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E-mail Accreditation CEOs Debate Pay to Send

CHICAGO – A panel of e-mail accreditation and reputation providers debated the merits of paying to send e-mails at the Email Authentication Summit yesterday.

While AOL and Goodmail have come under fire for charging senders that want to have their e-mail delivered using the CertifiedEmail accreditation system, Habeas and Return Path also charge senders to have their e-mails accredited.

“It is very unclear what role payment will have at the end of the day. That’s a nice theory, but there’s no price at which everyone who is a good guy can afford it,” said Matt Blumberg, CEO of Return Path, New York.

Return Path recently removed the financial bond requirement from its Bonded Sender program – and renamed it Sender Score Certified- because the bond was not a disincentive to senders, according to Blumberg.

“The bond was irrelevant. The disincentive was getting kicked out of the program,” Blumberg said.

But Richard Gingras, CEO of Goodmail Systems, said CertifiedEmail cannot exist without a sender pay model. “It has to be there, or you will not have that end result,” Gingras said.

In addition, CertifiedEmail’s fee-per-e-mail message is the “only appropriate pricing”, allowing small businesses that send a low volume of e-mail to “get in at a very low price”.

Ideally, Des Cahill, CEO of Habeas, said he would like to see a world where e-mail senders don’t have to pay for delivery. However, senders will “make their own determination on what they are willing to pay for,” Cahill said.

Despite some controversy in the e-mail accreditation industry, the panelists said they are seeing a growing interest from senders in adopting authentication and reputation systems.

“We’ve seen an uptick in business. In 2006, there is more awareness about reputation and authentication,” Cahill said.

The e-mail marketing [community] is beginning to realize that the world of e-mail marketing is changing. It is tremendously effective, but it can’t operate the same way it was,” Gingras said.

Meanwhile, Gingras was asked how many e-mail senders the company is turning away from the Goodmail’s CertifiedEmail program.

“75 to 80 percent are rejected, for a variety of reasons. Most fail because their sending practices and prior reputations are not up to snuff,” Gingras said.

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