Check out the tweets from my AMA webinar sponsored by Message Systems today.
Thanks to the AMA and Message Systems for having me.
I have been thinking about what you said in the webinar for the last few days. You are stating that the mailbox providers are all going to more content/domain reputation and engagement indicators more than just IP reputation. I asked during the webinar about how that holds for non-webmail ISPs and corporate mail systems, and you said they were doing it too.
I am curious how you believe companies like McAfee (a.k.a. MX Logic, the company we use) get the engagement signals back from their customers. Once the mail is filtered by them and forwarded to my corporate system, there’s literally zero feedback they get unless they’ve misclassified the message. They have no idea how long I looked at it, if I clicked any links in it, trashed it without looking at it, or if I threw it in my spam folder. Only if I forward it to their “this is spam” email address do they know, and that takes a fair bit of effort.
Similarly, if I have a spam filtering appliance in front of my corporate mail server, there are no signals going back to it.
I don’t believe you can say that this new individualized filtering is happening anywhere except the large webmail providers like GMail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and the like. They just are not receiving the data back from the end user to do so.
A lot of corporate filtering is actually happening in the mail client. It’s not McAfee that’s filtering based on engagement it’s the filters built into Outlook or Mail.app or Lotus or whatever mail client you’re using. These filters learn how a user is interacting with mail and filter based on that. Your desktop knows what you did with an email and can learn what to do with those emails in the future. Some of the filtering companies even have software that runs on your desktop. Cloudmark certainly does have a plugin for users. McAfee started as a desktop filter, so it’s conceivable that if you’re using their desktop filters, they actually monitoring what happens on the individual user machine and feeding that info out to the central filters.
Desktop filters in the corporate environment are the first engagement and individualized filters and are one of the major challenges with delivering into a B2B environment. It’s much, much easier to learn what the user wants when they’re using a desktop mail client.
There are also a lot of small (and even some big) businesses outsourcing their email to Gmail or Microsoft or Yahoo, and all the engagement filters apply there.
On the corporate level there is absolutely nothing new about individual filtering based on engagement. What’s new is that the ISPs can now do that level of filtering for their webmail users.
I’ve done webinars before talking about how corporate mail goes through multiple filters: at the SMTP transaction level, after receipt before delivery to the end user and at the individual mail client. In webmail, there really is no mail client. So what the ISPs are doing with individualized filtering is trying to replicate functionality that’s been in the mail client for years.
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