New Authentication Service Gets ISP Buy-in

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An e-mail authentication service begun late last week differs from some other authentication services in that two major ISPs have embraced it.


AOL and Yahoo said they would implement Mountain View, CA-based Goodmail's CertifiedEmail system over the next few months. The two ISPs will let the CertifiedEmail symbol appear in their members' inboxes, assuring users that the message is from an accredited sender.


"The big difference here is the ISPs' buy-in. We're hearing from senders that they are very optimistic because this is assuring delivery to the inbox without delivery and content filtering," said John Karpovich, co-founder of e-mail software firm Port25 Solutions Inc., Baltimore, which is working with Goodmail to deploy the system.


Though Yahoo already has its DomainKeys system in place -- for e-mail senders that have implemented the technology -- its executives view the CertifiedEmail mark as another way to provide assurance.


"By highlighting transactional messages such as bank statements and receipts as 'certified' in Yahoo Mail, we'll make it easier for our users to determine which messages come from trusted businesses," said Andy Spillane, vice president of Yahoo Mail.


AOL is on board because the system will "widen the gap between the amount of good e-mail we want our users to get and the dwindling amount of bad e-mails they might get," said Barry Appelman, senior vice president and chief Web strategist at AOL.


CertifiedEmail may also cover more bases for senders because it is based on several factors, including reputation of the sender, instead of just authentication.


"Authentication is great to a point, but it only verifies that it [e-mail] was sent from their systems and doesn't factor in reputation," Karpovich said.


Meanwhile, e-mail infrastructure firm StrongMail Systems Inc., Redwood Shores, CA, announced an alliance with Goodmail yesterday to integrate Goodmail systems' functionality into all of its software and appliance products. This gives Strongmail customers the option to enable Goodmail's CertifiedEmail service.


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