Sender Score Certified
Return Path, which is a Flatiron portfolio company, is on a tear right now with it's "spring cleaning".
Just yesterday, I blogged about the launch of their groundbreaking reputation database for commercial mailers called Sender Score Reputation Monitor.
Then yesterday Return Path announced that they had completely rebuilt their Bonded Sender whitelist service around the Sender Score database and were relaunching it as Sender Score Certified.
Long time readers of this blog may remember my outraged post in response to AOL's Goodmail announcement. It wasn't the idea of a paid stamps program that irritated me so much (although clearly it has irritated many people), it was the idea that AOL was exclusively adopting one approach to whitelisting while walking away from what I believe is a better way. AOL changed it's tune pretty quickly on the exclusivity thing and I've been quiet about that issue since.
I believe that reputation can be measured on the Internet if you take the time and energy to do it right. In the case of who is a spammer and who is not, Return Path has built a very important service. Sender Score measures over 60 data points on over 50 million email addresses. They have built a vast database on commercial mailers and have scored every single one of them and will update that score over time to reflect current behavior.
So it's a smart move to use that Sender Score data to power a whitelist. And that is what Sender Score Certified is. There are other aspects to it, including accredidation services by TRUSTe, SpamCop complaint data, and several others, but the big deal is the Sender Score data and the ability to whitelist commercial mailers based on their observed behavior over time.
Paid stamps might be a good idea, we will see. But I believe Sender Score Certified and the reputation data that powers it will be a better approach. I am betting on it.