Email Expert – Andrew Barrett reveals the ESPs Dirty Secret
By: Email Expert
We were very pleased at the opportunity afforded to us by Andrew as he has a significant amount of experience in the email business and offers true insight into some of the thinking at a major ESP. Discussing the fact that many in the Email Service Providers marketplace have begun staking out high-value niche markets and that some other ESPs are finding it hard to compete he reveals one of the industries ‘dirty little secrets’. Before we find out more about what makes the industry tick, and allow him to bare all, first we wanted to ask Andrew how it is like so many other leading figures in the anti-spam wars finds himself working at an ESP.
Knight Errant of the Spam Wars
Andrew explains “You’re referring to my work as Legislative Coordinator for SpamFree, as well as my brief tenure with MAPS, and my time as Executive Director of the SpamCon Foundation. Each of these roles or entities had a very strong educational component to them, which has always held great appeal for me. But among all of the various constituencies we worked with, the one that needed the education the most was the senders – the least likely group to (willingly) seek us out for help.
Working at an ESP is, remarkably enough, a fantastic place to effect change among people who want to send a lot of e-mail. It’s the exact opposite of a relationship that begins with a block listing. The relationship does not start from adversarial positions. Senders are seeking guidance – paying you for it – and tend to be far more receptive, and tend to ask more good questions. They’re actually listening.
The Anti-Spam Army
But one of the biggest reasons I’m here at all is the esprit de corps I feel for some of the folks I’ve worked with in the very earliest days. They’re all still around, and deserve all the credit for the fact that virtually every ESP worth its salt upholds as best common sender practices the same radical gospel we were preaching in 1996: Mickey Chandler and Al Iverson of Exact Target, Laura Atkins of Word to the Wise, J. D. Falk at Return Path, Kelly Molloy at SpamCop, Peter Popovich, David Romerstein and Jamie Tomasello of Cloudmark – all ex-MAPSters. And, of course, Neil Schwartzman of Return Path, who only narrowly escaped becoming a MAPSter (and therefore a fellow ex-MAPSter) in the first place.
What is the ESPs dirty secret?
The dirty secret of the ESP industry is that it’s essentially commoditized. The ESP provides the technical platform and correct provisioning, but it’s the client that does the rest – they are far more responsible for their own success than they
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