The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced the release of "Email Data Management Best Practices" on Thursday. It's a document designed to improve the effectiveness of email marketing by providing standards and guidelines in privacy, data security, permission and deliverability.
Some of the key recommendations are:
· Senders should only send commercial email to individuals who have provided informed consent.
· For all third-party licensed data, a global unsubscribe mechanism should be implemented.
· Consumer permission to receive commercial email from a List Owner cannot be replicated or transferred without reference to the original point of collection.
· Clear, conspicuous and repeated notice of data collection and use are required.
· Advertisers and marketers should authenticate their email by publicly registering the domains from which they send email.
· Anyone using email for marketing purposes should adopt and use authentication protocols for both their email and corporate domains.
· All parties should use a one-way encrypted hash to encrypt suppression files.
To get a broader view of what drove these recommendations, I sat down with John Engler, vice president and general manager of Unsub Central, and a member of the IAB subcommittee that developed the standards. Here's a few comments from that interview:
David: Why did it take so long for IAB or any other industry organization to develop standards like this?
John: This came out of the lead generation best practices document that IAB developed in late 2007, [when] they realized that there needed to be more guidance that is very specific to email.
David: Standards are great, but what's next?
John: The goal is to get it in the hands of the industry leaders and build on. It will probably lead to some type of certification program. We (as a committee) decided to not develop this as a certification track, since it's the first time anyone has truly put a best practices document around data management for email.
David: Obviously Unsub Central is vested in these standards, since your company provides file and data security services -- but how do you feel they will change the industry, if at all?
John: At Unsub Central we've been providing these services for years, and it's nice to see it get the needed attention it deserves. There's a lot of adhoc methods of handling data in the industry, and providing standards will make publishers and advertisers really think about how they manage permissions, how they protect these permissions and how to secure the transfer or sharing of this data. CAN SPAM has changed the industry in that it brought a level of accountability on the sender side, but it left a lot of holes in defining the operational side of this accountability.
The IAB report has a lot of information that is really valuable for beginner and advanced marketers and publishers, and definitely worth a read. You can access the document at: http://www.iab.net/emaildata