Managing relationships starts with reputation

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For months now, vendors have been pushing the topic of monitoring and maintaining your on-line reputation. In the very cottage industry of e-mail, it seems there are more companies springing up to inform you about your online reputation than photographers gathered around Alec Baldwin these days. Why is that?

The fact is, much of what folks talk about as reputation is not a new thing, it has existed for years. Blocklists are a form of negative reputation. Whitelists, conversely, are a form of positive reputation. Internet service providers have been holding the axe of user complaints, aka feedback reputation, over the heads of senders for years now as a way of determining the goodness of an e-mailer.

We ourselves have been aggregating and maintaining a reputation data network of several million receiving systems for years. And why? Perhaps, all this energy was directed to the moment last week when Microsoft announced that they would begin throttling the connections of new senders not by whether or not they were on a whitelist but solely by the established reputation of that sender. A reputation is a blended view of the sending volume and complaints over time.

So are you interested in maintaining the relationships you enjoy today with your customer? All the former rules apply with regard to message content and construction.

But, whereas you may have found blocklists, whitelists and other reputation information an inconvenient annoyance in the past, the future is going to be very different. Your customer relationships are going to start with that reputation or your customer relationships won't be.

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