June 23, 2005

Sender Score: Credit Scores for Emailers

Sender Score:  Credit Scores for Emailers Yesterday, I wrote about email authentication, and why, although it’s great, it won’t stop spam without the emergence and scaling of accreditation and reputation systems. Today, Return Path has announced the beta launch of Sender Score, our new reputation management system.  Sender Score is a groundbreaking service that we’ve been working on for a long time here.  The best way to think about it (or the analog analog, as Brad might say) is as a FICO or credit score for email. We’ve gone out and compiled TONS of data about emailers, much as the credit bureaus do when they gather financial profile and transaction data about individuals and businesses.  But our data, when aggregated and modeled, represents an emailer’s reputation — are they a “good risk” to let into your email network, or are they a “bad risk” to be treated separately? What kind of data?  It’s the same data that ISPs and sys admins use to block and filter most emailers…variables such as complaint data, e-mail send volume, unknown user volume, security practices, identity stability, and unsubscribe functionality.  The system tracks 60 different data points and draws data from a diverse sample of […]


February 24, 2005

Spam, Hot Spam, Now Only $0.10 Each!

Spam, Hot Spam, Now Only $0.10 Each! By now, you may have seen news of the report from Ferris research citing the annual global economic impact of spam at $50 billion (apparently the U.S.’s share, $17 billion, is 0.17% of our gross national income). I have no doubt that spam is an expensive problem.  IT managers and sysadmins spend lots of time dealing with it, and much hardware, software, and bandwidth are consumed. But the one number that strikes me as odd in the report is that the economic impact of not having a spam filter (i.e., manually filtering spam, […]


September 15, 2004

Spam: Crisis, or Approaching Denoument?

Spam: Crisis, or Approaching Denoument? A few interesting comments on this front today. Fred says the crisis is over, everyone should just calm down. Pamela says spam filtering technology is getting really good now. And I had lunch with Saul Hansell from The New York Times today, who thinks that authentication will make a monumental difference. [For those of you who read OnlyOnce and aren’t super technical, authentication is the newest trend that ISPs are starting to employ to snuff out spammers. In a nutshell, it’s a technology like Caller ID that lets an ISP verify who’s sending the mail […]


August 5, 2004

Baby and Bathwater Redux

Katie Hafner’s article in the New York Times Circuits section today about spam and false positives is right on the mark. Spam filters are still evolving, and spammers are evolving right with them. Although the flood of spam is largely stemmed by a good filtering app, the results for consumers are still spotty: false negatives are irritating, false positives can be very painful (as the article suggests), and the process still consumes a little too much time. While the article nails the consumer problem, it does miss the corresponding business problem around false positives (see below). But things are getting […]