Email Delivery is like a Night Club

Today I was sitting down with a co-worker and they asked about whitelisting. More specifically why is it that you still need to ask the recipients to add you to their address book even when your whitelisted with an ISP. To complicate this, he asked “How do you explain it simply to a client so they would understand it”.

Here is what I came up with in a simple to explain scenario that most people can relate to…

Whitelisting is like being on the guest list at a night club [ISP] – you get to by pass the longest part of the line [connection filtering] waiting to get in and generally get put in a much shorter line (or bypass the line all together). Now the bouncers [postmaster team] control the guest list for the club and decided if you get to access it, if you should be put on it or the blacklist. Usually they do this by reviewing your past participation in club activities [delivery metrics – Bounces, complaints]. If you have been good in the past and you get into the club your that much close to your recipients…

However this does not always mean you are getting direct access to the party host [subscriber] as many other things get considered; Did you remember to bring your ID [Authentication], are you dressed well enough to be in the club [content filtering], what was your past behaviour like while visiting this particular club and finally are you on the list [in the address book] for the VIP section [The inbox] to archive your goals.

I hope you enjoyed my little analogy on why you need to get in the address book as well as work with ESPs, Reputation Services and ISPs that have white listing agreements/services.

Remember you’re an invited guest, party crashers will get bounced at the door.

Author: Matt V - @emailkarma

Matthew Vernhout is a digital messaging industry veteran and Certified International Privacy Professional (Canada) (CIPP/C) with nearly two decades of experience in email marketing. Matthew is 250ok’s Director of Privacy, and he is currently the Vice Chair of the eec, after serving for several years as the Chair of their Advocacy Subcommittee. Matthew was recognized as the 2019 eec thought-leader of the year.

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  1. meen your should be mean you’re

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  2. Hummm I think I left a jacket at a Toronto night club….

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  3. A good analogy, and don’t forget to add you need to be well behaved once you are in the club so you won’t get kicked out. A good email is a good guest.

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  4. I might add that this same philosophy holds true of all marketing. When I founded RadicalMail back in 1998 (the first multimedia email company), the buzz words were 'Permission Based' and 'Opt-In'. Same is true today but on a much broader scale as smart marketers follow Matt's tenets across ALL marketing endeavors. Nice post.

    Chris Donaldson

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  5. I loved the analogy of this post until I just found what appears to be the same thing, perhaps predating this post: "How to Get Your Mail Past the Inbox Bouncers" by Stefan Pollard for ClickZ, May 20, 2009. I don't see a date on this post, but the first comment was on May 27th. So it makes me wonder.

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  6. Interesting that Stefan and I would write something similar, Purely coincidence I assure you. I wrote this article with no knowledge of Stefan's post prior to your note.

    As stated, this was the result of a discussion with a co-worker Just minutes before writing and posting.

    thanks for the link I'll go check it out.

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