Jun 23 2005

Sender Score: Credit Scores for Emailers

Sender Score:  Credit Scores for Emailers

Yesterday, I wrote about email authentication, and why, although it’s great, it won’t stop spam without the emergence and scaling of accreditation and reputation systems.

Today, Return Path has announced the beta launch of Sender Score, our new reputation management system.  Sender Score is a groundbreaking service that we’ve been working on for a long time here.  The best way to think about it (or the analog analog, as Brad might say) is as a FICO or credit score for email.

We’ve gone out and compiled TONS of data about emailers, much as the credit bureaus do when they gather financial profile and transaction data about individuals and businesses.  But our data, when aggregated and modeled, represents an emailer’s reputation — are they a “good risk” to let into your email network, or are they a “bad risk” to be treated separately?

What kind of data?  It’s the same data that ISPs and sys admins use to block and filter most emailers…variables such as complaint data, e-mail send volume, unknown user volume, security practices, identity stability, and unsubscribe functionality.  The system tracks 60 different data points and draws data from a diverse sample of more than 40 million email boxes.  The data comes from lots of different places, some from our own systems, and some from partner ISPs and other tech/filtering/data companies we’ve partnered with such as Cloudmark and Lashback.

This is powerful stuff.  The main thing we do with the data is provide it back to email marketers and publishers in a format that’s easy to understand and act on.  It’s like the free credit report many banks offer their customers so their customers can see themselves as potential creditors see them, then work to shore up the weak spots in their profile so they’re more likely to get the next loan/mortgage/approval.

Sender Score rounds out our Delivery Assurance offerings by adding reputation management to accreditation, monitoring, and professional services offerings.  With authentication gaining steam out there as a backdrop to all of this…we’re a lot closer to solving spam and false positives than we’ve ever been.