January 2016: The Month in Email
Happy 2016! We started off the year with a few different “predictions” posts. As always, I don’t expect to be right about everything, but it’s a useful exercise for us to look forward and think about where things are headed.
I joined nine other email experts for a Sparkpost webinar on 2016 predictions, which was a lot of fun (see my wrap up post here), and then I wrote a long post about security and authentication, which I think will be THE major topic in email this year both in policy and in practice (see my post about an exploit involving Trend Micro and another about hijacked Verizon addresses). Expect to hear more about this 2016 continues.
My other exciting January project was the launch of my “Ask Laura” column, which I hope will prove a great resource for people with questions about email. Please let me know if you have any questions you’d like to see me answer for your company or your clients — I’ll obscure any identifying information and generalize the answers to be most widely applicable for our readers.
In other industry news, it’s worth noting that Germany has ruled it illegal to harvest users’ address books (as Facebook and other services do). Why does that make sense? Because we’re seeing more and more phishing and scams that rely on social engineering.
In best practices, I wrote about triggered and transactional emails, how they differ, and what to consider when implementing them as part of your email program. Steve describes an easy-to-implement best practice that marketers often ignore: craft your mails so the most important information is shown as text.
I re-published an older post about SMTP rules that has a configuration checklist you might find useful as you troubleshoot any issues. And a newer issue you might be seeing is port25 blocking, which is important if you are hosting your own email senders or using SMTP to send to your ESP.
Finally, I put together some thoughts about reporting abuse. We work closely with high-volume abuse desks who use our Abacus software, and we know that it’s often not worth the time for an individual to report an incident – but I still think it’s worthwhile to have the infrastructure in place, and I wrote about why that is.