New York, NY – February 22, 2010 – Return Path, the leading email deliverability and reputation management company, today released its Email Delivery Imperatives guide outlining best practices for email senders in 2010. According to Return Path, email senders should be prepared to:

  • Implement email authentication, specifically DKIM
  • Apply for email whitelists
  • Prepare for increased focus on developing user engagement metrics by ISPs

“Almost 95% of email messages at one point in 2009 were classified as spam, according to a recent study,” said George Bilbrey, President, Return Path. “As ISPs battle the onslaught of spam , the risks increase that legitimate senders’ will find their emails mislabeled as spam or junk and not reach consumers’ inboxes. After talking with ISPs about trends for 2010, we identified three key strategies senders should focus on to help ISPs properly identify their mail and ensure delivery to the inbox.”

Implement email authenticationDomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is a security standard that allows ISPs to verify the IP address that sent an email. In addition to allowing ISPs to readily identify a legitimate sender’s emails, DKIM also hampers fraudsters from using an established brand for phishing – sending emails that appear legitimate but aren’t.

Google, AOL, and Yahoo! currently use DKIM as one email verification measure. Yahoo! also requires DKIM for access to their feedback loop. Return Path reveals in the Email Delivery Imperatives best practice guide that other ISPs have confirmed that they are making significant investments in DKIM.

Apply for email whitelists – Whitelists allow ISPs to easily identify legitimate emails amidst the glut of spam emails and give increased functionality to trusted senders. For example, Return Path’s Certification Program automatically enables links and images for emails sent to Hotmail.

However, whitelists don’t allow email senders to enroll, then put their sending practices on autopilot. Senders must continue their email best practices to stay on the whitelist.

Prepare for an increased focus on engagement metrics – ISPs are increasingly developing engagement metrics to find the legitimate email needles in the haystack. For example, Yahoo! is tracking the time an email stays in users inboxes before it’s deleted. ISPs will develop a variety of engagement metrics in 2010 to identify legitimate email, including tracking messages that users find in their junk or spam folders and mark as “not spam.”

The Return Path Email Delivery Imperatives: Responding Successfully to Emerging Trends in 2010 best practice guide is available for download at

About Return Path
Founded in 1999, Return Path helps commercial email senders get more email delivered to the inbox. Our tools and services give senders the insight and resources to diagnose and prevent email deliverability and rendering failures by improving and maintaining their email sending reputations. Our Professional Services division then helps our client improve ROI and response by creating consistent and compelling subscriber experiences across the email customer lifecycle. Return Path runs the internet’s most widely used third-party whitelist, the Return Path Certification Program. Return Path also invented the Sender Score, an email reputation measure based on data contributed by ISPs and other receivers of large volume email into the Return Path Reputation Network. We offer free access to our Sender Score to any sender, receiver or consumer of email at our reputation portal: Information about Return Path can be found at

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