'You Can Check Out Any Time You Like:' David Atlas Comes Back to Email
By Ken Magill
After a three-year hiatus from email marketing, former Goodmail marketing executive, David Atlas, has come back, this time as senior vice president of marketing for email service provider StrongMail Systems.
“I thought after Goodmail that I was definitely done, but as it turns out I will be working tomorrow morning at a desk in Redwood Shores [CA] as StrongMail's new svp/marketing,” Atlas wrote in an email exchange with The Magill Report.
He said that initially, not only was he not planning on coming back to email marketing, he wasn’t particularly interested in StrongMail, either.
“When I knew them they were the MTA provider,” he said, referring to StrongMail’s initial business model of providing message-transfer-agent hardware. “They were the technology option,” Atlas said.
However, he said, StrongMail has transformed itself into much more than an MTA.
“I like to have stuff I can talk about because I like to talk,” he said. “The stuff they have in their labs and the stuff they’ve produced in the last 12 months is just phenomenal. And seeing where they’re going was really interesting.
“In the last year and a half they have reinvented themselves as an email service provider,” Atlas said.
“When I left Goodmail I thought: ‘Well that was fun, but there wasn’t anything new and different in this space,’” he said. “But there is. This whole social thing, the backbone is email. I’m getting digests from Pinterest and Twitter. … As you see this proliferation of channels, it’s not that they’re stopping email. It’s that email is being added.
“Email marketing is actually new again because it’s the backbone to all these new channels,” Atlas said.
Atlas was let go from the now-defunct email certification company Goodmail Systems in late 2008 as part of a reported reorganization.
Launched in 2005, Goodmail was one of the more controversial experiments in email marketing. For a fee and an agreement to adhere to certain email best practices, permission-based email marketers would get guaranteed delivery to participating ISPs inboxes with a blue-ribbon icon of certification.
Detractors claimed the service was a way for spammers to pay to get their email delivered and that it would create a multi-tiered email ecosystem in which mailers who paid would get better treatment from participating ISPs than those who didn’t pay.
At its peak in the fourth quarter of 2009, Goodmail had deals with AOL, Yahoo!, Comcast, Verizon, and reportedly had a pilot deal with Hotmail.
However, Yahoo! ended its agreement with Goodmail in 2010 and the loss was too much to overcome.
Goodmail shut down in February, 2011.
And where has Atlas been for the last three years?
“I’ve been doing a lot of Yoga,” he said. “I’ve gotten really good at it.”