An easy reference guide to help understand the most common terminology used in the world of email compliance.
An Advertiser is any Company and/or Brand that utilizes email as a marketing medium to solicit transactions from consumers through various promotional and sales offers. While Advertising can be seen as necessary for economic growth, it is not without social costs. Unsolicited Commercial Email and other forms of SPAM have become so prevalent that now it is a major nuisance to users of these services, as well as being a financial burden on internet service providers.
In regard to OPTIZMO: Advertisers are our clients. Advertisers are simply companies, large and small, that want to utilize the OPTIZMO system to manage their Opt-In and Opt-Out/Suppression Lists for a robust, compliant email marketing Campaign.
Affiliate / Affiliate Network
An Affiliate Network acts as an intermediary between Affiliates and Advertisers. It allows Affiliates to more easily find and participate in Affiliate Programs which are suitable for their website, email list, or other marketing activities (and thus generate income from those programs), and allows Advertisers offering Affiliate Programs to reach a larger audience by promoting their Affiliate Programs to all of the Publishers/Affiliates participating in the Affiliate Network.
Revenue: Traditional Affiliate Networks (sometimes called Percentage-of-Sale Networks) enable Advertisers to offer Affiliates a share of any revenue that is generated by the Advertiser from visitors the Affiliate drives to its website. Another payout model is called Cost-per-Action (CPA) which involves an Advertiser paying an Affiliate a predetermined commission every time they drive a user to complete a specific action (filling out a lead form, signing up for a newsletter, purchasing a product, downloading a document, etc.). CPA campaigns are also sometimes defined more specifically as Cost-per-Install (for mobile app downloads) or Cost-per-Lead (for lead generation programs).
Services & Benefits: For Advertisers, Affiliate Network services and benefits may include tracking technology, reporting tools, payment processing, and access to a large database of Affiliates. For Affiliates, services and benefits can include simplifying the process of registering for one or more Affiliate Programs, reporting tools, and payment aggregation.
Costs: Affiliates are generally able to join Affiliate Networks at no cost, whereas there is generally a fee for Advertisers to participate. Traditional Affiliate Networks might charge an initial set-up fee and/or a recurring fee on every successful sale, lead, etc. driven by an Affiliate. It is also common for Affiliate Networks to charge Advertisers a percentage of the commissions paid to Affiliates.
In regard to OPTIZMO: Mailers can be Affiliates/Affiliate Networks, ESP’s, and Publishers. Advertisers utilize Mailers to send out email campaigns on their behalf. What makes an Affiliate/Affiliate Network unique is that they have their own existing lists that they will scrub/cleanse against an Advertiser’s Suppression List (this could be an unsubscribe or opt out list or an existing customer list).
A Campaign is basically an identifier for an Advertiser’s marketing efforts. Campaigns typically refer to specific Advertiser offerings, such as “Buy One Get One Free – During January” or “1st Month Free Promo”.
In regard to OPTIZMO: An Advertiser creates a Campaign in the OPTIZMO system to manage current, future and past email Campaigns. Each Campaign has an associated Mailer(s) that has access to each individual Campaign for a designated amount of time.
CAN-SPAM Act of 2003
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 is a federal law that sets guidelines for companies or individuals that send commercial or marketing email campaigns, whether on their own behalf or on the behalf of others. The law includes a set of specific rules for email marketers to follow that allow them to send different types of commercial marketing email. In particular, the law creates the guidelines for sending unsolicited commercial email, making it legal, so long as marketers comply with the rules. One of the major components of the law is the requirement that all marketing email include a method for the recipient to Opt-Out or Unsubscribe from future mailings. Advertisers are charged with collecting those Unsubscribe requests and honoring them within 10 business days. For more information on CAN-SPAM and email compliance, visit our updated blog pos: The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and What it Means for Email Marketers in 2019.
Cleansing / Scrubbing
Cleansing or Scrubbing is the process through which you remove duplicates, Opt-Outs, or more simply organize your email lists. If you market your business via email, you must rely on a clean email list to communicate with current and potential customers.
If customers have asked to be removed from your email list but you have not made these requested changes, you could be liable under spam legislation, such as CAN-SPAM. If you are sending your marketing messages to the invalid or incorrect email addresses, you are wasting your marketing dollars and not making the contacts you need. It is important to understand what Cleaning or Scrubbing email lists involves and what it can do for your business.
- Are some of your employees making frequent typos in data entry, resulting in inaccurate information in your databases?
- Are you buying lists from a potentially unreliable provider?
- Are your in-house solutions not removing duplicates and unsubscribes?
- Are you leaving yourself open for CAN-SPAM violations?
If you find that your email list is turning up many errors or you need to update often, consider digging deeper to find out where the problem occurs.
Run a clean email list and you will have clean results. The major benefit of understanding list Cleansing/Scrubbing is that you can identify and solve larger problems to keep your lists current, clean and effective!
Complimentary Managed Domain
In SUPPRESS, every client is provided with a complimentary Opt-Out Domain, for use with their Opt-Out processing. Advertisers can provide Opt-Out Links based on this Domain to their Mailers for use in their email Campaigns. SUPPRESS is still able to identify Opt-Out Requests generated by each Mailer, even if they are all using the same Default Opt-Out Domain.
SUPPRESS provides robust Domain and IP Address management functionality, including the ability to reqest, provision, and manage multiple Managed Domains and IP Addresses.
As a part of using 3rd party or affiliate Mailers to email on a company’s behalf, the advertiser/company likely needs to distribute approved email creative (subject lines, images, text, etc.) to all those 3rd parties. This can be done manually or by using a tool like OPTIZMO’s Creative Distribution Manager. OPTIZMO allows Advertisers and Affiliate Networks the ability to upload email campaign creative into the OPTIZMO system, prior to sending it out for internal compliance checks, to auto-embed unique Opt-Out links, as well as the ability to receive the post-send creative back from the recipient to identify any changes made by mailers and sub-mailers. For more information, check out our Creative Distribution page.
Sometimes Mailers send non-compliant emails to their email lists – either not honoring a prior Opt-Out request or possibly using unapproved creative. OPTIZMO requests creative from recipients who submit a complaint and make that creative available for Advertisers to evaluate, improving future compliance and protecting your brand image. Added to our Alert Notifications & Analytics capabilities, this Recipient Feedback Loop provides an extra level of compliance monitoring.
While every OPTIZMO client is provided with a complimentary Managed Domain for use in collecting Opt-Out Requests, many clients prefer to create one or more additional domains for use within their account. These are called Custom Domains and they describe domain names that clients have obtained through outside domain name registrars and then loaded into SUPPRESS for use in their email campaigns.
Custom Domains and Managed Domains can all be managed through the Add a Domain section within SUPPRESS.
Dedupe is a term that comes from the traditional offline list management world. It described the action of taking 2 or more databases (lists), comparing them to identify duplicate records and delivering an output file that removes those duplicates. The term is also referred to as merge/purge or described as file comparison. The process is leveraged in a number of aspects of the direct marketing industry, including email marketing. A typical use case would involve a marketer purchasing or renting lists from 3rd parties. Often the marketer would need to determine the number of unique records these outside lists would provide, when compared against their own internal list. This might be for the purpose of deciding whether to move forward with the transaction, establishing a cost for the list rental, or to produce a clean list of unique ‘mailable’ records after all lists are combined.
In regard to OPTIZMO: Our COMPARE product delivers the industry’s most cost-effective dedupe or merge/purge solution to agencies, advertisers, and other companies in need of this type of on-demand capability. For more information visit our COMPARE page or contact our sales team.
In email marketing, Deltas refer to the changes in email lists. Because of the amount of time and bandwidth used to download mailing lists, subscriber lists, or Opt-Out lists, many Advertisers look for solutions allowing them to download “Deltas Only” OR “Changes”, instead of downloading and scrubbing/cleansing the entire list every time a download is needed.
In regard to OPTIZMO: When the Advertiser creates a Campaign, and assigns a Mailer, the Advertiser has the choice of how the Mailer will upload and download the lists – Deltas Only is one of the options.
As users of the Internet, we all use Domain Names every time we surf the web. These names publicly identify the websites we visit for news, shopping, entertainment, and any other website/page we visit. Domains can also be used for a variety of other purposes, but these are the ones people are most familiar with.
In technical terms, a Domain Name is a name that identifies an IP Address. Alphanumeric Domain Names came into being at least partly because they are easier for people to use, understand, and remember than the actual IP Address (which is simply a string of numbers separated by periods). A single Domain Name can identify one or more IP Addresses. Multiple Domain Names can also point to a single IP Address.
In regard to OPTIZMO: Every OPTIZMO client is provided with a complimentary Managed Opt-Out Domain for use in collecting and processing Opt-Out requests. Clients have the option to change that Default Domain and/or add multiple Opt-Out Domains through the Managed Domain & IP Service within their SUPPRESS accounts.
Domain Suppression is the process through which an Advertiser suppresses an entire email domain such as .edu, .gov, .org, and so on, from email campaigns. The benefit of Domain Suppression is that an Advertiser and a Mailer can avoid liability and negative exposure by sending email to a high ranking domain that would not likely welcome unsolicited emails.
Email Compliance, often referred to as CAN-SPAM (in the U.S.), is currently regulated by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Established in 2003, it has created standards for the sending of commercial email and requires the FTC to enforce its provisions.
The acronym CAN-SPAM derives from the bill’s full name: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003.
It would seem that the business needs surrounding email are hard enough for organizations to manage, however, there has been a recent surge of global government regulation that affect this form of communication. These laws, which affect large and small companies alike in practically every industry, include protecting confidential consumer information, corporate governance, law enforcement investigations, and the overall need to ensure that email is being used and managed properly within the legislation and jurisdiction of government and regulatory agencies.
OPTIZMO: Email Compliance to the nth degree. We have included resources on our site to help you familiarize yourself with the CAN-SPAM Act and understand both the benefits and liabilities these regulations have on your business. You can also find an updated blog post with information on the impact of CAN-SPAM in 2019.
Email marketing is a form of direct marketing which uses email as a means of communicating commercial or fundraising messages to an audience. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. However, the term is usually used to refer to:
- Sending emails with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of an advertiser with its current or previous customers and to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business.
- Sending emails with the purpose of acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately.
- Adding advertisements to emails sent by other companies to their customers.
Researchers estimated that over 281 billion emails will be sent daily in 2018 (including commercial/business and personal messages).
Email marketing is popular with companies for a number of reasons:
- A mailing list provides the ability to distribute information to a wide range of specific, potential customers at a relatively low cost.
- Compared to other media investments such as direct mail or printed newsletters, e-mail is less expensive (often much less).
- An exact return on investment can be tracked (“track to basket”) and has proven to be very high when done properly. Email marketing is often reported as second only to search marketing as the most effective online marketing tactic.
- The delivery time for an email message is short (i.e., seconds or minutes) as compared to a mailed advertisement (i.e., one or more days).
- An advertiser is able to “push” the message to its audience, as opposed to website-based advertising, which relies on a customer to visit a website.
- Email messages are easy to track. An advertiser can track users via autoresponders, web bugs, bounce messages, unsubscribe requests, read receipts, click-throughs, and various other metrics. These mechanisms can be used to measure open rates, positive or negative responses, and to correlate sales with marketing efforts.
- Advertisers can generate repeat business affordably and automatically.
- Advertisers can reach substantial numbers of email subscribers who have opted in (i.e., consented) to receive email communications on subjects of interest to them.
- Over half of Internet users check or send e-mail on a typical day, according to multiple reports.
- Specific types of interaction with messages can trigger (1) other messages to be delivered automatically, or (2) other events, such as updating the profile of the recipient to indicate a specific interest category.
- Email marketing is paper-free (i.e., “green”).
- Tracking and response metrics enables fine tuning and optimization of the email marketing channel through a process of testing different variants and calculation of statistically significant results.
Email Service Provider (ESP)
An Email Service Provider (ESP) offers email marketing or bulk email services. Neither of these terms should be confused with spam or the sending of unwanted or unsolicited bulk email of a marketing or otherwise offensive nature.
An ESP will provide a wealth of tracking information showing the status of email sent to each member of your address list. ESPs also typically provide the ability to segment an address list into interest groups or categories, allowing the user (Advertiser) to send targeted information to people who value the correspondence.
In regard to OPTIZMO: An Advertiser might go to an ESP to utilize their services to power the Advertiser’s email marketing program. In turn, the Advertiser sets up an account with OPTIZMO, so we can manage their Suppression Lists. The Advertiser would then give the ESP (or Mailer) access to the OPTIZMO system to either/both upload and download the appropriate lists for emailing purposes.
An IP Address (sometimes called an IP for short) is a unique ‘address’ that identifies a device on the internet or a local network. IP Addresses serve two principal functions: the identification of a host or network interface and location addressing. IP Addresses are unique and no two devices can have the same IP Address.
IP Addresses also relate directly to Internet domains. Each Domain Name actually points to an IP Address (or multiple IP Addresses), which are the actual ‘addresses’ for the domain. So, every website is connected to one or more IP Addresses. IP Addresses can also change, without changing an associated Domain Name or device. You can see an example of this is you identify your IP Address when using your mobile device while connected to a wi-fi network vs. when it is connected to your mobile carrier’s wireless service. The IP Address will be different, depending on how your device is connecting to the Internet.
In regard to OPTIZMO: Every OPTIZMO client is assigned a complimentary Opt-Out Domain (and may also leverage multiple domains within their SUPPRESS account). Every one of these Domain points to an IP Address. With our Managed Domain & IP Service, clients can obtain new IP Addresses for use with their Opt-Out Domains, directly from the SUPPRESS platform.
IP Address Management
Along with Managed Domains, OPTIZMO also provides clients with the ability to obtain and assign IP Addresses within SUPPRESS through its Managed Domain & IP Service features. The process is included in the Domains & IPs section of the platform and is connected with obtaining a new Managed Domain. At the time a request is submitted for a new Managed Domain to be set up, the client may also request additional IP Addresses be created and provisioned within their account.
List seeding refers to the best practice and security process in which an email list is seeded with email addresses used to identify potential email violations. Seed addresses are embedded into an Opt-Out list and if that address receives a marketing email, the violator can be tracked through their IP address and that info can be provided to the Advertiser and/or the authoritative agency having jurisdiction.
In addition to Default Domains and Custom Domains, OPTIZMO provides clients with a third option for managing their Opt-Out Domains. Managed Domains are domains which the client requests through the SUPPRESS platform, and OPTIZMO manages the purchase of those domains on the client’s behalf. From the client’s standpoint, this process takes place entirely within SUPPRESS and they do not need to handle the registration the domains, arrange hosting, or any other aspect of domain name registration/management.
A Mailer is any person and/or company that sends commercial email. This can refer to Advertisers (if they send their own emails), Affiliates/Networks, Agencies, and Email Service Providers (ESPs). In many cases, large Advertisers will contract Affiliates and/or ESP’s to send email on their behalf.
In regard to OPTIZMO: In the OPTIZMO System, a Mailer is the general term used for anyone that is given access to upload and download lists (which would then be suppressed from that Mailer’s email drop). Generally the Advertiser gives access to an Affiliate/Affiliate Network or an ESP which are all considered “Mailers” in our system.
MD5 (Message-Digest algorithm 5) is considered the industry standard for encrypting email addresses. MD5 is an alpha-numeric hash that cannot be reverse engineered to show plain text email addresses, therefore making it difficult for an unsavory Affiliates / ESPs / Mailers or others to gain access to your list and use it for unauthorized purposes.
In regard to OPTIZMO: Some Advertisers want the added security that only MD5 can provide. This means the Mailers cannot see the contents of your email list (as each individual email is encrypted), making your list well protected.
Merge/Purge is a term often used to describe a process whereby multiple ‘lists’ are merged together, with duplicate records being removed from the output. The process is used in many types of direct marketing, including email marketing. Often times a marketer may want to purchase or rent lists from 3rd parties. They may need to determine the number of new records these outside lists would provide, when compared against their own internal list, for purposes of deciding whether to move forward with the transaction, establishing a cost for the list rental, or to produce a clean list of unique ‘mailable’ records after all lists are combined.
In regard to OPTIZMO: Our COMPARE product delivers the industry’s most cost-effective merge/purge solution to agencies, advertisers, and other companies in need of this type of on-demand capability. For more information visit our COMPARE page or contact our sales team.
You can also learn more about Merge/Purge from this blog post.
Opt-In / Mailing List
Not to be mistaken with “Subscriber List”
Opt-In email advertising, or permission marketing, is a method of advertising via email whereby the recipient of the advertisement has consented to receive it. A common example of permission marketing is a newsletter sent to an Advertiser’s customers. Such newsletters inform customers of upcoming events or promotions, or new products. In this type of advertising, a company that wants to send a newsletter to their customers may ask them at the point of purchase if they would like to receive the newsletter.
With a foundation of Opt-In contact information stored in their database, marketers can send promotional materials automatically. They can also segment their promotions to specific market segments.
Opt-in email marketing may evolve into a technology that uses a handshake protocol between the sender and receiver. This system is intended to eventually result in a high degree of satisfaction between consumers and marketers. If Opt-In email advertising is used, the material that is emailed to consumers will be “anticipated.” It is assumed that the consumer wants to receive it, which makes it unlike unsolicited advertisements sent to the consumer. Ideally, Opt-In email advertisements will be more personal and relevant to the consumer than un-targeted advertisements.
In regard to OPTIZMO: An Advertiser can use our system to store not only their Opt-Out lists but also their Opt-In or Customer mailing lists. As a user signs up (Opts-In) to receive future email messages, their email address is automatically added to the OPTIZMO system, as where that particular list is held. Mailer(s) that are given access to that list, can download the pre-scrubbed Opt-In List which they can mail to.
(This means your Mailer will never see your Suppression List/Opt-Out list, protecting those email addresses.)
An Opt-Out List or “Suppression List” is a list of suppressed email addresses used by email senders to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. CAN-SPAM requires that senders of commercial emails provide a functioning Opt-Out mechanism by which email recipients can unsubscribe their email address from future email messages. The unsubscribed email addresses are placed into a Suppression List which is used to “suppress” future email messages to that email address.
A Suppression List contains valid email addresses. Suppression List abuse occurs when a 3rd party takes a Suppression List and emails messages to the email addresses in the list. The original sender of the email messages who provided the Opt-Out mechanism may be liable for Suppression List abuse.
A variety of technological means are used to protect Suppression Lists and track Suppression List abuse. These include neutral 3rd party scrubbing of email lists, distribution of MD5 secure hash Suppression Lists and distribution of “seeded” email lists.
In regard to OPTIZMO: An Opt-Out List/Suppression List can be uploaded and maintained or created and maintained via the OPTIZMO System. We offer the most user-friendly interface with the best security for Advertisers and Mailers to easily manage Campaigns and Opt-Out Lists.
OPTIZMO Badge – Email Compliance Certification
Here at OPTIZMO we take email and CAN-SPAM compliance very seriously, as do our Clients. That’s why we provide a badge of Email Compliance so that your customers know that you take their privacy and trust seriously.
Code for the OPTIZMO Badge will be provided to Clients to be placed on your website where people sign up or Opt-In to your newsletter or any email correspondence.
This badge can also go in the footer of the emails you send out reinforcing your stance on email compliance. Contact your OPTIZMO account rep or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Peer-to-Peer Commercial Emails
Peer-to-Peer Commercial Emails are emails that are sent from one company to another, such as from a sales rep to the CEO, regarding a special promotion that the sales rep has to offer. This is commonly ignored as commercial or solicitation email, however it is still governed by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and may be considered spam.
In regard to OPTIZMO: If you do not provide the recipient an easy way to Opt-Out, you are in violation of CAN-SPAM. Here is how we help:
- OPTIZMO provides an Opt-Out for the footer of all outgoing emails.
- The Advertiser can block outgoing emails to suppressed addresses.
- If the recipient Opts-Out the sender is notified.
For more information on CAN-SPAM, visit our Email Compliance page.
A Preference Center provides companies with a tool that enables email recipients to manage their Opt-In/Opt-Out status across all email programs at an individual or global level – generated by the company. This feature provides a better user experience by empowering recipients to Opt-Out of a particular email program rather than all of them.
Traditionally, Publishing is the process of production and dissemination of literature or information – the activity of making information available for public view. Prior to the advent of the Internet, the term generally referred to the distribution of printed works such as books (the “book trade”) and newspapers. With the emergence of digital information systems and the Internet, the scope of publishing has expanded to include electronic resources, such as the electronic versions of books and periodicals, as well as websites, blogs, video games and the like.
In the digital ecosystem, the term Publisher has changed to refer to companies that “publish” information via websites, emails, or other digital properties and channels. The term has also come to be synonymous with Affiliate, within the digital and affiliate marketing industry.
In regard to OPTIZMO: A Publisher in the OPTIZMO System is also called a Mailer. A Mailer is given access by an Advertiser to upload and/or download Opt-In and Opt-Out Lists.
Not to be mistaken with “Opt-In / Mailing List”
A Subscriber List is a list of your existing customers and/or members such as those who have already subscribed/Opted-In to your online correspondence. It is important to note the difference between your Subscriber List and your “Opt-In/mailing list” because you may not want to send “existing” customers the same offer you would send “prospective” customers.
The right product for the right customer. If you use the practice of not differentiating between current and prospective customers on your email campaigns, this can reflect poorly on your organization simply because you do not recognize that certain customers/subscribers are already buyers of your products or services. Ultimately it could make a current customer unsubscribe, thus eroding your current customer base.
A Suppression List (also know as an Opt-Out List or an Unsubscribe List) is a list of suppressed email addresses used by email senders to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. CAN-SPAM requires that senders of commercial emails provide a functioning Opt-Out mechanism by which email recipients can unsubscribe their email address from future email messages. The unsubscribed email addresses are placed into a Suppression List which is used to “suppress” future email messages to that email address.
A Suppression List contains valid email addresses. Suppression List abuse occurs when a 3rd party takes a Suppression List and emails messages to the email addresses in the list. The original sender of the email messages who provided the Opt-Out mechanism may be liable for Suppression List abuse.
A variety of technological means are used to protect Suppression Lists and track Suppression List abuse. These include neutral 3rd party scrubbing of email lists, distribution of MD5 secure hash suppression lists and distribution of “seeded” email lists.
In regard to OPTIZMO: A Suppression List can be uploaded and maintained or created and maintained via the OPTIZMO System. We offer the most user-friendly interface with the best security for Advertisers and Mailers to easily manage Campaigns and Suppression Lists.
Suppression List Management
Suppression File Management is a service provided to Advertisers and Mailers (Publishers, Affiliates/Affiliate Networks, Email Service Providers – ESPs) allowing them to store their email addresses in a centralized database with automated management and security features; such as scrubbing, cleansing, collection, distribution, list seeding, campaign and list monitoring, and more.
In regard to OPTIZMO: OPTIZMO has developed industry’s leading system for Suppression File Management. Implementing new features based on customer needs and changing business environments, OPTIZMO has taken Suppression File Management to the next level.
An Unsubscribe List (also known as an Opt-Out List or Suppression List) is a list of suppressed email addresses used by email senders to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. CAN-SPAM requires that senders of commercial emails provide a functioning opt-out mechanism by which email recipients can unsubscribe their email address from future email messages. The unsubscribed email addresses are placed into an Unsubscribe List which is used to “suppress” future email messages to that email address.
An Unsubscribe List contains valid email addresses. Unsubscribe List abuse occurs when a third party takes an Unsubscribe List and emails messages to the email addresses in the list. The original sender of the email messages who provided the Opt-Out mechanism may be liable for Unsubscribe List abuse.
A variety of technological means are used to protect Unsubscribe Lists and track Unsubscribe List abuse. These include neutral 3rd party scrubbing of email lists, distribution of MD5 secure hash suppression lists and distribution of “seeded” email lists. This is what OPTIZMO does.
In regard to OPTIZMO: At OPTIZMO we generally use the word Opt-Out List in reference to Suppression Lists and Unsubscribe Lists. An Unsubscribe List can be uploaded and maintained or created and maintained via the OPTIZMO System. We offer the most user-friendly interface with the best security for Advertisers and Mailers to easily manage Campaigns and Unsubscribe Lists.