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Email Deliverability Quarterly: CCPA Now Being Enforced, Coronavirus’s Deliverability Impact, …

By Chad S. White

Email deliverability is constantly changing, as inbox providers adjust their filtering algorithms, blacklists tweak their listing criteria, and consumers evolve their definition of spam. That’s why even the best email marketing programs suffer deliverability problems sometimes.

To help you avoid trouble, the Email Deliverability Services team at Oracle CX Marketing Consulting shares the latest news and tips for what to watch out for. Here’s what’s going on at key inbox providers and what it means for email marketers.

CCPA Goes into Enforcement Without Delay

After being enacted on Jan. 1, the California Consumer Privacy Act went into enforcement on July 1 despite calls to delay it because of the coronavirus.

“While COVID-19 has resulted in so many things in our lives getting delayed, including the deadline for filing taxes, California is not delaying the enforcement of the CCPA, despite a coalition of more than 60 companies making a plea for a delay,” says Heather Goff, Strategic Director of Email Deliverability Services at Oracle CX Marketing Consulting. “To make matters even more challenging, California’s attorney general will have the ability to look retroactively on a business’s compliance as of Jan. 1, 2020, when CCPA went into effect.”

What this means for marketers

“The requirements of this law are not simple to fully operationalize, and many large companies rely on hundreds of vendors that may house data that will need to be accessed and possibly deleted,” says Goff. “Additionally, the regulations have undergone revisions and questions remain for many companies on how to translate the requirements into their day-to-day business processes.”

Coronavirus has complicated compliance because furloughs and layoffs have impacted compliance and privacy teams. However, Goff notes that consumers’ need for information security, control, and access has arguably never been higher as much more of our lives are likely now taking place online.

“If you have any concerns with finalizing compliance, we recommend considering a crawl, walk, run approach to shore up compliance,” she says. “This may mean processing deletion requests manually initially and working toward an automated process long term. As is often the case with legislation, making a good faith effort to document your efforts toward compliance might help you avoid fines should your company be scrutinized.”

COVID-19’s Business Disruptions May Cause Deliverability Challenges for Some

Coronavirus has suddenly impacted not only business operations, with non-essential businesses shuttered for many weeks across most of the US, but has also impacted consumer behaviors in profound ways. Some companies have responded by dramatically reducing their email volume, while others have increased theirs significantly. These erratic sending patterns can lead to deliverability problems, says Daniel Deneweth, Head of Email Deliverability Services at Oracle CX Marketing Consulting.

“Fluctuations in email sending behavior can contribute to a drop in your sender reputation,” he says. “Deliverability and spam filtering algorithms reward consistent sending behavior and may negatively score sending volatility.”

What this means for marketers

Deneweth recommends that marketers continue sending email consistently, if possible.

“If your business needs to dictate a significant change to your email marketing programs, then plan for potential disruptions and how to minimize them,” he says. “As you begin to ramp your programs back up or increase your sending volume as stores reopen and other activity picks up, you’ll want to have a plan to manage these changes to your programs. Plan to carefully ramp sending volume back up to regular levels, and to rebuild your sender reputation and stability.”

New Mailbox Provider, Hey.com, Launches with DIY Deliverability Screening

Basecamp launched its own email service last month called Hey.now. It’s aimed at consumers rather than businesses, but carries a $99 per year price tag per account. It’s received mixed reviews, but has some novel features, such as the ability to merge email threads, view all file attachments in your inbox, and “replay later” management stream.

However, the biggest difference between Hey.com and other email services is how they handle deliverability. Rather than deciding which emails to deliver to their users based on sender reputation, user engagement, and other factors, Hey.com quarantines the first email from any new sender and requires their users to decide whether to add each sender to either their safelist or blocklist using their Screener. Because they handle deliverability this way, they’re also able to offer tracking pixel blocking as an additional privacy benefit. Together, these two product features seem designed to attract consumers that are highly concerned about their online privacy.

What this means for marketers

Considering that all email users passively manage their safelist by actively adding senders to their blocklist with the single click of the report spam button, it’s not clear to us that consumers want to actively manage both their blocklist and safelist, too.

Email Inbox Collective Uses Paid Recipients to Influence Spam Filtering

The Email Inbox Collective recently launched a controversial crowdsourced approach to improving email deliverability. The company explains that it does this by “sending copies of each [client’s] message to the Collective’s network of real-life email account holders. Each time a client’s email is flagged as spam or promotional material, the recipient moves it to their primary inbox. From there, it is treated to a carefully planned combination of positive actions. With each of these positive actions, the AI routines responsible for assessing incoming messages are told that this particular email from this particular address is regarded by most users as safe, valuable, and substantial.”

What this means for marketers

“Marketers need to be careful,” says Deneweth and warns that what this company is doing may be a violation of Gmail’s terms of service and that there’s potential legal liability here, too. For instance, Microsoft sued a spammer in 2010 for allegedly gaming Hotmail’s spam filters.

“At best, you’re likely trading a short-term boost for a long-term headache,” says Deneweth. “The folks at Gmail are always on the lookout for senders trying to circumvent their safeguards rather than play by the rules.”

Want more email deliverability news and what it means for your company? Check out some of our other Email Deliverability Quarterly posts:

  • Email Deliverability Quarterly: ISP Performance Feeds, Validity Acquires 250ok, and More

  • Email Deliverability Quarterly: 1st GDPR Fine, Google Supports BIMI, and More

  • Email Deliverability Quarterly: Return Path Acquired, CCPA Update, Yahoo-AOL Merged, and More

  • Email Deliverability Quarterly: Gmail’s TensorFlow, VMG Supports List-Unsubscribe, and More

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Need help with your email deliverability? Oracle CX Marketing Consulting has more than 500 of the leading marketing minds ready to help you to achieve more with the leading marketing cloud, including an Email Deliverability Services team.

Learn more or reach out to us at CXMconsulting_ww@oracle.com.

For more insights into email and digital marketing, please visit Oracle CX Marketing.

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