November 6, 2019

Non-human interaction informing your deliverability? Read this.

Over the last year, the email industry’s seen a number of large-scale changes to the way we monitor email activity and deliverability data. The core principle of all this evolution boils down to something very simple: privacy.

First, after a series of bombshell allegations of technology allowing both computers and humans to read personal emails of consumers, we saw Gmail crack down on the ability of data companies to scrape the data of their users. For us, nothing changed. However, for some deliverability companies, they had to change their method of business because, for all intents and purposes, panel data as we knew it was dead.

In order to circumvent these new requirements, Return Path and eData Source developed AI-driven panel replicators. What does this mean for their customers? They receive the same kind of information they always had, however, it is no longer informed by actual human data. It, instead, is provided by machines mimicking what humans likely would do with their email. Our own concerns about this “solution” aside, mailbox providers now face a new challenge: How do you treat mailboxes not operated by real humans, and instead, are run by computers acting like humans?

Verizon Media’s now telling us how they plan to do just that. By enforcing both their terms of service and data use policies, they’ll no longer allow any non-human, bot-controlled inboxes to report data back to anyone, to better ensure honesty, transparency, and truth in engagement and deliverability. Why? Bot-driven solutions are impersonating true, real users.

Verizon Media Terms of Service

Verizon Media Data Use Policy


“I believe in an honest ecosystem. Like I often say in industry presentations, the future will likely be one that only allows apps which deliver real value for users, furthering truth and transparency in what those apps do and how data is used,” says Marcel Becker, director of product management at Verizon Media. “The ability of any AI- or bot-driven accounts impersonating human users to stay relevant is unlikely.”


We thought we’d hear something like this.

We maintain optimized seedlist testing combined with engagement performance is the smartest way to go about building a true portrait of email performance. We’re not, and never have been, of a mind that computers can accurately mimic the future behavior of humans. Not yet, anyway. They happen to be complex creatures.

This step by Verizon Media is further vindication of our stance: Email data cannot be manufactured by AI to provide real insights for marketers to use effectively. It’s simply not authentic, honest, or capable of painting a true picture from which marketers can optimize for greater success.

We’ve been successful in bringing real email analytics to some of the biggest brands in the world. In fact, four of the top six e-retailers, as reported by eMarketer, are our customers. And yes, some of them left our competitors, AI-powered bots and all, in favor of the 250ok platform.

Are you ready to join them?

Author: Nicky Copland

Nicky is the senior marketing manager at 250ok. Before joining the team, she spent the majority of her time crafting and implementing communications strategies for the association industry. She was never a brain surgeon, but she played one on the internet.

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