by Jeremy Malin
Software and Operations Manager, Real Magnet

With the release of their CertifiedDomain™ service, Goodmail now has two offerings for certifying senders and their e-mail.  CertifiedEmail™, has been their long standing service and will continue to exist.  The purpose here is to compare the two services and look at why you might choose one service over the other to help improve deliverability.

CertifiedDomain™

CertifiedDomain™ is a domain-based whitelist of email senders that have been approved by Goodmail.  The approval process consists of a short survey where they take a look at how the sender collects and maintains their recipient list as well as checking across several other databases to ensure the sending has a good reputation.  It appears as though the certification process is not as extensive as the process for CertifiedEmail™, however, given the reputation of Goodmail, it is probably safe to assume that removal from the list will be swift for those that violate the terms of the program.

The CertifiedDomain™ service works like a white list, except it is at the domain level rather than at the IP level.  Email servers, whether corporate (e.g. yourcompany.com) or personal (e.g. gmail.com, yahoo.com) would be able to point to this list of senders and use the list as a criteria in judging whether to allow or block the email from the sender.  The decision may combine this service with other reputation based services, including blacklists, other whitelist services, or other internal metrics.  These other metrics, include factors such as open rates and links clicked that measure engagement are becoming more common when the email service is deciding whether to allow or block the message or whether it will end up in the inbox or junk mail folder.  The text file of the CertifiedDomain™ whitelist is available here.

CertifiedEmail™

CertifiedEmail™, on the other hand, is a service that will certify the sender and guarantee delivery of emails to the inbox with images and links available to certain domains.  The certification process for this is more extensive; if you can pass this certification, you should be able to pass the one for CertifiedDomain™.

This service has established relationships with several of the larger email services out there, including AOL, Yahoo!, Comcast, Cox and others.  Messages being sent to these domains will be delivered to the inbox with links and images available.  Messages sent to other domains, however, do not receive any additional benefit from the service.

Summary

Each service has its positive side.  The CertifiedDomain™ service will potentially assist with delivery across a large range of domains, both B2B and B2C.  The CertifiedEmail™ service will guarantee delivery at the partner domains.  If most of your email is B2C, sent to individuals at their personal email accounts, you will probably receive a large benefit from CertifiedEmail™.  If you are sending a large volume of B2B emails or most of your accounts are not at the domains supported by CertifiedEmail™, then CertifiedDomain™ would be a better choice.  It does not look like the two have to be mutually exclusive either.

Fees for the two services are also different.  CertifiedDomain™ has a one-time application fee.  No other fees are listed, however, there may be annual or monthly fees associated with the program.  CertifiedEmail™, on the other hand, is charged for each email sent through the program.  The cost per email is small, but depending on volume, this can be a larger fee.  Essentially, with CertifiedEmail™, the more you send, the more you pay.  However, you know those emails are being delivered and are getting to the inbox.  With CertifiedDomain™, the fees are fixed, but there are no guarantees.