Yahoo, Cisco Offering E-Mail Verification

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To combat spam and phishing, Yahoo and Cisco Systems are launching a technology to verify the origins of e-mail messages.

Their combined technology, DomainKeys Identified Mail, will be offered to the industry royalty free.

"One of the primary tools spammers have in their arsenal is e-mail forgery," said Miles Libbey, anti-spam product manager for Yahoo. "This technology allows us to identify that e-mail as a forgery. By taking that arrow out of their quiver, it makes it easier to say this message is spam or not spam."

In another announcement made this week, the Email Service Provider Coalition issued an e-mail authentication position at the Inbox West 2005 conference in San Jose, CA. The coalition mandated that all of its members -- including DoubleClick, Return Path and other e-mail firms -- implement authentication protocols for their corporate and affiliate e-mail.

"Consumers are on the verge of losing confidence in e-mail and conducting online business transactions," the ESPC position statement said.

Though 97 percent of its members authenticate outbound client e-mail and 73 percent authenticate both client and corporate e-mail, all members must now authenticate both corporate and affiliate e-mail, the statement said.

The DKIM e-mail authentication technology uses key cryptography to let users verify and maintain message integrity and clearly identifies legitimate messages. It is particularly useful for companies that send transactional e-mail to consumers, such as banks, utilities and e-commerce services.

"For these companies, providing customers with a means to detect fraudulent e-mail can translate directly into increased user satisfaction, reduced customer care costs and strengthened brand reputation," according to a statement from Yahoo and Cisco.

The technology is being offered to the industry for free because, Libbey said, "The benefit of a technology like this comes from wide deployment."

Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, 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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