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Blocking of ESPs

There’s been quite a bit of discussion on my post about upcoming changes that ESPs will be facing in the future. One thing some people read into the post is the idea that ISPs will be blocking ESPs wholesale without any regard for the quality of the mail from that company.
The idea that ESPs are at risk for blocking simply because they are ESPs has been floating around the industry based on comments by an employee at a spam filter vendor at a recent industry conference.
I talked to the company to get some clarification on what that spam filtering company is doing and hopefully to calm some of the concerns that people have.
First off, and probably most important, is that the spam filtering company in question primarily targets their service to enterprises. Filtering is an important part of this service, but it also handles email archiving, URL filtering and employee monitoring. The target market for the company is very different than the ISP market.
The ISPs are not talking about blocking indiscriminately, they are talking about blocking based on bad behavior.
Secondly, this option was driven by customer request. The customers of the spam filtering appliance were complaining about “legitimate” mail from various ESPs. Despite being reasonable targeted the mail was unrequested by the recipient. While ESPs use FBLs and other sources of complaints to clean complainers off rented or epended lists at ISPs, the option is not available for mail sent to corporations. Enterprises don’t, nor should they have to, create and support FBLs. Nor should employees be expected to unsubscribe from mail they never requested.
This option is the direct result of ESPs allowing customers to send spam.
Thirdly, this option is offered to those customers who ask for it. It is not done automatically for everyone. The option is also configurable down to the end user.
While I haven’t seen the options, nor which ESPs are affected, I expect that the ones on the list are the ones that the filtering vendor receives complaints about. If you are not allowing your customers to send spam, and are stopping them from buying lists or epending, then you probably have not come to the attention of the filtering company and are not on the list of ESPs to block.

3 comments

  1. Joshua Baer says

    That makes sense. I read your initial post the wrong way and thought you were suggesting that some ISPs or spam filtering companies were going to block all ESPs across the board. Thanks for clarifying!
    I’m a big fan of pushing things down to the user as much as possible. In fact, the solution you describe above is very similar to how OtherInbox works. The user turns it on and from that point forward ALL commercial email is pulled out of the Inbox and put in the OtherInbox. It doesn’t matter if its sent by an ESP or if its confirmed optin.

  2. Charlie says

    can you confirm the name of the spam filtering appliance?
    Would be interesting to look at.

  3. pgl says

    Just wanted to note an interesting response / statement from Cloudmark:
    . http://blog.cloudmark.com/2009/12/11/lead-follow-or-get-out-of-the-way/

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