It's Time for Good E-Mail

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Media firm Time Inc.'s Time Consumer Marketing Inc. unit has seen a 30 percent increase in transactions using Goodmail Systems for an e-mail campaign.

Time Inc., New York, chose to update its e-mail platform to enhance its campaigns with secured images and embedded links.

"One of the things we were having problems with ... was that subscribers were only able to see text, because the images were being blocked by many Internet servers," said Ernie Vickroy, marketing director at Time Consumer Marketing. "Clients were also unable to open links to our site in e-mails. We knew that this wasn't [as] effective as an e-mail with full HTML images and graphics that had embedded links."

Time enlisted Goodmail, Mountain View, CA, in time for a mass e-mailing to all subscribers about a new customer service feature on the site at Time certified half of the e-mails with the Goodmail CertifiedEmail system while sending the other half unsecured.

The results for the secured e-mail showed a 130 percent click-through rate, a 128 percent login rate and a 127 percent customer service option click, Mr. Vickroy said. Thirty percent of the certified e-mails were followed up with transactions.

Mr. Vickroy called this a major finding for Time given the size of the mailing. Most e-mails that Time sends are targeted campaigns, or based on user requests. This is one of the few times that the whole subscriber base was contacted through an e-mail campaign. These subscribers include readers of Fortune, Business 2.0, People, Sports Illustrated and Entertainment Weekly. The e-mail drop size wasn't disclosed.

Time will continue testing through split runs. Half of the e-mails will be Goodmail certified, and the rest not.

Goodmail's certification service lets clients become accredited with claims of assured delivery. It does so by imprinting cryptographically secure tokens on outgoing e-mail messages, which participating Internet service providers and mailbox firms like AOL and Yahoo recognize as coming from an accredited sender.

Goodmail  has a number of partnerships with large- scale ISPs. By using its software, Time can harness these relationships for more accurate deliverability.

AOL began accepting e-mails with the CertifiedEmail icon in May. The voluntary accreditation system carries a cost per e-mail, prompting initial reluctance from marketers and questions from legislators and interest groups.

"Time came to us because they wanted to maximize their e-mail deliverability with rich media beyond AOL," said John Ouren, senior vice president of sales and business development at Goodmail. "We helped them achieve this goal."

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