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Bonar on being a Global Deliverability Professional

Mickey Chandler, Senior Policy Compliance Specialist at ExactTarget, one of the ‘deliverability giants’ wrote a post about the recent Delivra whitepaper “The Great Deliverability Myth” on his blog Spamtacular. Mickey specifically made several references to my response to that Report “Bonar calls BS on the great deliverability myth“.

As he is a man with an immense amount of experience, for which he earns an immense amount of respect from me and many others in the community and the fact it was a great blog post, I felt it worthy of a response. I responded in rather epic fashion, and thought it appropriate to share those comments more widely. At the time of publication my comments are awaiting moderation, but you can read them here now…

Great post Mickey, and thanks for the mentions. I am so glad you posted it, because I would love the community to have a wide open transparent debate about these things across the web. I would love us to get away from the voodoo and some kind of back ring mythical mafioso that some may like to perpetrate.

I agree ‘Deliverability really isn’t about who you know anymore’ (was it ever really?). In your words  ‘It’s all about how you perform’ absolutely true, my premise is simply that you need your program to perform on ‘all’ levels- this includes technical. I can honestly say I have never responded to an RFP for my professional services so that was not the impetus for my response, although it may well have been Laura’s. The point in fact is the paper was not targeting consultants but ESPs.

My main argument was in respect of the technical aspects, I felt that the relationships argument was Laura’s primarily. To state all ESPs are technically equal I maintain is a fallacy.

You say your experience differs from mine and this is likely so. You said you don’t get the opportunity to work with outstanding programs that are sparkling and shiny and you are only called in when a reputation is somehow tarnished, whilst that would still be the bulk of my work, when working directly with senders, I do get to work with those that have got sparkly shiny programs. In those cases the gaps have generally been technical.

Having worked publicly and privately with over half a dozen of the worlds largest ESP’s and senders in North America, Europe and APAC provisioning a multi-tenant environment resolving things relating to IP management, FBL configurations, bounce handling and other issues, I know from personal experience that issues of a technical nature are not something limited to self provisioning senders. I know you too have copious experience in the multi-tenant environment.

But first to speak of relationships…

I read an article recently on calling BS on the experts, and one of the things it stated is experts should give specific examples other than theory, I will try to do that here, whilst protecting the identities of the innocent (and guilty).

Some people believe that in the early days of email in North America, relationships counted for a lot, when things where in their infancy, it needs to be borne in mind that in many parts of the world the channel is still in its infancy,  some are way ahead of the loop despite of this (take Russia for example).

We are not simply talking about BRIC economies here and how professional relationships may benefit you in the Latam, Russia and China. This has also been relevant in places like France. As a case in point, in France, privacy regulations have prevented any kind of real FBL, thankfully an issue SignalSpam has addressed very well just this past month.

Without a trusted professional relationship you couldn’t get very much feedback at all as an ESP you were in the dark.  If you wanted the postmaster to go out of his way on a daily basis to compile a list of problem senders, programs and specific campaigns, you sure as hell better have the kind of relationship that means the person generating that information on a semi manual basis knows that you will be acting on it.

To assume a flat world, where everyone is playing by the same rules in respect of the email channel would be naive at best, cultural differences and regional issues are just two of the factors I touched on in my ESPC presentation last year (unfortunately I will not be able to make it to DC next week) entitled “Building Global ISP Relationships” http://www.slideshare.net/mrbonar/building-global-isp-relationship – considering I have put my name to ‘receiver relationship building’ its no surprise I have to defend my position against the Delivra/Magill report.

I am too of the belief in North America where much of the systems are almost completely automated, tried and tested, and where often the brightest and the best of the Abuse desk staff have moved over to sender side and where we find over stretched and under-resourced teams the value of relationships is dwindling to almost insignificant. However to give specific examples to the contrary, whilst you have innovation in Europe, Russia and other parts of the world, in some you find a total dearth of understanding around how enterprise commercial mailers operate.

In some parts of the world you have crazy (imho) stuff happening like ISP initiated challenge-response . As I said before I am not a fan of the term ‘personal’ really when we are talking about a professional relationship. My professional relationships have resulted in my sitting in offices with postmasters who control just as many mailboxes as one of the big 5 in North America for example, learning they had a complete lack of understanding of why Verp is even important, and having to illustrate that no, (none) uniform sender-from, reply-to, et al. does not equate to ‘spammer’. I believe the conversation and resultant changes in that ISP’s FBL program has been of benefit to all senders to that particularly large mailbox provider.

In the same way, when I flew my client from North America to China, a client who did have a sparkly program as well as sparkly reputation to meet directly with the Postmaster and the technical team, that was possible due to a professional relationship. The fact they engaged at that meeting meant we were able to discover a bug in the FBL which meant my client was not getting the information they needed to run the program they wanted through no fault of their own, we also resolved the bug at that same meeting.

The truth of the matter is these relationships speeded up process’ at times, had those who had engaged my professional services persevered for long enough they would probably have got the same result, but in todays economy time is money. You say about your relationships  “as far as it’s ever gotten me has been ‘the benefit of the doubt’ when trying something off of the wall”, that benefit of the doubt probably gave you an opportunity to resolve that clients issues in a fraction of the time. Likely it would have taken much longer for resolution had you not had that benefit, or you would never even have suggested something ‘off the wall’ in the first instance.

Thanks again for the mentions and the opportunity to elaborate on some of the points in my blog post.

Andrew Bonar

The founder of emailexpert.org, Andrew Bonar currently resides not far from Sydney in Australia where he performs his primary role as Postmaster for self-service ESP Campaign Monitor

In the past two years alone Andrew has been responsible for the delivery of in excess of 120 Billion messages. With more than 15 years of industry experience, Andrew is widely recognised as a leader in the field of message sending, deliverability and compliance.

In 1996, he co-founded the UK’s oldest privately held ISP, Cheapnet Ltd. In 1998, launched the UK’s first privately held eCommerce payment systems: eBanx Ltd, and in 2003 he launched two of the very first ESP’s in Europe: MailPhoenix and eMailGenie.

From 2006 Andrew served as an independent consultant at organisations throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and the US. More recently serving as Worldwide Director of Deliverability at Emailvision, managing deliverability operations in 22 Countries. Andrew continues developing and evangelising best practices in permission-based marketing with clients and industry associations and travels extensively in Asia, Europe and North America to fulfil these obligations.

One Comment;

  1. Michael-John Kinne said:

    Hello Andrew,

    I particularly enjoyed your post (found via LinkedIn). I have worked in some fairly heavy industries in the USA that are not aware of just what an issue they can create by not checking their data input properly, let alone the other points you’ve raised.

    Thank you for sharing your response so widely, your thoughts have been very helpful with my own efforts in planning to provide overall system quality in the email/web marketing channels.


Comments are closed.