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Christopher Knight

Matt Blumberg Comments On Return Path's Acquisition of Bonded Sender
By Christopher Knight

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Recently, I had written an article about Return Path's acquisition of Iron Port's Bonded Sender program. Matt Blumberg, CEO of Return Path, Inc. was kind enough to give our Ezine-Tips readers a closer scoop on what this deal is and what it means for email publishers & marketers.

Matt Blumberg, CEO of Return Path, Inc.

April 20, 2005

Hi Christopher,

Thanks for your coverage on Return Path’s acquisition of Bonded Sender. I wanted to address some key misconceptions in the article that might help both you and your readers better understand Return Path’s services.

1) You describe Return Path as an ECOA service. In that context, our acquisition of Bonded Sender probably doesn’t make much sense. While ECOA was our original business and is still one our core products, we also provide extensive services around email deliverability, email acquisition, consulting and online market research. Bonded Sender fits with all we do broadly, but it best matches our Delivery Assurance solution suite, which help companies increase the amount of email that gets delivered to their customers’ inbox.

2) When it comes to ECOA, you’re right: it can be a slippery slope for people who are using 3rd rate ECOA vendors. Most “ECOA” companies are just marketing append data as ECOA that carry opt-out permission, or worse, permission for another purpose. Return Path provides the only ECOA service that is confirmed opt-in and specifically for the single purpose of change of address. We are also endorsed by the United States Postal Service as the official email counterpart to their postal change of address service. We only provide updates to files that have been approved by consumers who have already registered for our service, meaning that the data you receive is current and has been through two permission loops, one specifically for your company. We only send email update notices to the consumers using our service, asking their permission to provide their new email address to a business (and RP client) or personal contact.

3) On PostMasterDirect: we have made no significant changes to the PostMasterDirect system since taking it over, which leads me to believe that the issue you’ve seen with your list is related to something else all together. Perhaps data aging, perhaps irrelevant category collection, or maybe less demand for your usage category, Improving PostMasterDirect and our overall lead generation capabilities is a primary focus for us for this year, now that we have integrated PostMasterDirect into Return Path. Marketers will see vast improvements to the email acquisition and lead generation programs we offer in the coming months. Stay tuned.

4) Lastly, regarding Bonded Sender: you are indeed a cynic, although you're directionally correct. Reputation is critical, but not in a casual kind of way -- there is an extensive accreditation process that companies must pass, run by TRUSTe, a non-profit industry watchdog group, before being admitted to the program. To date, less than 25% of applicants have been accepted, regardless of how much money they were willing to pay. Return Path plans to work with clients to get them ready for the process – prepping them with in-depth best practices analysis and improvements before they even apply.

Return Path will continue to develop and integrate solutions that our clients need to increase the results of their email marketing program. Bonded Sender is the latest example, and we’re excited about what it offers the email community and what we can do with the program as its new owner, one focused more on email deliverability than our partner IronPort. If you have any questions, please email me at

Thanks for allowing me to comment --

Matt Blumberg
CEO, Return Path, Inc.

Closing Comments From Chris Knight: Thanks Matt for clarifying your positions. I do agree that your firm's acquisition of Bonded Sender will further cement your position in the email deliverability and assurance space. As far as the PMD (PostmasterDirect) issue, my gut feeling is that our lists have become stale due to lack of new address infusion and the increasing sensitivity for email list members to protect themselves from unwanted email or email that looks like it might be unwanted.

Lastly, for my readers, here is a link to your blog and congratulations on authoring your new book along with Michael Mayor: Sign Me Up! : A marketer's guide to creating email newsletters that build relationships and boost sales

This Ezine-Tip was submitted By Christopher Knight -- Email List Marketing Expert, author and entrepreneur. Get your weekly dose of Email newsletter publishing, marketing, promotion, management, email-etiquette, email usability and deliverability tips by joining the free Ezine-Tips newsletter:

Ezine-Tips for April 20, 2005

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