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Interview with Matt Blumberg

Mark Brownlow posted an interview with Matt Blumberg, CEO of ReturnPath, about the merger with Habeas. It is well worth a read.
I have not yet commented on the merger and how this is going to affect the delivery industry because I am not sure how it will. Some of the effect is dependent on what ReturnPath does with the two companies and how their policies change. Here at Word to the Wise, we have known the folks at both companies for a very long time.
One thing that strikes me about this merger is that it means there are few direct competitors left in the delivery market. Everyone currently in the whitelist / delivery certification market seems to have a slightly different target audience and slightly different business model.
ReturnPath has SenderScore Certified and the Safelist. To get on these lists senders must meet criteria that, while filtered through ReturnPath, are set by the ISPs. Many senders find that they can get consistently high inbox delivery just by meeting the ISP standards, even if they are not SenderScore Certified or on the Safelist. However, certification does provide senders with an assurance that they are meeting standards.
Goodmail has their CertifiedEmail product. While certified senders must also meet criteria, they are also paying ISPs for delivery. I have always seen the Goodmail product as more focused on and more valuable for transactional senders rather than other senders. This slightly overlaps with ReturnPath’s target market, but the senders in this market do have different needs pressures.
ISIPP has their SuretyMail product. This provides a framework for senders to make statements about the email they send in a way that receivers can reliably query. This is a slightly different approach, in that ISIPP does not classify mail for their customers, but allows customers to self-classify. The benefit of ISIPP is that the ISIPP framework is trusted by their receiver-users and can push back on ISIPP if customers incorrectly self-classify.
Different markets, different business models, different approaches.

8 comments

  1. Matt Blumberg says

    Laura – happy to connect the next time I’m in the Bay Area, or otp, if you want to chat and discuss where all this is headed! There’s lots of room for everyone in the space. –Matt

  2. where is my comcast FBL? says

    I don’t think this will be good for the market, monopoly will never be good in any way. But I think a lot of sender out there dare not say anything about this, after, you might not get your FBL approved :P.
    Btw, requested for FBL setup with Comcast for the pass 2 weeks and yet to receive any approval yet. How come AOL can do it within a day?

  3. laura says

    Sure, Matt, I’d love to sit and chat next time you’re here.

  4. laura says

    My experience setting up FBLs through RP do not suggest that RP is involved in the approval. For instance, I’ve had the same customer received approval for one RP managed FBL but not for another RP managed FBL.
    This leads me to believe that RP is merely providing the infrastructure, and the companies involved are doing the approvals. I could be wrong, though.

  5. J.D. says

    You’re entirely correct, Laura: Return Path isn’t involved in the approval process for any of the FBLs we host. Only Comcast can approve an application to Comcast’s FBL.

  6. where is my comcast FBL? says

    Hi Laura and J.D.
    Thanks for the clarification, it is misleading if RP put a statement like, “Return Path operates the Official Feedback Loop Service for Comcast”. It’s frustrating when both Comcast and USA.net are taking forever to approve FBL request, when ISPs like Microsoft, AOL, United Online are able to do it within a day or two.
    We are not requesting for whitelisting, all we are asking for is FBL so that we can better managed our customers and kick those “spammer” out as soon as possible.

  7. J.D. says

    Yep, I can see how you could interpret it that way. Any suggestions for improved wording?

  8. Jayda says

    Does anyone have any reports or links as to whether Return Path are worth the thousands p.a that they charge?

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