Pivotal Veracity Eases E-Mailing to China

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E-mail delivery provider Pivotal Veracity has developed a service for marketers looking to get their e-mails into Chinese inboxes.

Observers often regard China as a sleeping giant because the Chinese people represent a large population of the world's potential Internet users with only a small proportion of individuals actually online. But the difference in culture from the West alongside government regulation has made China a tough nut to crack for marketers.

"Several months ago we launched an international program that was primarily targeted at western Europe and the Middle East," said Michelle Eichner, chief operating officer and vice president of client services at Pivotal Veracity, Phoenix. "The program has done well, and many of our clients and partners requested this service for China."

Working closely with client Eloqua, a Toronto-based business-to-business firm with Chinese speakers in-house, Pivotal Veracity signed up with the main Internet service providers in China. The ISP list includes Sina, 163.com, Netease, Sohu and 123.com to facilitate a dialogue between Western marketers and Chinese hosts.

The service offers delivery tracking, which follows an e-mail to its destination at inboxes, spam folders or complete non-delivery. This lets marketers analyze the problem that led to the e-mail's blockage and try to manipulate the content to become a receivable message.

Pivotal Veracity's service also includes e-mail rendering for language and text as well as regulatory compliance to update users on China's governmental regulations.

One major discovery is that Chinese ISPs often block the image server at www.akami.net, a common image host site used by thousands of companies. With this knowledge, marketers can reformat the imagery in promotional e-mails without using Akami in order to land in the target's inbox.

Another approach has been whitelisting. Marketers can apply for whitelisting status directly to the ISPs. This covers 100 million Chinese e-mail addresses. Pivotal Veracity partner-client Acxiom Direct has provided this service to whitelist the site at www.nba.com in China. The National Basketball Association site's second-largest customer base outside the United States is -- surprise -- China.

Earlier this year, China's Ministry of Information Industry released Decree No. 38, which details the measures and administration for e-mail service practices. This policy aims to combat the reputation for spam that China faces internationally. China is the No. 2 originator of spam worldwide. The United States is No. 1.

Pivotal Veracity claims to be one of the first e-mail carriers to offer a product tailored to target the Chinese market. This development is strategic in a growing global economy, especially as China is inching its way up from being the world's fourth-largest economy.

"Looking forward, we will continue to launch and expand in new areas and to track ISP regulations globally," Ms. Eichner said.

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