Everything you always wanted to know about … but never dared to ask!

The day ended with a question and answer session with a panel of experts on all things related to email authentication and best practices. The Director of CSA, Julia Janssen-Holldiek, moderated the panel with Marius Bauer, Head of Deliverability Germany, Experian Marketing Services, Sebastian Fitting, Consultant at the eco Complaints Office, Thomas Fontvielle, General Secretary at Signal Spam, and Terry Zink, Program Manager at the Microsoft Corporation.

Some of the many take-aways from the discussion, questions and answers follow.When asked how they weigh their vetting process for senders, Experian pointed out that using double opt-in for mailing list is 80% of the way.

Though direct neighbors, France and Germany have different markets when it comes to email deliverability. The French market is all about self-regulation. The ISPs regulate the market and you need to learn how to work with them. The German market features more presence by law enforcement and government bodies.

Controversially, Marius Bauer was asked which countries have the lowest quality standards when it comes to email marketing. If customers based in countries where there is the biggest gap between national requirements and international best practice, then senders are not aware of international quality standards and ISPs have to step in. As Terry Zink added, the quality of email traffic seems to correlate with the country’s GDP: the lower the GDP, the higher the level of spam, with the exception of the USA. It seems linked to infrastructure and presence or lack of regulation and governmental oversight.

How problematic mailings from a non-EU sender to a non-EU recipient are dealt with by the CSA and the eco Complaints Office was a question for Sebastian Fitting. Though, of course, European law does not apply to mailings outside of Europe between non-EU parties, the CSA regulations still apply to all Certified Senders, regardless of where they are based.

Terry Zink warned that if white list providers don’t police their list effectively, Microsoft will no longer use the list. Microsoft actually already partially uses the CSA whitelist; it is referenced in the approval process for senders and abuse by Certified Senders is reported to the CSA.

A low open rate is not related to deliverability. It has more to do with reputation and content, Marius Bauer pointed out. When asked what measures Experian takes if a customer is causing problems, he replied that the focus is first on starting a conversation and then trying to figure out if the customer is planning to continue their problematic activities before taking sanctions. 

After a content-heavy day, and a quick feedback form, attendees had the chance to play hockey on the roof of the Sports Museum – parallel to the World Hockey Championship take took place in Cologne that week. Then dinner, drinks, and music gave everyone a chance to process the day’s sessions and to network and continue discussions on the banks of the river Rhine.