Mourning the Loss of

Wow, how time flies. It's been more than a year since fell off the face of the internet.

Remember what that was? It was an astroturf site (i.e. a fake grass roots community movement) trying to strike fear in the hearts of us mere mortals about how the end of email was nigh. Goodmail would rule the land, they said. You wouldn't be able to deliver email to AOL without paying a fee, they said. Join with us to put pressure on AOL, else email breaks forever for everyone.

Complete balogna, those of us in the email industry said. Turns out, common sense prevailed. They were wrong. Goodmail is used by some, but in my reckoning, the vast majority of people, organizations, companies I know of sending to their mailing lists, are sending to AOL just fine, without having to pay a cent to AOL or Goodmail.

The few that struggle? It's because they have issues with list hygiene, engagement, or permission. I knew for a fact back then that MoveOn had significant list hygiene and permission issues. (I am not up to date on them currently; so I'm not speaking to current status. I just don't know.) But back then, they had problems with forged subscriptions and list sharing, the kind of problematic stuff that gets you blocked, no matter what year it is, and no matter what the email landscape looks like.

And they partnered with the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation). EFF does some good things, but they just do not get it about spam. Their desired solutions to the spam problem seem to involve giving spammers hugs and let end recipients sort it all out on their own. This scales horribly and means you'd be receiving with hundreds (or more) pieces of spam every day to deal with on your own. EFF co-founder John Gilmore, famously ran an open relaying mail server for many years, personally allowing his own resources to repeatedly be used as a public annoyance vector and spam delivery mechanism. He's not exactly known for exemplifying thought leadership on the abuse prevention front, or for being knowledgeable on the best practices required for managing a mailing list.

Enough about that. On a more interesting note, AOL's postmaster team has recently started up a blog. It's recommended reading if you work in email delivery or spam fighting; it offers up free insight into how one of the biggest receiving domains on earth works. I've bookmarked it, and you should, too.


  1. Hee hee. If MoveOn were correct in their prognosticative abilities, Goodmail would not have been giving away their services for free for the past year. In the interests of full disclosure, I work for a GM competitor, but still.

    There is much value beyond deliverability regarding full-service certification programs such as Sender Score Certified; there isn't a day that goes by that we don't spot a compromised client server, shut them down on the spot and work with them to fix the problem.

    We watch for DNSBL listings, provide ample feedback on bounce rates, spamtrap hits, of course receiving site complaints, and perhaps most importantly, provide strict guidance as to list hygiene, subscriber-facing privacy policies and permission disclosure statements, working to the betterment of the email ecosystem as a whole.

    This might sound like jive, but my daily work says otherwise. We really are making good mail better.

    Neil Schwartzman
    Sender Score Certified
    Standards & Security


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