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Goodmail Customers: 'What Now?'

By Ken Magill

02/08/11

Hundreds of Goodmail customers today are all asking themselves the same question: What happens now?

The email-certification firm left hundreds of emailers in the lurch last week when it abruptly announced it was closing its doors.

As of 5 p.m. PST today, the company’s CertifiedEmail program will no longer exist and for those who bought into the its unique approach to email deliverability, there is nothing else on the market like it.

Goodmail’s CEO and co-founder Daniel Dreymann predicted his customers will remain profitable, just not as profitable.

“There’s no way for them to buy the kind of services we were offering,” he said. “Those are services that for some companies were very profitable. Those companies are simply going to be less profitable. But email is extremely profitable no matter what.”

Of course, the majority of email marketers doesn’t use Goodmail and won’t miss it, but there are some who swear by it—especially some mailers of financial products and services.

“There are other reputation services out there, but our customers very much liked the idea of certified mail and the icon showing it came from us, and from our perspective, knowing that our communication is getting through to customers that want it is critical,” said Simon Williams, chief technology officer for prepaid credit card firm AccountNow. “Losing that ability is going to be critical for us.”

Some deliverability experts, such as Laura Atkins at Word to the Wise, theorized that much of Goodmail’s underlying problem may have been that companies that implement best practices don’t need certification. Williams said he didn’t necessarily agree with that assessment.

“If you follow all of email’s nuances and best practices, your chances of getting delivered are much higher, but it still isn’t guaranteed,” he said.

Williams said he has no idea how the loss of Goodmail will affect his business. “Clearly, it’s not going to be good. We have to look at alternative solutions, but we don’t know how effective they’re going to be.”

Garin Toren, COO of e-billing firm Striata said he will especially miss Goodmail’s delivery verification.

Striata sends more than 1 billion emails a year for clients such as Capital One, HSBC, Barclays and Diner’s Club, according to Toren.

“For a company like Striata where I’m sending bills and statements, getting that coupon back was wonderful,” he said. “Deliverability is 50 times more important for me than for a marketer because I’m sending bank statements into people’s inboxes.”

However, Toren said, the loss of Goodmail’s service “is not a make-or-break situation. It’s a bummer, but not the end of the world.”

Toren also said that even if Goodmail was able to survive its immediate challenges, he isn’t certain it would have been viable in the long term.

“It’s important to be cognizant of the fact that email has been really cleaning up its act,” he said. “It’s entirely possible that in two or three years we wouldn’t have needed a Goodmail. Email has gone from being 100 percent clean to 100 percent dirty and now it’s making its way back at a rapid pace.”

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Terms: Feel free to be as big a jerk as you want, but don't attack anyone other than me personally. And don't criticize people or companies other than me anonymously. Got something crappy to say? Say it under your real name. Anonymous potshots and personal attacks aimed at me, however, are fine.

Posted by: Michael Wright
Date: 2011-02-10 07:00:41
Subject: Email as a commodity

Ken, Goodmail suffered from the inevitable (but inaccurate) perception that email delivery is a commodity. Amazon is offering "Simple Email Service" for $100 per 1million messages, but without any word of deliverability or reporting. This is essentially offering the engine of an email delivery service without any of the parts that actually make it valuable to the marketer. But the pricing makes it difficult to ask for 1000 times more than that for a higher grade service. Goodmail's services were highly valuable to companies that were delivering more than just marketing messages and will be missed in the market place. Implementing and maintaining email best practises takes time and resources without any guarantee that your efforts will always be effective - Goodmail made it simple to pay for the results you were trying to achieve
Posted by: Laura
Date: 2011-02-08 13:26:57
Subject:

Thanks for the mention, Ken. I do think that there are companies that benefit from certification even though they are following best practices. Financial services companies make up the bulk of that demographic. There's so much trash being sent that I can see why financial companies would want / need that extra credential to get a decent response from recipients.

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