Get to the E-Mail Summit

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The Email Authentication Summit II is this week. If you are a provider of e-mail services or a legitimate sender of e-mail, you or your colleagues need to be in Chicago April 19. Under discussion is the reputation of e-mail as a marketing and communications medium.

The issue is serious. Spam, phishing, identity theft, abuse and fraud have exasperated consumers. If Pew Research is to be believed, more than 50 percent of consumers trust e-mail less and about 25 percent use it less. As StrongMail Systems' Dave Lewis notes, e-mail's reliability has suffered, too. Twenty percent to 30 percent of legitimate, opt-in e-mail gets caught in spam filters.

Marketers already have taken notice of this alarming situation, but not in the way they should. Quoting an estimate, Mr. Lewis says only 40 percent of e-mail is being authenticated. This means only four out of 10 e-mails have gone through the necessary, industry-recommended hoops to identify the sender to the Internet service provider. If the gatekeeper - AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Gmail, EarthLink and so on - doesn't know who you are there's little chance of being admitted in the future.

Please read Mr. Lewis' tips on the subject along with Christine Blank's coverage of authentication issues in the April 17 issue of DM News, the next and in our DM News daily online newsletter and on

Looking at the summit's agenda, the one thing missing in the speaker list was the e-mail marketer's participation. Advertisers and marketers have to step out of the shadows. They must speak up. They're the ones who stand to lose the most if the cold, dead hand of government clamps on a do-not-e-mail list. Over-regulation is not the cure, but it may be administered soon. I'm not in favor of medieval Swiss physician Paracelsus' solution: the dose makes the poison.

Mickey Alam Khan is editor in chief of DM News. His editorial appears Mondays on and in our e-mail newsletter. You can subscribe to our e-mail newsletters by visiting

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