September 13, 2004, 12:00 AM

25% of e-mail service providers not equipped to fully deliver, study says

25% of e-mail service providers recently studied by Jupiter Research don’t provide enough services to assure e-mail delivery, and some fail to offer the functionality needed to comply with the federal CAN Spam Act, Jupiter Research reports.

25% of e-mail service providers recently studied by Jupiter Research don’t provide enough services to assure e-mail delivery, and some fail to offer the functionality needed to comply with the federal CAN Spam Act, Jupiter Research reports. "Marketers should be highly critical of the ESPs’ deliverability and CAN Spam functionality and services capability, as these features are necessary in order for marketers to mitigate the risks of doing e-mail marketing," said David Daniels, research director and the lead analyst involved in producing the report, "E-Mail Marketing Buyer’s Guide." The study is based on a study Jupiter conducted in June of 28 e-mail service providers.

The report notes, for example, that a quarter of the vendors it studied were not publishing e-mail sender details as required under AOL’s sender policy framework program, or SPF, which AOL is beginning to require to let e-mail arrive in its subscribers’ inboxes. The study also notes that only 50% of the e-mail service providers provide a feature to check that e-mail messages comply with CAN Spam, which, for instance, requires commercial e-mail to clearly identify the sender in the "from" column and to provide an opt-out link in the message itself.

The report also notes that 61% of the e-mail service providers in the study manipulate their e-mail deliverability rates by not including hard bounces (e-mail messages bounced back because of an invalid address) in their calculations. Jupiter adds, however, that ESPs appear to following a common market practice rather than intentionally misleading clients.

Jupiter adds that many core e-mail features are not yet ubiquitous in the ESP market. Although key features such as campaign scheduling and mail-merge personalization were standard in all reviewed applications, other core features like testing and list hygiene were not standard, Jupiter says. And while an earlier Jupiter study found that 75% of ESPs found that dynamically triggered e-mail campaigns were important, only 54% of ESPs in the Buyer’s Guide study offered triggers as a standard feature.

Jupiter divided the 28 ESPs in its study into two groups of full-service and middle-market providers. In the full and collaborative service provider category, Jupiter noted as market leaders Bigfoot Interactive, Digital Impact, DoubleClick, E-Dialog, Exact Target, Silverpop and Yesmail. In the middle market category, it cited the market leaders as Blue Sky Factory, Lyris and Skylist.

 

 

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