DMA's E-Mail Authentication Requirement Takes Effect Feb. 1
January 31, 2006 – The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) new requirement that members employ e-mail identification and authentication systems to verify the authenticity of legitimate e-mail messages takes effect tomorrow (Wednesday, February 1). DMA on October 17 announced this new requirement, which was unanimously approved by DMA’s Board of Directors.
Specifically, the new DMA guideline states: “Marketers that use e-mail for communication and transaction purposes should adopt and use identification and authentication protocols.”
This new DMA requirement’s aim is to help make e-mail marketing even more effective. E-mail, an increasingly powerful and prominent direct marketing channel, last year generated an estimated $17.1 billion in unique sales to the US economy, according to DMA’s “Direct Marketing Today: Economic Impact 2005.”
DMA’s authentication requirement becomes the latest addition to the ethical guidelines the Association requires its members adhere to, underscoring DMA’s commitment to creating trust between marketers and consumers by setting high standards for ethical, responsible marketing practices.
To assist members to understand e-mail authentication and comply with this new requirement, DMA – along with its Ethics & Consumer Affairs Department and its Council for Responsible E-Mail (CRE) – has twice presented a virtual seminar, “Two Steps to Solving the E-Mail Delivery Crisis – Authentication and Reputation.” The virtual seminars were held December 5 and January 27. DMA will present additional virtual seminars on this topic over the next couple of months, according to Lou Mastria, DMA’s vice president of interactive and emerging media.
In addition, DMA offers numerous resources on e-mail authentication in the Antispam Section of its Web site at http://www.the-dma.org/antispam. These online resources include:
· E-Mail Authentication Compliance Assistance – This DMA document will explain what authentication is, and what you should do to implement this new guideline within your company. To access, click here http://www.the-dma.org/guidelines/E-mailAuthenticationComplianceAssistance.pdf.
· Authentication, Accreditation and Reputation for Marketers -- DMA teamed up with Epsilon Interactive to develop this white paper offering practical, plain-English advice for marketers. The white paper also delves into accreditation and reputation checks on e-mail, which are issues that marketers should be paying attention to as well. To download or view, click here http://www.the-dma.org/whitepapers/BI_DMA_AARWhitepaper.pdf.
· E-Mail Delivery Best Practices for Marketers and List Owners -- Provides a series of tactical recommendations for marketers on topics ranging from authentication practices to list hygiene to content development -- the many elements that combine to enable the successful delivery of e-mail marketing campaigns. To download or view, click here http://www.the-dma.org/antispam/EmailBPFINAL.pdf.
· EmailAuthentication.org -- A comprehensive Web site co-founded by DMA as a Steering Committee member of Email Authentication Implementation Summit 2005. The site includes free Webcasts of all sessions from the Summit as well as helpful compliance tools, resources, and news on the latest developments. To visit, click here http://www.emailauthentication.org.
If you have questions about e-mail authentication, please contact Lou Mastria, DMA’s vice president for interactive and emerging media, at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
About E-Mail Authentication
What is e-mail authentication? In short, it protects the integrity of responsible marketers’ brands and improves the likelihood that legitimate e-mail -- whether it is a marketing offer, airline ticket confirmation, or a financial statement -- arrives in its intended recipient’s e-mailbox.
This technology provides a win/win for consumers and marketers. Consumers have more confidence they are receiving a legitimate, valid offer from a trusted source, while marketers get fewer false positives, increased deliverability, and better protection for their brands against unauthorized use.
Presently, there are two major types of e-mail authentication: IP-based and cryptographic.
Their goal is the same, which is to create a master source against which to validate e-mail messages. Authentication helps create accountability, something spammers have not had to worry about.
Much of today’s spam comes from senders who forge certain aspects of e-mail messages, such as the domain name in the visible “from” field. Authentication directly attacks this type of spam because it is extremely difficult to forge the IP addresses protected by SPF/SIDF or cryptographic signatures that are utilized by e-mail authentication systems like DomainKeys and DKIM.
As these technologies achieve critical mass in the marketplace, someone sending an e-mail will be forced to accurately represent its origin. Billions of spam messages could be completely removed from circulation, meaning less clutter in e-mailboxes, more reliable delivery of our members’ legitimate communications, and a safer inbox for consumers.
Authentication solutions are already in place at major ISPs and anti-spam filtering companies, including MSN Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, Symantec Brightmail, CipherTrust, and many others.
DMA is not requiring its members to adopt any specific authentication technology, as there are several interoperable, inexpensive and easy to implement solutions available on the market today.
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