Arguing against the anti-spam policy


Not long ago I was talking with a colleague who works for an ESP.  She was telling me about this new client who is in the process of negotiating a contract. Normally she doesn’t get involved in negotiations, but the sales group brought her. It seems this new client is attempting to remove all mention of the anti-spam policy from the contract. As she is the deliverability and compliance person, the sales people won’t agree unless compliance does.
Her sales team needs props for bringing her in to negotiate a contract where the anti-spam clause is removed.
This isn’t that unusual situation. Many well managed ESPs will include deliverability and compliance personnel in negotiations if the customer indicates they want changes to the language of the anti spam clause.
On the face of thing it seems reasonable for customers to want to negotiate compliance terms. They want to protect themselves from unexpected outages. It seems irresponsible to allow a service provider to have the ability to made such a business affecting decision.
Many folks try to negotiate their way out of anti-spam clauses. Just asking for changes isn’t a big deal. However, some companies push the issue with sales and contract folks to an extreme. They threaten to not sign if the anti-spam clauses are removed completely. ContractForBlog
Threatening a contract over compliance issues can poison an entire working relationship. The fact is that most people who argue about anti-spam clauses and compliance issues are people who have had problems with other ESPs in the past. For better or worse, prospects that try and remove anti-spam clauses from contracts are often problem customers.
On the compliance side, if someone is pushing hard to get the spam clause removed, they think a few different things:

  1. This client has had trouble with other ESPs in the past and possibly been disconnected.
  2. This client thinks they’ll violate our policy and don’t want to be subject to those rules.
  3. This client thinks deliverability is all about the ESP.
  4. This client doesn’t follow even the bare minimum of best practices.
  5. This is going to be a high maintenance customer.

I understand the concern about service interruptions. I understand that email is a critical part of many businesses. But asking for the anti-spam portion of the contract to be struck isn’t going to guarantee your mail will always get through.
Instead of asking for exemptions to the anti-spam policy, you can express concerns about service interruptions and ask to work with compliance to limit the chances of surprise disconnections.
You can, of course, always ask. But beware of any ESP that agrees. What other customers got exceptions? How bad is the ESP reputation?

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  • There is always going to be one or a few ESPs that will happily take on bad customers that cause issues with abuse/spam/compliance because it is all about the monies. Short term vs long term. How many ESPs actively include vetting as part of the sales process?

  • Either you’ve been very unlucky, or you’re not very familiar with real-world successful ESPs to suggest few of them use vetting as part of the sales process.

  • Most ESPs geared towards larger businesses and organizations use vetting as part of the sales process. This vetting usually includes at least a minimal deliverability component, and sometimes a full compliance review.
    The ESPs targeting the SMB market often have low barriers to entry (web sign-up, etc), but usually have methods (automated and/or human-controlled) that try to identify problematic new accounts and limit their sending or disable them.

By laura

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