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What is email certification?

At BadsenderWe like this challenger! After a first round on campaign statisticsMarion Duchatelet gave me another appointment on a subject about which she had a lot of questions... Email certification (or accreditation services)! As with the first topic, I asked her to formulate 5 questions - which I think will be of interest to some of you. Please note, however, that this is just my opinion on the subject, as some of you may have a different view of email certification.

Q01: Séb, what is an accreditation service and what is it for?

I would define the accreditation service as a reputation gas pedal. I say this because I remember a warmup I did for a customer following a platform migration, and when he managed to activate Validity's IP certification, all his emails went from SPAM to INBOX overnight, and his reputation on SNDS (cf. Microsoft's reputation tracking tool) went from RED to GREEN at the same time.

To answer your question, an email certification is a service - generally subject to a fee - offered by a trusted third party (such as Validity or the Certified Senders Alliance), which will bring benefits - such as guaranteed inbox delivery, default image display or greater ability to send emails to a server... - from various operators (messaging services, anti-spam filters, etc.) who are partners of the trusted third party. Email certification is mainly based on the IP (cf. use a dedicated IP if you want to be certified), but can also be linked to the domain name.

Q02: Depending on the country of routing, is it better to subscribe or not?

That's an excellent question! I'm tempted to say yes and no!

- "Yes", because accreditation services have multiple local and international partners. So if you send campaigns to webmails belonging to their partners, you'll be able to benefit from the advantages of their certification. Imagine that in your database you have over 50% active e-mail addresses belonging to Microsoft and Yahoo. Subscribing to a certification program with these 2 webmails will guarantee you - provided that you respect good e-mailing practices, as certification is earned but can be lost at any time :p - an arrival in the inboxes of Microsoft & Yahoo!

- "No", because accreditation services don't have interesting partnerships and/or advantages with all the ISPs / Webmails / Anti-Spam Filters in the world. To find out whether it would be advantageous to subscribe (or not), the advertiser will have to analyze the domains of the email addresses in its database to assess whether there is any interest in embarking on an email certification, which I remind you costs money!

I can't hide the fact that all the advertisers I've worked with who have signed up for certification have done so mainly because of the advantages offered by Microsoft!

Q03: From what I hear, do you have to be a major account to subscribe?

On paper, not at all! Any advertiser can apply for certification, provided they meet all the criteria required by the organization. And that necessarily means complying with marketing & data best practices (the list can be long), having a dedicated and properly authenticated sending configuration, etc.

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However, everyone knows that there is (or always will be) a difference between what you read (or say) and reality... Unfortunately, on several occasions I've heard advertisers tell me that they had contacted an accreditation service and never heard back! I don't want to go into the reasons for these non-responses, but these advertisers had low volumes and would therefore have made very little money. We'd be more on the lines of: "the more you route, the more you pay", so... I'll let you become the rest 🙂

Q04: If I understand correctly, you "buy" your good deliverability from ISPs?

In a way, totally! But you only buy it from the accreditation service partners. As well as having to put money in your wallet, you'll have to comply strictly with the thresholds imposed by the certification or risk losing it (but paying for it all the same).

In the final analysis, you're also paying to respect the best practices you should be following even if you didn't have certification... Something to think about!

Q05: It was all the rage a few years ago, but now we don't really talk about it.

It's not that we don't still hear about it, but many of France's biggest advertisers have this certification.

Take Return-Path (Validity now), for example. When they first arrived on the French market, they made friends with all the routers by offering their service. It was brand new, and as some advertisers had recurring delivery problems, it was perfect timing! When RP's wallets were full, they let go of the routers to work directly with advertisers (Anecdote: it was at this point that an ex-colleague used to say every time he heard their name: "To those crooks!) They signed a lot of advertisers, which over time I think led to market saturation.

Then there's the price of certification (which, according to some sources, is still excessive) and the awareness of some advertisers: Why pay for certification when all I have to do is improve my practices to deliver better?

I don't assume that certification is useless; on the contrary, it can be a sign of confidence for users (provided they know whether the sender is certified or not).

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