sender Score technology to help solve both of these problems. The result is the soon-to-be-launched Email Reputation Registry (see official announcement here). DMA member companies will be able to use the service to register their domains and IP addresses, find out if they are properly authenticating their outbound email (including corporate email), and get information to help them authenticate.

Of course, authentication is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to email best practices. So the registry will also provide DMA members with a valuable report card on their email reputation, including CAN-SPAM compliance, infrastructure security checks, and end user spam complaints.

The registry will also make it much easier for the DMA to monitor compliance among its members. Ultimately the DMA will be able to provide the email community with detailed data on how companies do and don’t comply with the protocols and offer targeted training for marketers who need assistance getting their programs up to snuff.

The registry will launch later this summer with a pilot group of companies and will be available to all DMA member companies this fall.

If you are ready to get serious about authentication now, check out our step-by-step guide to authentication. Then, be sure to register all your domains later this year. Bonne chance!

minute read

Popular stories



BriteVerify email verification ensures that an email address actually exists in real-time


The #1 global data quality tool used by thousands of Salesforce admins


Insights and deliverability guidance from the only all-in-one email marketing solution

GridBuddy Cloud

Transform how you interact with your data through the versatility of grids.

Return Path

World-class deliverability applications to optimize email marketing programs

Trust Assessments

A revolutionary new solution for assessing Salesforce data quality


Validity for Email

Increase inbox placement and maximize subscriber reach with clean and actionable data

Validity for Data Management

Simplify data management with solutions that improve data quality and increase CRM adoption

Validity for Sales Productivity

Give your sales team back hours per day with tools designed to increase productivity and mitigate pipeline risks in real-time