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Top 4 Potential Issues with Certification

For most senders, the certification juice is no longer worth the squeeze.

Issue #1

Gmail, which can make up 60% of email lists, does not participate in the certification program. With more than 1+ billion active Gmail users, at what point does certification become entirely irrelevant based on Gmail's market share?

Issue #2

You don't need certification to get in the inbox, but you need to get in the inbox to be certified. And you don't need certification to follow best practices. That's how 250ok customers achieve world-class performance every day.

Issue #3

Considering Gmail doesn't participate in the certification program, the main selling point is the Microsoft partnership. But a recent blog by Microsoft cited 250ok and best practices as the viable alternative to certification.

"There are third party organizations that can help in deliverability. One is the Return Path Sender Score Certified which helps in deliverability when on their good IP list. Another is 250ok, and while they don't have [a certification program], they do help you manage complaints and bounces. Driving those down usually helps in delivering to all receivers, including"

Terry Zink, Program Manager, Microsoft

A quick overview of (Hotmail) sender support - March 17, 2017

Issue #4

Not all certification customers report experiencing the advertised benefits. For some that have complications, there's likely a good reason (hint: you're spamming). For others, the cause of issues is less clear.

"We have many examples of certified clients who are within the metric thresholds, seeing bulking at supposedly certified partner ISP's. How Is that possible? [Maybe] it's possible because the ISP's don't whitelist customers anymore..."

Kevin Senne, Global Deliverability Director, Oracle Marketing Cloud

The Politics of Email Deliverability - April 21, 2016

The Truth About Email Panel Data

Statistically irrelevant sample size? Misleading insights? Consumer privacy concerns?

According to a 2017 Radicati Group study, there will be more than 3.7 billion email users globally by year's end, and the average consumer uses almost 2 email addresses. Based on Return Path's Consumer Network claim of nearly 2 million consumers, their panel covers approximately 0.11% of all email accounts. With a sample that small, how much of it actually overlaps with your mailing list? Unless you're one of the largest senders in the world, chances are it's not much.


If you're looking for visibility into recipient behavior, then you don't want to look at email panel data or seeds. Everyone sending commercial email today already has the best and most relevant panel in the world: the people they're sending mail to.

Paul Midgen VP Engineering, 250ok

formerly Senior Program Manager at Microsoft/Hotmail

Sender Score – Still Worth Monitoring?

Laura Atkins

Founder, Word to the Wise

[Sender Score] is relevant for those ISPs that pay attention to it. But most ISPs make the 'deliver' or 'not deliver' based on their own internal data, not on the IP's Sender Score.

Source: Word to the Wise

Shine Lyui

Deliverability Services Analyst, Act-On the beginning of the email industry, when ISPs behaved roughly the same, a single score had meaning. But the industry evolved, and each ISP evolved in its own direction, and the single score became less meaningful.

Source: Act-On

Mohammed Ahmed

Sr. Manager of Deliverability Services, Bluehornet

...if you have a high Sender Score, an ISP may still block your mail. Conversely, if you have a bad Sender Score, don't freak out; you may have good data and good user engagement on a specific ISP.

Source: Red Pill Email

Why Are Senders Making the Switch to 250ok?

Connect your ESPs to 250ok and experience the holy grail of email analytics. Total visibility into user engagement combined with 250ok's robust suite gives you the email intelligence you've been dreaming of.





"After seeing our email performance data integrated into 250ok, we nearly lost our d@mn minds!"
- Josh Aberant, Chief Marketing Officer, SparkPost
(Pinterest, Twitter, Paypal, LinkedIn, Zillow)

The 250ok Difference

Real Email Intelligence

Combine data from all of your ESPs and 250ok within a single UI and behold your new email brain center. Slice and dice all of your data in complete granularity and at blazing speeds. As our retention rate shows, once marketers gain access to this level of email intelligence, there's no going back.

Optimized Seed Testing

We offer extensive global seedlist coverage; but the difference is 250ok's patent pending Seedlist Optimizer - A tool that creates list-specific, weighted testing and reporting of how your mail performs against global spam filters at the mailboxes you send to, not the one's you don't.

DMARC Dedication

Return Path sold their email fraud protection division to Proofpoint in 2016. While they now resell the Proofpoint offering, we control and continue to enhance our 250ok DMARC product. You can see us listed on, and our very own Paul Midgen was a co-author of the original DMARC spec.

Other 250ok Highlights Include:

  • Expert consulting services assisting with deliverability, DMARC, CASL, GDRP, and migration off of Return Path Certification
  • All-in-one suite of deliverability, sender reputation, consumer engagement, design, and DMARC tools
  • Out of the box Litmus and Email on Acid integrations for design testing
  • Proprietary, high-fidelity spam trap network to detect list hygiene problems
  • Global blacklist monitoring by IP and domain
  • Real-time feedback loop (FBL) monitoring to track and suppress complaints
  • Fully customizable alerts for any rule and total notification flexibility (Slack, SMS, email, and more)

Greatest year-over-year growth of a third-party service that we've seen in our nine years of producing this guide.

Red Pill Email
2017 Email Vendor Guide
Regarding 250ok's growth...

Ready to get started?

* Return Path is a registered trademark of Return Path, Inc.
* Microsoft is a registered trademark of the Microsoft Corporation
* Oracle is a registered trademark of the Oracle Corporation
* SparkPost is a registered trademark of Message Systems, Inc.
* Act-On is a registered trademark of Act-On Software, Inc.
* Bluehornet is a registered trademark of BlueHornet Networks, Inc.
Disclaimer: The competitive information included herein is provided by 250ok Inc ("250ok") based upon 250ok's knowledge and opinions as of the date specified herein. This document is provided to highlight 250ok's product offerings and is not intended to be relied upon on by the reader in making business decisions. 250ok strongly advocates that you conduct your own independent, thorough analysis of Return Path and the products and services they offer.
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