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Email Privacy & Sender Reputation: Why Your Business Should Care

It is virtually impossible to avoid using an email address; email is one of the world’s primary means of communication and an important form of online identification. The value of this data has lead to a “Gold Rush” mentality among organizations where the current paradigm is to purchase, scrape, or even guess email addresses in an effort to connect with individuals. Wanted or not.

These practices have lead to innovations in user privacy to include a concept known as opt-in compliance. There are two primary types of opt-in compliance: single opt-in and confirmed opt-in. Single opt-in means that an individual has submitted their email address in a permission-based manner such as through account or newsletter signup. Confirmed opt-in means that the individual also received an email, or other reaffirmation step, containing a request to confirm they intended to opt-in.

Equally as important as an individual’s email address and privacy is an organization’s sender reputation, also known as a Sender Score (https://www.senderscore.org/). This score is comprised of several common factors such as:

  • Sending to spam traps
  • Existence on blacklists
  • Spam complaints
  • Volume of email being sent
  • Filtering rates & more

Your sender reputation is how a service provider identifies your network and data’s trustworthiness. ISPs expect that their network will not be used to facilitate abuse. In fact, entire organizations have been established to help create, educate, and enforce rules and regulations that govern email communication best practices.

The greatest threat from a poor sender reputation is the inability to communicate using the world’s most popular medium: email. If emails are being filtered as spam or bouncing entirely, relevant information does not reach the audience. If an audience cannot be reached, sales conversions suffer, communication gets lost, money is wasted, and efficiency is reduced. Whether you provide network services or rely on them, a clean reputation is critical to operating an efficient, productive business.

You can preserve or improve your sender reputation through permission-based email communication and practices, also known as opt-in compliance; organizations must respect an individual’s privacy and ask for permission to contact them. Give them the opportunity to willingly submit their email address and express interest in your organization. Maintain an opt-in compliant methodology to avoid spam traps, spam complaints, and ending up on blacklists.

Form.io, a combined Form and API data management platform, understood the importance of opt-in email data quality and the ease in which they could solve this pain point for their customers. Since they already provide a powerful, easy-to-use service for creating serverless form-based applications, they sought a complimentary API integration to bring even more value to their customers.

Kickbox was a natural fit for Form.io and a service our customers were asking for. As the only combined FORM & API platform available, companies across every major business vertical use the Form.io platform to rapidly develop form-based applications ranging from simple prototype’s to complex data management applications. There is often a need to collect email addresses within these apps, and our customers want to be sure the addresses entered into their apps are verified before they hit their databases.

“The Kickbox API was remarkably easy to implement into the Form.io platform and integrate into our customer applications” , says Travis Tidwell, CTO of Form.io. “It is a solid API with great documentation and their sandbox environment is really nice to test api end points. Additionally, they had integration libraries that made it very quick and easy to use with no additional development on our end.

Permission-based data collection is important as privacy concerns increase for world citizens. Laws and regulations materialize to help protect the privacy of individuals who use the internet and expose their personal data in exchange for services or communication. Among the data provided for virtually any purpose is an individual’s email address. Like our physical mailboxes, our digital mailboxes can quickly become cluttered with junk we have no interest in. Our privacy is diminished when companies we have never heard of begin sending us messages that we never signed up for.

Adhering to opt-in compliance best practices helps an organization in several ways. Among the benefits is the confidence that an individual is interested in its content and has willingly provided their email address where they can be reached. This translates to better engagement, return on investment, brand reputation, and user satisfaction.

At Kickbox, respecting privacy means enforcing a strong privacy policy for our customers and opt-in compliance for all email data processed on our platform. When communicating with mail servers or transmitting data over ISP networks, it is paramount that this data has been collected in a permission-based manner.

Maintaining an opt-in compliant service is not just a requirement to play ball in the email industry, it’s simply the right thing to do. If Kickbox allowed our platform to be used for verifying directory harvested, purchased, or scraped email data, we would find ourselves in the crosshairs of ISPs and our sender reputation would suffer. We would undo all of the effort that went into building a reputable, trusted presence on the internet.

In an effort to promote industry best practices for email collection, we use WhoAPI as an integral part of our automated compliance system. This system enables us to identify potential risks to our network. At any point during the customer onboarding process, we can determine good and bad-fit data prior to furthering the relationship and creating a poor experience for our customers.

Following a similar philosophy to WhoAPI, Kickbox designed its email verification API to be fast, secure, and lightweight. This enables developers to quickly build robust solutions to capture high quality, opt-in email data at the point-of-capture. Your customers are giving permission to be contacted, they want to hear from you, and providing a valid email address ensures the email will be delivered, inherently improving your sender reputation across the board.

Written by Dan Stevens

Dan previously founded a company that builds email anti-spam and anti-virus technology to help prevent bad actors from reaching the inbox. Kickbox was conceived as a solution to poor email data quality and to help marketers reach the inbox.

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