Question: Do accreditation programs really help get more e-mail delivered?

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Answer:  Accreditation programs definitely have an impact on e-mail delivery rates. The purpose of accreditation programs—such as Return Path’s Bonded Sender, Habeas and Goodmail—is to easily identify "good" senders to ISPs and corporate system administrators so they can handle e-mail from those senders differently than others. Being accredited, then, helps prevent certain filtering screens, the depth of which varies by program and by accepting domain.

Keep in mind that accreditation is not a silver bullet to achieve perfect e-mail delivery. First, companies need to adhere to industry best practices when it comes to e-mail so they have a chance to be accredited in the first place. Then, once accredited, they need to maintain those standards vigilantly to remain accredited.

And even when accredited, all companies need to continually monitor their e-mail delivery rates so they can recognize problems at ISPs who don’t accept various accreditation programs. E-mail delivery requires constant supervision because the rules change all the time across ISPs and corporate servers.

George Bilbrey is VP-general manager of deliverability solutions for Return Path (, an e-mail performance company that provides deliverability, list quality and strategic solutions.

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