Goodmail Makes Its Case

Last fall, as you might recall, there was quite a commotion surrounding Goodmail's announcement that its CertifiedE-mail" program had been embraced by AOL and Yahoo. The case put forth by Goodmail at the time was that the increased trust generated by an e-mail that had been certified as legitimate, the guarantee of delivery, and the promise that HTML would render properly without fail, would result in higher click-throughs, increased profits, and improved ROI that would more than make up for the additional cost of delivery. At the time, the argument sounded plausible--but it was mere words.

Today, Goodmail claims it has solid proof in the form of a number of case studies the company shared with me. And in addition to the positive case studies, it was clear that Goodmail has had success in selling their message to the marketplace: nearly 200 e-mail senders have signed on and been certified by Goodmail, more than four times what it had originally projected. These companies include Experian, Time,Inc., About, and The Motley Fool. In addition it has increased its business relationships on both the send side (ESPs and the like including Bluestreak, Silverpop, E-Dialog, Cheetah Mail, and Acxiom Digital) and the receive side (ISP's, Enterprise customers, and spam filtering services including Sun and Cloudmark).



The two case studies highlighted different businesses, but they also had something in common. Both companies that are featured, and Time, Inc, did A/B tests in order to compare the results of the CertifiedE-mail sends against a control group. And both companies did not have a problem with deliverability; their e-mails were getting through. This is important. because it means the results, if any, are the result NOT of the guaranteed delivery promise of Goodmail, but the power of the CertifiedE-mail's icon in the recipient's mind.

At a conference a few months ago, I asked Richard Gringas, CEO of Goodmail, that very question: How are you going to educate the public that this icon means anything? These case studies represent the first test case.

So here are the results. Time, Inc used its send to promote a new customer care package, offering customers a way of updating their subscriptions. Time sent out a half a million e-mails, half going through Goodmail, the other half the usual way. The Goodmail Certified e-mails showed a 32 percent increase in click-through and a 30 percent increase in business results (measured by someone actually going to the portal and doing something) over the control group. A secondary factor besides the icon that could account for the difference is that the HTML in the Goodmail delivered e-mails is guaranteed to render properly, while those sent via other methods are not.

The second case study is even more impressive, to my mind, because it generated actual bottom-line profits for the company, Overstock did about five different sends of 350,000 to each group, or about 3.5 million e-mails in total. The Goodmail delivered e-mails had a 19 percent increase in click-through and 22 percent increase in profit. Paying the $2.50 CPM to delivery the e-mail through the Goodmail system generated a hefty ROI for Overstock.

As outstanding as these results are, they are still early and only represent two tests. Whether other companies will experience these results or not is yet to be seen. But for now, Goodmail seems to have certainly made its case.

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