New Service Gives Assurance That E-Mail Won’t Be Blocked

SAN FRANCISCO — Among the companies and services expected to debut at the DMA show this week is Assurance Systems, a firm whose three services aim to help marketers ensure that Internet service providers don't treat their messages as spam.

As unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail increasingly pollutes the Internet and takes up bandwidth, ISPs are working to filter as much of it as possible. However, in their efforts, they often mistakenly filter non-spam marketing e-mail as well.

Assurance Systems claims it monitored 20 marketers delivering e-mail across eight ISPs for three months and found that on average, 12 percent of marketers' messages did not reach recipients' inboxes. Half of these were placed in bulk or “junk” folders; the other half were not delivered.

Assurance Systems also said that 32 percent of the participating marketers' messages would be tagged as spam by the most commonly used filtering method.

“The data indicates that stopping incorrect blockage or filtering by ISPs and Web mail providers should be a major focus for e-mail marketers,” said George Bilbrey, CEO, Assurance Systems, in a statement.

The company offers three services. The first, Message Checker, automatically identifies the elements of e-mail marketing campaigns that are most likely to trigger spam filters. “This allows marketers to make their messages look less 'spammy' before sending a campaign,” the company said.

The second service, Mailbox Monitor, allows companies to monitor when their messages are not getting through various ISPs.

The third service, Blacklist Alert, tells companies when their services have been put on any of more than 300 blacklists, or blocklists as anti-spammers and e-mail administrators refer to them.

Blocklists, such as the Spam Prevention Early Warning System, maintain lists of Internet protocal or IP addresses suspected of being sources of spam. ISPs and mail administrators can use these lists to block incoming e-mail from IP addresses listed.

It is unknown how much the service costs. Bilbrey was not reachable yesterday.

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