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Return Path Identifies Top 10 Email Trends in 2009

For immediate release – Return Path, the leading email deliverability and reputation management company, today released its Top Email Trends in 2009 report. While 2010 promises even more changes in the email industry, Return Path has identified the top trends in email in the past year. “Return Path is dedicated to ensuring that consumers receive the emails they want to receive and offering ISPs the tools and knowledge to identify legitimate, permissioned email,” said George Bilbrey, President, Return Path. “With our extensive knowledge of the email industry, we feel it’s important and valuable to learn from the past to foresee where the industry is headed in 2010. By understanding the industry trends in 2009, marketers can work to improve their email programs in 2010.”

The Top 10 Emails Trends in 2009, include:

1. Spam growth continues – Reports in early 2009 estimated daily spam volumes are more than 117 billion emails every day. In addition, image spam increased in 2009, a problem for enterprises and ISPs using outdated email security software.

2. False positives increase – “”False positives”” are when a legitimate, requested, and wanted email is mistakenly blocked outright or delivered to a bulk folder by a spam filter. Receivers increased their use of trusted whitelists in an effort to identify legitimate email.

3. Phishing impacts everyone – Criminal enterprises increased their phishing in 2009 – sending forged emails from banks, social networks, and brand marketers to gain account access. Return Path believes that a coordinated effort, including government (policy and enforcement), educational, infrastructure operators, financial institutions, and more must participate in coordinated efforts toward a solution.

4. Rise of the Social Inbox – Communications from social networks are becoming entwined with traditional email. A beta version of Outlook 2010 integrates social networking, and MySpace announced an integration of email with the MySpace social network experience.

5. Complaint Rate Feedback Loops Gain Greater Prominence – Complaint rates, when an email is marked as spam, continued to be a key reputation metric for email senders in 2009. Via feedback loops, commercial senders can monitor, in real time, when users report their emails as spam.

6. More transparency at ISPs – Most ISPs are providing “”postmaster pages”” to improve transparency and provide key information about email delivery into their network. In 2009, new postmaster pages were released by AOL, Cox Communications (North America), and T-online (Germany).

7. Mergers & Acquisitions – In 2009, many ISPs in North America and Europe were acquired or merged with other ISPs. These mergers are important to marketers as new ISPs have their own metrics and tools for determining legitimate email from spam.

8. Gmail Continues Its Growth – In 2009, Gmail surpassed AOL and became the third most popular Web-based email application behind Yahoo! and Microsoft.

9. Outbound Abuse On the Rise – In Return Path’s discussions with ISPs in 2009, the ISPs reported challenges with abusive email sent from their own networks via compromised accounts, reputation hijacking, and botnet infections.

10. Email did not Die! – Despite the many headlines in both the mainstream media and blogosphere, email’s demise was greatly exaggerated. Email marketing continues to have the highest ROI of all direct marketing channels, including search. And, a recent survey found that college students aged 18 to 24 would give up watching TV, social networking, and talking on the phone before giving up email.

About Return Path

Founded in 1999, Return Path helps commercial email senders get more email delivered to the inbox. Our tools and services give senders the insight and resources to diagnose and prevent email deliverability and rendering failures by improving and maintaining their email sending reputations. Our Professional Services division then helps our client improve ROI and response by creating consistent and compelling subscriber experiences across the email customer lifecycle. Return Path runs the internet’s most widely used third-party whitelist, the Return Path Certification Program. Return Path also invented the Sender Score, an email reputation measure based on data contributed by ISPs and other receivers of large volume email into the Return Path Reputation Network. We offer free access to our Sender Score to any sender, receiver or consumer of email at our reputation portal¬† Information about Return Path can be found at