Return Path to Buy Bonded Sender

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E-mail marketing firm Return Path Inc. is expected to announce today that it will purchase Bonded Sender, a whitelist that supposedly covers 35 percent of e-mail addresses worldwide.

The seller -- e-mail security provider IronPort Systems in San Bruno, CA -- will continue to support Bonded Sender. It also will gain an undisclosed equity stake in Return Path, New York, and a seat on the acquirer's board for IronPort founder/CEO Scott Weiss.

"The need that it fills for Return Path clients is a method by which they can have guaranteed delivery [of e-mails] if they qualify across a very large portion of the receiving world," said George Bilbrey, vice president and general manager of delivery assurance solutions at Return Path's Superior, CO, office.

Bonded Sender aims to help legitimate senders of e-mail identify themselves and boost delivery rates. Its acquisition comes less than a year after Return Path's purchase of online list firm NetCreations, New York.

Users of Bonded Sender include Microsoft's MSN and Hotmail services, Time Warner's Roadrunner and the Spam Assassin spam filter. More than 35,000 corporate domains also use the whitelist.

Under the Bonded Sender program, legitimate senders of e-mail post a bond to guarantee that the e-mail they send is not spam. End users complaining that they received spam from a bonded e-mail service can result in the bond's debit on a per-complaint basis.

TrustE offers certification, third-party oversight and dispute resolution for Bonded Sender. The agency monitors sender complaint rates and audits compliance with the program's standards.

Return Path clients will have to pay to use Bonded Sender.

"There will be additional costs associated with Bonded Sender," Bilbrey said. "We're still thinking about pricing."

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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