Controlling messaging costs

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Barry Abel
Barry Abel

For every message that doesn't make it to the intended inbox, the bottom line takes a direct hit. The No. 1 reason why mail doesn't get delivered is infrastructure. Infrastructure in the e-mail world means MTA (Message Transfer Agent) and is the way your company presents itself to the ISP community.

But most companies' sending infrastructures are not conducive to handling large volumes of outbound mail. Common sending architecture falls into two camps. The first is composed of open source solutions such as Sendmail, which requires dozens of servers to meet volume and speed requirements.

The second includes early-to-market spam engines intended to send high volumes of mail, but without the control features required to secure delivery and a positive reputation. Neither approach is optimal.

There are, however, several ways companies can optimize their infrastructure to reduce costs and improve deliverability.

Improve infrastructure performance There is a tremendous cost to running servers, so if you can reduce the number you need to support, you automatically reduce costs. Adopting a solution that will allow each server to send millions of messages per hour with ability to maintain 100k concurrent connections, results in a 10:1 hardware reduction.

Insist on virtual IP support By adopting an infrastructure that supports virtual IPs — the ability to segment traffic by unlimited IP addresses on a server — you can optimize your throughput for each type of mail you send to each ISP.

Cluster servers This will allow you to configure, manage and support all servers from a single interface.

Establish bounce classifications and a list hygiene process This will decrease mailing costs, because you've eliminated bad addresses by setting up an automated way to handle bounced mail.

Obtain workflow and policy management capability Being able to set mail processing policies in advance saves admin time and processing power. Setting thresholds to alert admin of deliverability problems will help catch problems early so they can be corrected.

Prepare for authentication To prevent messages from being blocked by ISPs using authentication technology, establish a policy to mark e-mail with DKIM and Sender ID.

Adopt e-mail monitoring E-mail monitoring lets you know if your message landed in the inbox, a junk folder or was blocked by a spam catcher. Knowing this can give you a better chance of making changes that will get you to more inboxes.

Insist on real-time reporting With real-time analytics, adjustments can be made before sending subsequent campaigns.

Barry Abel is vice president of field operations at Message Systems. He can be reached at


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