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Over the past decade, I have been hearing the same excuses, and I have not seen significant improvement in sender behavior. In fact, over the past 18 months, I have seen the clients of ESPs get away with murder. In the past, I have theorized that ESP clients’ are engaging in questionable/bad practices because of economic pressures, and ESPs allow these practices to continue due to the same pressures. Unfortunately, that is not acceptable. You cannot park in a No Parking Zone instead of paying for street parking without facing consequences of a ticket or being towed. Other laws and regulations do not become more lax during hard economic times, the holidays, or at the end of the year, so why should there be an exception in email?

This past year, Cloudmark has been conducting ESP outreach to promote open and transparent communication between ESPs and anti-spam vendors/receivers.  We understand the senders’ role in the email ecosystem. Although it is important to block and filter spam from being delivered to the inbox, it is just as important to allow permissioned, legitimate, wanted email to be delivered to the awaiting recipient.

However, if senders engage in practices which abuse the recipient (e.g., lack of explicit permission, lack of relevancy, excessive frequency) and/or abuse the receiver (e.g., circumventing filters, obfuscating identity, rotating IP space), it is the responsibility of the entire email ecosystem to take action to preserve email as a viable channel of communication. Historically, anti-spam vendors, receivers, and recipients have been bearing the load and addressing these issues. It is time for ESPs and senders to do the same. ESPs, if you are serious about reducing abusive messages being sent through you as well as preventing your company (reputation, account managers, deliverability folks, etc) and industry from being abused, then I am willing to help and provide as much input and insight as I can. However, if it is just lip-service, I cannot help you unless you are willing to help yourselves.

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