2headingIn recent years, email marketers had to deal with different spam filtering technologies, besides putting a lot of work and effort into the optimization of e-mailings in order to stand out from the growing email flood. But now everything is said to change again and now you are most probably wondering which rules remain the same and which not.

Fact is that Gmail, Google, Hotmail, Yahoo and AOL adapted their filter for the delivery of emails and set new standards that cannot be managed with purely technical understanding, accurate wording and numerous preliminary tests. Filtering in the future is now according to the commitment of the recipient, which means building, improving or deteriorating the reputation of a sender will increasingly be in the hands of the receiver.

This is not entirely new as the click of the spam button has always been an important indicator for the classification of the sender and categorization of the message. Indeed, 0.1% of spam complaints relating to the total amount of emails from a sender ring the warning bells of ISPs. Blockades of the IP have been the result for a short time or even long term, depending on the amount and action reply.

Triggers for the change

Spammers have constantly learned, and with their persistency, they could ultimately outsmart  the toughest filters. As a result, mismatched emails (so called “false positives”) increased and “good emails" were mistakenly sorted into junk boxes, while "bad emails" made it into the inboxes inspite of junk filters. Thus, what technically can’t be tricked and unerringly pursues its own interests is ultimately only the receiver itself and that’s why the new strategies of the provider apply exactly there.
Similar to the different junk filter approaches, commitment filtering is implemented by using various methods and emphasis.

Gmail, for example, has placed an inbox management (Priority Inbox), which enables the classification of all incoming emails in three separate clusters: important and unread, tagged and everything else. The recipient can then set appropriate marks, move emails and assess them.

Hotmail and AOL have similar procedures that involve the user directly, but Hotmail even goes one step further. Even if a message would actually belong into the Junk folder according to the traditional classification of the sender, it is sorted into the inbox of a receiver if he responds positively.

While marketers would measure commitment in response or sales, providers look at it differently. Clicks, for example, don’t really matter for Hotmail, but they are more interested to know if messages are deleted without being read, are read first and then deleted, answered or forwarded.

Objectives of providers
The ambition of the provider is clearly defined, as in general the requests of the email recipient take center stage. Thus, incoming email should be sorted according to personal preferences and, unerringly, relevance and false positives are to be destroyed. In addition, part of the responsibility is transferred directly to the users themselves and the recipients will benefit from simple tools that help to manage their incoming emails account, based on needs and interests. If we get, for instance, sweepstake mailings into our junk filter frequently, but would like to receive them and participate, we will still find them in our inboxes, even if they would have been spam according to previous criteria.

Requirements for email senders
Email senders are challenged to meet the new relevance requirements to save their reputation since brand awareness, loyalty and attention become more the focus of the email marketing and newsletter management. Marketing experts focus more on branding again, succinct sender identification and attention-grabbing subject lines.

Further, data pools should in future no longer be measured by their sheer amount of addresses, but the number of active receivers, although efforts to create a good sender reputation still start with the collection of addresses. The better the expectations of a recipient are defined and queried, the better he can be provided with relevant news and the higher will be his level of activity based on the sender.

In the end all participants can benefit from this new development. The provider will be released from the obligation to define for the recipient custodial of what’s spam and what’s not. The receiver can independently manage and control messages quickly and efficiently and the senders of emails can count on the interest of the recipient again through good content and thrilling campaigns and thus set a good reputation. The only drawback is that the behavior of the receiver neither can be tested nor simulated in advance, thus, at least in this respect it has been easier to cope with the "traditional spam filters".

By Daniela La Marca