Goodmail Teams With TRUSTe

E-mail accreditation provider Goodmail has teamed up with privacy watchdog TRUSTe to encourage email senders to obtain certification from both vendors to establish themselves as legitimate and trusted senders.

Under the agreement, companies seeking to use Goodmail’s CertifiedEmail who have also earned TRUSTe’s E-mail Privacy Seal (EPS) certification will enjoy a reduced Goodmail application fee.

TRUSTe’s EPS certification addresses permission-based email marketing practices. It requires a company to obtain opt-in consent to send commercial email, and to provide prominent notice of intended use of a user’s email address. Senders must also provide a clear unsubscribe option on all emails sent, and institute a complaint resolution process.

Goodmail’s accreditation process requires senders to meet and maintain mailing practice standards. Senders must be in business for more than a year, and have been sending emails from a dedicated IP address or through an email service provider for more than six months. They must also maintain low complaint thresholds, and agree to use CertifiedEmail for permission-based messages to existing customers, and not for prospecting or acquisition programs. Membership in AOL’s whitelist program is also recommended.

The two companies are working toward a similar goal: to restore trust to email, according to David Atlas, Goodmail’s new VP of marketing. Though they come at the issue from different angles, their solutions are complementary, he said.

“TRUSTe focuses more on the aspect of trust; it has to do with disclosure,” Atlas told ClickZ. “CertifiedEmail is about reputation, authenticity, and how people behave.”

Goodmail’s CertifiedEmail has come under fire recently via its implementation by AOL. In essence, it provides approved senders with a fast-track to inboxes of users who have already opted in to receive emails from that sender.

Opponents to AOL’s implementation of Goodmail have labeled the service an “email tax” that would allow spammers to buy their way into user inboxes. Atlas calls such claims ludicrous, and points out that Goodmail is currently rejecting more than 75 percent of applicants, many of whom are legitimate senders that have high complaint rates, he said.

Currently supported by AOL and Yahoo, CertifiedEmail messages include a cryptographic token that authenticates the email message as coming from a trusted sender, based on Goodmail’s certification standards. Depending on the ISP’s implementation, the message could then be allowed to bypass certain filters, or marked with a special trust icon in the email interface.

Goodmail plans to continue adding email service providers (ESPs) and mail transfer agents (MTAs) as partners this year. It recently signed deals with security vendors Cloudmark and Bizanga.

“We want to make sure we’re working with all different vendors. Our aim is to get CertifiedEmail as a common denominator across all our clients’ systems,” Atlas said.

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