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A/B Split: Refers to a test situation in which a list is split into two pieces with every other name being sent one specific creative, and vice versa. See also Nth name

Above The Fold: The top part of an email message that is visible to the recipient without the need for scrolling. Material in this area is considered more valuable because the reader sees it first. The term originally comes from print and refers to the top half of a folded newspaper. Unlike newspaper, email and web page fold locations aren’t predictable. Your fold may be affected by the user’s preview pane, monitor size, monitor resolution, any headers placed by email programs such as Hotmail, etc.

Access: Microsoft software tool used for developing a database. Any database vendor you work with – email broadcaster, list broker, third party list-hygiene service, etc. – should be able to work with this format (as well as several others)

Acquisition Cost: In email marketing, the cost to generate one lead, newsletter subscriber or customer in an individual email campaign; typically, the total campaign expense divided by the number of leads, subscribers or customers it produced

Affiliate: A marketing partner that promotes your products or services under a payment-on-results agreement

Affirmative Consent: An active request by a reader or subscriber to receive advertising or promotional information, newsletters, etc. Generally affirmative consent does not included the following — failing to uncheck a pre-checked box on a Web form, entering a business relationship with an organization without being asked for separate permission to be sent specific types of email, opt-out

Alert: Email message that notifies subscribers of an event or special price

Alias: A unique and usually shorter URL (link) that can be distinguished from other links even if they ultimately go to the same Web page. This makes it possible to track which message led viewers to click on the link

Application Program Interface (API): How a program (application) accesses another to transmit data. A client may have an API connection to load database information to an email vendor automatically and receive data back from the email

Application Service Provider (ASP): Company that provides a Web-based service. Clients don’t have to install software on their own computers; all tasks are performed on (hosted on) the ASP’s servers.

Attachment: A text, video, graphic, PDF or sound file that accompanies an email message but is not included in the message itself. Attachments are not a good way to send email newsletters because many ISPs, email clients and individual email recipients do not allow attachments, because hackers use them to deliver viruses and other malicious code

Authentication: A term that refers to standards, such as Sender ID, SPF and DomainKeys/DKIM, that serve to identify that an email is really sent from the domain name and individual listed as the sender. Authentication standards are used to fight spam and spoofing

Auto-Responder: Automated email message-sending capability, such as a welcome message sent to all new subscribers the minute they join a list. May be triggered by joins, unsubscribes, all email sent to a particular mailbox. May be more than a single message; can be a series of date or event-triggered emails

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Bayesian Filter: An anti-spam program that evaluates header and content of incoming email messages to determine the probability that it is spam. Bayesian filters assign point values to items that appear frequently in spam, such as the words “money-back guarantee” or “free.” A message that accumulated too many points is either rejected as probable spam or delivered to a junk-mail folder. AKA content-based filter

B-to-B Business-To-Business (also B2B): The exchange of information, products or services between two businesses – as opposed to between a business and a consumer (B2C)

B-to-C Business-To-Consumer (also B2C): The exchange of information, products or services between a business and a consumer – as opposed to between two businesses (B2B)

Blacklist: A list developed by anyone receiving email, or processing email on its way to the recipient, or interested third parties, that includes domains or IP addresses of suspected spammers. Many companies use blacklists to reject inbound email, either at the server level or before it reaches the recipient’s in-box. Also Blocklist and Blackhole list

Block: An action by an internet service provider to prevent email messages from being forwarded to the end recipient. Many ISPs block email from IP addresses or domains that have been reported to send spam or viruses or have content that violates email policy or spam filters

Bonded Sender: A private email registration service, owned by email vendor Ironport, which allows bulk emailers who agree to follow stringent email practices and to post a monetary bond to bypass email filters of bonded sender clients. The programs debits the bond for spam or other complaints from recipients

Bounce: A message that doesn’t get delivered promptly is said to have bounced. Emails can bounce for more than 30 reasons: the email address is incorrect or has been closed; the recipient’s mailbox is full, the mail server is down, or the system detects spam or offensive content. See hard bounce and soft bounce

Bounce Message: Message sent back to an email sender reporting the message could not be delivered and why. Note: Not all bounced emails result in messages being sent back to the sender. Not all bounce messages are clear or accurate about the reason email was bounced

Bounce Handling: The process of dealing with the email that has bounced. Bounce handling is important for list maintenance, list integrity and delivery. Given the lack of consistency in bounce messaging formats, it’s an inexact science at best

Bounce Rate (also return rate): Number of hard/soft bounces divided by the number of emails sent. This is an inexact number because some systems do not report back to the sender clearly or accurately

Broadcast: The process of sending the same email message to multiple recipients

Bulk Folder (also junk folder): Where many email clients send messages that appear to be from spammers or contain spam or are from any sender who’s not in the recipient’s address book or contact list. Some clients allow the recipient to override the system’s settings and direct that mail from a suspect sender be sent directly to the inbox. E.g., Yahoo! Mail gives recipients a button marked “Not Spam” on every message in the bulk folder

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Call To Action: In an email message, the link or body copy that tells the recipient what action to take

CAN-SPAM: Popular name for the U.S. law regulating commercial email (Full name: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003)

Catch-All: An email server function that forwards all questionable email to a single mailbox. The catch-all should be monitored regularly to find misdirected questions, unsubscribes or other genuine live email

Cell (also test cell or version): A segment of your list that receives different treatment specifically to see how it responds versus the control (regular treatment)

CGI: Acronym for Common Gateway Interface. It is a specification for transferring information between the Web and a Web server, such as processing email subscription or contact forms

Challenge-Response System: An anti-spam program that requires a human being on the sender’s end to respond to an emailed challenge message before their messages can be delivered to recipients. Senders who answer the challenge successfully are added to an authorization list. Bulk emailers can work with challenge-response if they designate an employee to watch the sending address’ mailbox and to reply to each challenge by hand

Churn: How many subscribers leave a mailing list (or how many email addresses go bad) over a certain length of time, usually expressed as a percentage of the whole list

Cloudmark Fingerprinting: Cloudmark is an advanced “message security” system that protects more than 300 million in-boxes and works with more than 100 of the world’s largest ISPs and mobile operator networks such as EarthLink, Comcast, Cablevision, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, NTT Communications, Sprint Nextel, Virgin Media and Swisscom, as well as hosted messaging providers, including domainFACTORY and NuVox. Cloudmark filtering issues are triggered by mailings of high abuse and invalid recipients

Click-Through & Click-Through Tracking: When a hotlink is included in an email, a click-through occurs when a recipient clicks on the link. Click-through tracking refers to the data collected about each click-through link, such as how many people clicked it, how many clicks resulted in desired actions such as sales, forwards or subscriptions

Click-Through Rate: Total number of clicks on email link(s) divided by the number of emails sent. Includes multiple clicks by a unique user. Some email broadcast vendors or tracking programs define CTR differently

Commercial Email: Email whose purpose, as a whole or in part, is to sell or advertise a product or service or if its purpose is to persuade users to perform an act, such as to purchase a product or click to a Web site whose contents are designed to sell, advertise or promote

Conditional Blocks: A text fragment that is pasted into an email message only if certain conditions are met (for instance the recipient lives in a certain area). Conditional blocks allow email marketers to create more personalized mailings

Confirmation: An acknowledgment of a subscription or information request. “Confirmation” can be either a company statement that the email address was successfully placed on a list, or a subscriber’s agreement that the subscribe request was genuine and not faked or automatically generated by a third party

Confirmed Opt-In: At the point of email address collection, a person has affirmatively requested to be included on an email list to receive commercial email. An email is subsequently sent to the person, notifying the person that their email address has been added to the email list. The person is not required to take further action to be included on the email list

Content: All the material in an email message except for the codes showing the delivery route and return-path information. Includes all words, images and links

Co-Registration: Arrangement in which companies collecting registration information from users (email sign-up forms, shopping checkout process, etc.) include a separate box for users to check if they would also like to be added to a specific third-party list

Conversion: When an email recipient performs a desired action based on a mailing you have sent. A conversion could be a monetary transaction, such as a purchase made after clicking a link. It could also include a voluntary act such as registering at a Web site, downloading a white paper, signing up for a Web seminar or opting in to an email newsletter

Conversion Rate: A measure of success for an email marketing campaign (for instance, the number of recipients who completed a purchase). With email marketing, conversion rates are relatively easy to calculate because of the technology’s measurable nature

CPA: Cost-per-action (known as cost-per-acquisition) is an online advertising pricing model, where the advertiser pays for each specified action (a purchase, a form submission, and so on) linked to the advertisement

CPC: Cost-per-click, a method of paying for advertising. Different from CPA because all you pay for is the click, regardless of what that click does when it gets to your site or landing page

CPL: Cost-per-lead, an online advertising pricing model where the advertiser pays for an explicit sign-up from an interested consumer interested in the advertiser offer

CPM: Cost-per-thousand, an industry standard measure for ad impressions. (Note: “M” represents thousand in Roman numerology)

Creative: An email message’s copy and any graphics

CRM: Customer relationship management, the methodologies, software, and Internet capabilities that help a company manage customer relationships in an efficient and organized manner

Cross-Campaign Profiling: A method used to understand how email respondents behave over multiple campaigns

Cross-Post: To send the same email message to at least two different mailing lists or discussion groups

CTR: Click-through rate, the process of tracking how many recipients clicked on a particular link in an email message

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Dedicated Server: An email server used by only one sender. A dedicated server often costs more to use because the expense can’t be spread among many users, but it performs better than a shared server. Email usually goes out faster, the server is more secure, and you eliminate the possibility that another sender could get the server blacklisted for spamming

De-duplication (deduping): The process of removing identical entries from two or more data sets such as mailing lists. AKA merge/purge

Delivered Email: Number of emails sent minus the number of bounces and filtered messages

Deliver-ability: A term that refers to the best practices and authentication techniques of mass email communication that improve the likelihood that opt-in email messages are successfully delivered to end recipients instead of being erroneously blocked by ISPs and spam filters

Delivery Tracking: The process of measuring delivery rates by format, ISP or other factors and delivery failures (bounces, invalid address, server and other errors). An inexact science

Denial-Of-Service Attack (DOS): An organized effort to disrupt email or Web service by sending more messages or traffic than a server can handle, shutting it down until the messages stop.

Deploy: The act of sending the email campaign after testing

Digest: A shortened version of an email newsletter which replaces full-length articles with clickable links to the full article at a Web site, often with a brief summary of the contents

Discussion Group: An email service in which individual members post messages for all group members to read (“many-to-many”). In contrast, a newsletter is a “one-to-many” broadcast, where comments by members or subscribers go only to the message sender. AKA by the trademarked name Listserv

DNS: Domain Name Server (or system), an Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses

Domain-keys / DKIM: An anti-spam software application being developed by Yahoo and using a combination of public and private “keys” to authenticate the sender’s domain and reduce the chance that a spammer or hacker will fake the domain sending address

Domain Name System: How computer networks locate Internet domain names and translate them into IP addresses. The domain name is the actual name for an IP address or range of IP addresses. E.g. MarketingSherpa.com. See reverse DNS

Domain Throttling: A technique that allows you to limit the number of email messages sent to a domain within a certain time frame. It is used to comply with ISPs and to avoid tripping spam filters. Many ISPs have their own policies and preferred limits

Double Opt-In: At the point of email address collection, a person has affirmatively requested to be included on an email list to receive commercial email. An email is subsequently sent to the person, notifying the person that some action is necessary before their email address will be added to the email list

Dynamic Content: Email-newsletter content that changes from one recipient to the next according to a set of predetermined rules or variables, usually according to preferences the user sets when opting in to messages from a sender. Dynamic content can reflect past purchases, current interests or where the recipient lives

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ECOA: Email Change of Address, a service that tracks email address changes and updates

Effective Rate: Metric that measures how many of those who opened an email message clicked on a link, usually measured as unique responders divided by unique opens

Email: Email allows you to send and receive text, HTML, images and other data files over the Internet. Email is one of the most popular online activities and has become a vital tool for electronic commerce

Email Address: The combination of a unique user name and a sender domain (JohnDoe@anywhere.com). The email address requires both the user name and the domain name

Email Appending Email address appending is the process of adding an individual’s e-mail address to that individual’s record inside a marketer’s existing database. This is accomplished by matching the marketer’s database against a third-party database to produce a corresponding email address

Email Bounces: Email messages that fail to reach their intended destination. “Hard” bounces are caused by invalid email addresses, whereas “soft” bounces are due to temporary conditions, such as overloaded inboxes

Email Client: The software that recipients use to read email, such as Outlook Express or Lotus Notes. Some email clients have better support for HTML email than others

Email Domain: AKA domain, the portion of the email address to the right of the @ sign. Useful as an email address hygiene tool (e.g. identify all records where the consumer entered “name@aol” as their email address and correct it to “name@aol.com“)

Email Filter: A software tool that categorizes, sorts or blocks incoming email, based either on the sender, the email header or message content. Filters may be applied at the recipient’s level, at the email client, the ISP or a combination

Email Friendly Name: AKA display name, “from” name. The portion of the email address that is displayed in most, though not all, email readers in place of, or in addition to, the email address

Email Harvesting: An automated process in which a robot program searches Web pages or other Internet destinations for email addresses. The program collects the address into a database, which frequently gets resold to spammers or unethical bulk mailers. Many U.S. state laws forbid harvesting. CAN-SPAM does not outlaw it by name but allows triple damages against violators who compiled their mailing lists with harvested names

Email Header: The section of an email message that contains the sender’s and recipient’s email addresses as well as the routing information

Email Marketing: The use of email (or email lists) to plan and deliver permission-based marketing campaigns

Email Newsletter: Content distributed to subscribers by email, on a regular schedule. Content is seen as valued editorial in and of itself rather than primarily a commercial message with a sales offer. See e-zine

Email Prefix The portion of the email address to the left of the @ sign

Email Vendor: Another name for an email broadcast service provider, a company that sends bulk (volume) email on behalf of their clients. Also email service provider (ESP)

Enhanced Whitelist: A super-whitelist maintained by AOL for bulk emailers who meet strict delivery standards, including fewer than one spam complaint for every 1,000 email messages. Emailers on the enhanced whitelist can bypass AOL 9.0’s automatic suppression of images and links

Event Triggered Email: Pre-programmed messages sent automatically based on an event such as a date or anniversary

Ezine (also e-zine): Another name for email newsletter, adapted from electronic-zine or electronic magazine

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False Positive: A legitimate email message mistakenly rejected or filtered as spam, either by an ISP or a recipient’s anti-spam program. The more stringent an anti-spam program, the higher the false-positive rate

Filter: See email filter

Firewall: A program or set of programs designed to keep unauthorized users or messages from accessing a private network. The firewall usually has rules or protocols that authorize or prohibit outside users or messages. In email, a firewall can be designed so that messages from domains or users listed as suspect because of spamming, hacking or forging will not be delivered

Footer: An area at the end of an email message or newsletter that contains information that doesn’t change from one edition to the next, such as contact information, the company’s postal address or the email address the recipient used to subscribe to mailings. Some software programs can be set to place this information automatically

Forward (also forward-to-a-friend or FTAF): The process in which email recipients send your message to people they know, either because they think their friends will be interested in your message or because you offer incentives to forward messages. Forwarding can be done through the recipient’s own email client or by giving the recipient a link to click, which brings up a registration page at your site, in which you ask the forwarded to give his/her name and email address, the name/email address of the person they want to send to and (optionally) a brief email message explaining the reason for the forward. You can supply the wording or allow the forward to write his/her own message. AKA viral marketing

Forward DNS Lookup: A Forward DNS lookup, or just DNS lookup, is the process of looking up and translating a domain name into its corresponding IP address. This can be compared to a reverse DNS lookup, which is the process of looking up and translating an IP address into a domain name

FQDN: Fully qualified domain name, a name consisting of both a host and a domain name. For example, www.lsoft.com is a fully qualified domain name. www is the host; lsoft is the second-level domain; and .com is the top-level domain

From: Whatever appears in the email recipient’s inbox as your visible “from” name. Chosen by the sender

FTP: File transfer protocol, used for uploading or downloading files to and from remote computer systems on a network using TCP/IP, such as the Internet

Full-Service Provider: An email vendor that also provides strategic consulting and creative support, in addition to sending messages

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Gateway: This is a hardware or software setup that functions as a translator between two dissimilar protocols. A gateway can also be the term to describe any mechanism providing access to another system (e.g AOL might be called a gateway to the Internet)

Goodbye Message An email message sent automatically to a list member who unsubscribes, acknowledging the request. Always include an option to re-subscribe in case the unsubscribe was requested accidentally

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HTML: HyperText Markup Language, the most commonly used coding language for creating Web pages. HTML can also be used in email messages

HTML Message: Email message which contains any type of formatting other than text. This may be as simple as programming that sets the text in a specific font (bold, italics, Courier 10 point, etc.). It also includes any graphic images, logos and colors
Hard bounce: Email messages that cannot be delivered to the recipient because of a permanent error, such as an invalid or non-existing email address

Header: Routing and program data at the start of an email message, including the sender’s name and email address, originating email server IP address, recipient IP address and any transfers in the process

Host: When a server acts as a host it means that other computers on the network do not have to download the software that this server carries. For instance, L-Soft offers the EASESM and ListPlex® products, which customers can use without having to store the software on their own computers

Host Name: The name of a computer on the Internet (such as www.lsoft.com)

House List The list of email addresses an organization develops on its own. (Your own list.)

Hygiene: The process of cleaning a database to correct incorrect or outdated values. See also list hygiene

Household Level Matching (email append): The process of matching your input name by utilizing the last name and full postal address fields to determine a match

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Individual Level Matching (email append): The process of matching your input name by requesting a match on the first name, last name and mailing address

IMAP: Internet message access protocol, a standard protocol used to retrieve email messages. Most email clients use either the IMAP or the POP protocol

Impression: A single view of one page by a single user, used in calculating advertising rates

In-House List: A list of email addresses that a company has gathered through previous customer contacts, Web sign-ups or other permission-based methods

Internet: The largest worldwide computer network

Intranet: Contrary to the public Internet, an intranet is a private network inside a company or organization

IP Address: An IP (internet protocol) is a unique number assigned to each device connected to the Internet. It is written as four numbers separated by periods. Each number can range from 0 to 255. Before connecting to a computer over the Internet, a domain name server translates the domain name into its corresponding IP address. An IP address can be dynamic, meaning it changes each time an email message or campaign goes out, or it can be static, meaning it does not change

ISP: Internet service provider, a company that provides access to the Internet, including the World Wide Web and email, typically for a monthly fee. Examples: AOL, EarthLink, MSN

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Joe Job: A spam-industry term for a forged email, in which a spammer or hacker fakes a genuine email address in order to hide his identity

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LAN: Local area network, which is a computer network, although geographically limited, usually to the same building, office, etc.

Landing Page A Web page viewed after clicking on a link within an email. Also may be called a microsite, splash page, bounce page, or click page

Linkrot: What happens when links go bad over time, either because a Web site has shut down or a site has stopped supporting a unique landing page provided in an email promotion

List: The list of email addresses to which you send your message. Can be either your house list or a third-party list that sends your message on your behalf

List Broker: A company that sells or rents lists of email addresses. Some list brokers are not reputable and sell lists with unusable or unsubstantiated candidates

List Fatigue: A condition producing diminishing returns from a mailing list whose members are sent too many offers, or too many of the same offers, in too short a period of time

List Host: See email vendors

List Hygiene: The act of maintaining a list so that hard bounces and unsubscribed names are removed from mailings. Some list owners also use an email change-of-address service to update old or abandoned email addresses (hopefully with a permission step baked in) as part of this process

List Management: How a mailing list is set up, administered and maintained. The list manager has daily responsibility over list operation, including processing subscribes and unsubscribes, bounce management, list hygiene, etc. The list manager can be the same as the database manager but is not always the same person as the list owner. See list owner

List Owner: The organization or individual who has gathered a list of email addresses. The owner of an email list defines the list’s charter and policy (i.e. what the list is about and what the general rules are that all subscribers must accept in order to be subscribed to the list). The list owner is also responsible for administrative matters and for answering questions from the list subscribers

List Rental: The process in which a publisher or advertiser pays a list owner to send its messages to that list. Usually involves the list owner sending the messages on the advertiser’s behalf

List Sale: The actual purchase of a mailing list along with the rights to mail it directly. Permission can only be “sold” if the subsequent mailings continue to match the frequency, brand name, content, and “from” of the past owner’s mailings. You are in effect buying a publication, and not just a list

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Mail Bomb: An orchestrated attempt to shut down a mail server by sending more messages than it can handle in a short period of time. See DOS

Mailing List: A list of email addresses that receive mailings or discussion-group messages

Mail Loop: A communication error between two email servers, usually happening when a misconfigured email triggers an automated response from the recipient server

Mailto:A code to make an email address in either a text or HTML email immediately clickable (mailto:JohnDoe@anywhere.com). When the link is clicked, it usually opens the user’s email client and inserts the email address in the “To:” link of a blank message

Mail Merge: A process that enables the delivery of personalized messages to large numbers of recipients. This is usually achieved using email list management software working in conjunction with a database

Mainframe: A high-level computer often shared by multiple users connected by individual terminals

Merge-Purge: The act of removing duplicate email addresses from a coalesced list that is composed of two or more existing lists

MIME: Multi-purpose internet mail extensions, an extension of the original Internet email standard that allows users to exchange text, audio or visual files

MTA: Mail transfer agent, a computer that forwards email from senders to recipients (or to relay sites) and stores incoming email

MSP: Mail service provider, such as Hotmail

MUA: Mail user agent (see email client)

Multi-Part MIME: Also known (confusingly) as an “email sniffer.” A message format that includes both an HTML and a text-only version in the same message. Most (but not all) email clients receiving messages in this format will automatically display the version the user’s system is set to show. Systems that can’t show HTML should show the text version instead. This doesn’t always work, in particular for many Lotus Notes users. Also, no data, except HTML open rates and possibly link click tracking, is transmitted back to the sender regarding which version a recipient wound up viewing

Multi-Threading: A process though which a mail server can perform multiple concurrent deliveries to different domains, which greatly speeds up the delivery of large volumes of email

MX: Mail exchange record

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Nth Name: The act of segmenting a list for a test in which names are pulled from the main list for the test cell by number, such as every fifth name on the list. See also a/b split

Net Name Arrangement: Typically reserved for large mailers. It is an agreement between the list manager and the end user or list broker that establishes a minimum payment that is less than 100%. The purpose of a net name arrangement is to provide a discount to the client to offset a percentage of data records that they historically drop during normal merge0-purge operations (current customers, duplicates, etc.)

NCOA: National Change of Address, a registry of people who move or otherwise change their address in the United States. Use of NCOA is required in order to obtain bulk mail rates, as it minimizes the number of misaddressed and eases the job of the postal service

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Open Rate: The number of HTML message recipients who opened your email, usually as a percentage of the total number of emails sent. The open rate is considered a key metric for judging an email campaign’s success

Open-Relay: Open-relay is the third-party relaying of email messages though a mail server. Spammers looking to obscure or hide the source of large volume mailings often use mail servers with open-relay vulnerabilities to deliver their email messages

Opt-In: A specific, proactive request by an individual email recipient to have their own email address placed on a specific mailing list. Many list renters and buyers now require list owners to provide proof of opt-in, including the actual email or IP address date and time the request was received

Opt-Out A specific request to remove an email address from a specific list, or from all lists operated by a single owner. Also, the process of adding an email addresses to lists without the name’s preapproval, forcing names who don’t want to be on your list to actively unsubscribe

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Pass-Along: An email recipient who got your message via forwarding from a subscriber. (Some emails offer “forward-to-a-friend” in the creative, but the vast majority of pass-alongs happen using email clients, and not that tech.) Pass-alongs can affect the formatting of the email, often stripping off HTML. Also known as viral

Permission: The implicit approval given when a person actively requests that their own email address be added to a list

Personalization: A targeting method in which an email message appears to have been created only for a single recipient. Personalization techniques include adding the recipient’s name in the subject line or message body, or the message offer reflects a purchasing, link clicking, or transaction history

PGP (Pretty Good Privacy): Software used to encrypt and protect email as it moves from one computer to another and can be used to verify a sender’s identity

Phishing: A form of identity theft in which a scammer uses an authentic-looking email to trick recipients into giving out sensitive personal information, such as credit-card or bank account numbers, Social Security numbers and other data

Plain Text: Text in an email message that includes no formatting code. See HTML

POP: Post office protocol, which an email client uses to send to or receive messages from an email server

Postmaster: The person to contact at a Web site, ISP or other site to request information, get help with delivery or register complaints

Preferences: Options a user can set to determine how they want to receive your messages, their addresses, to which email address message should go and which messages they want to receive from you. The more preferences a user can specify, the more likely you’ll send relevant email

Preview Pane: The window in an email client that allows the user to scan message content without actually clicking on the message. See open rate

Privacy Policy: A clear description of how your company uses the email addresses and other information it gathers via opt-in requests for newsletters, company information or third-party offers or other functions. If you rent, sell or exchange your list to anyone outside your company, or if you add email addresses to opt-out messages, you should state so in the privacy policy. State laws may also compel you to explain your privacy policy, where to put the policy statement so people will see it and even in form the policy should be displayed

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Queue: Where an email message goes after you send it but before the list owner approves it or before the list server gets around to sending it. Some list software allows you to queue a message and then set a time to send it automatically, either during a quiet period on the server or at a time when human approval isn’t available

Query: A subset of records in a database. Queries may be used to create highly specified demographics in order to maximize the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign

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Read Email: Not measurable. Only opens and clicks are measurable in any way. You can never know if a recipient simply read your message

Registration: The process where someone not only opts in to your email program, but provides some additional information, such as name, address, demographic data or other relevant information, usually by using a Web form

Relationship Email: An email message that refers to a commercial action—a purchase, complaint or customer-support request—based on a business relationship between the sender and recipient. Generally are not covered by CAN-SPAM requirements

Reply-To: The email address that receives messages sent from users who click “reply” in their email clients. Can differ from the “from” address which can be an automated or unmonitored email address used only to send messages to a distribution list

Reverse Email Append: The process of adding names and postal addresses to your email file

Reverse DNS: The process in which an IP address is matched correctly to a domain name, instead of a domain name being matched to an IP address. Reverse DNS is a popular method for catching spammers who use invalid IP addresses. If a spam filter or program can’t match the IP address to the domain name, it can reject the email

Rich Media: Creative that includes video, animation, and/or sound. Rich-media emails often collect high open and click rates but requires more bandwidth and are less compatible with different email clients than text or regular HTML email format messages. Some mailers also consider transactional email “rich”

ROI: Return on investment, used to state a cost/benefit ratio for direct mail campaigns

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Seed Emails: Email addresses placed on a list (sometimes secretly) to determine what messages are sent to the list and/or to track delivery rate and/or visible appearance of delivered messages. Seeds may also be placed on Web sites and elsewhere on the Internet to track spammers’ harvesting activities

Segment: The ability to slice a list into specific pieces determined by various attributes, such as open history or name source

Select: A segment of a list determined by any number of attributes, such as source of name, job title, purchasing history, etc. CPM list renters pay an additional fee per thousand names for each select on top of the base list price

Selective Unsubscribe: An unsubscribe mechanism that allows a consumer to selectively determine which email newsletters they wish to continue receiving while stopping the sending of others

Sender ID: An authentication protocol used to verify that the originating IP address is authorized to send email for the domain name declared in the visible “From” or “Sender” lines of the email message. Sender ID is used to prevent spoofing and to identify messages with visible domain names that have been forged

Sender Policy Framework (also SPF): A protocol used to eliminate email forgeries. A line of code called an SPF record is placed in a sender’s domain name server information. The incoming mail server can verify a sender by reading the SPF record before allowing a message through

Sent Emails: Number of email names transmitted in a single broadcast. Does not reflect how many were delivered or viewed by recipients

Server: A program or computer system that stores and distributes email from one mailbox to another, or relays email from one server to another in a network

Shared Server: An email server used by more than one company or sender. Shared servers are less expensive to use because the broadcast vendor can spread the cost over more users. However, senders sharing a server risk having emails blocked by major ISPs if one of the other users does something to get the server’s IP address blacklisted. See dedicated server

SMTP: Simple mail transfer protocol, the most common protocol for sending email messages between email servers

Snail Mail Traditional or surface mail sent through postal services such as the USPS (postal mail)

Soft Bounce: Email sent to an active (live) email address but which is turned away before being delivered. Often, the problem is temporary; the server is down or the recipient’s mailbox is over quota. The email might be held at the recipient’s server and delivered later, or the sender’s email program may attempt to deliver it again

Solo Mailing: A one-time broadcast to an email list, separate from regular newsletters or promotions, and often including a message from an outside advertiser or a special promotion from the list owner

Spam: The popular name for unsolicited commercial email. However, some email recipients define spam as any email they no longer want to receive, even if it comes from a mailing list they joined voluntarily

Spamcop: A blacklist and IP-address database, formerly privately owned but now part of the email vendor Ironport. Many ISPs check the IP addresses of incoming email against Spamcop’s records to determine whether the address has been blacklisted due to spam complaints

SPF: Sender policy framework, an authentication protocol used by recipient sites to verify that the originating IP address is authorized to send email for the domain name declared in the “MAIL FROM” line of the mail envelope. SPF is used to identify messages with forged “MAIL FROM” addresses

Spoofing: The practice of changing the sender’s name in an email message so that it looks as if it came from another address

Subject Line: Copy that identifies what an email message is about, often designed to entice the recipient into opening the message. The subject line appears first in the recipient’s inbox, often next to the sender’s name or email address. It is repeated in the email message’s header information inside the message. Subject lines are considered important by email marketers because they can often influence whether a recipient will open an email message

Subscribe: The process of joining a mailing list, either through an email command, by filling out a Web form, or offline by filling out a form or requesting to be added verbally. (If you accept verbal subscriptions, you should safeguard yourself by recording it and storing recordings along with time and date, in a retrievable format)

Subscriber: The person who has specifically requested to join a mailing list. A list has both subscribers, who receive the message from the sender, and pass-alongs

Suppression File: A list of email addresses you have removed from your regular mailing lists, either because they have opted out of your lists or because they have notified other mailers that they do not want to receive mailings from your company. Required by CAN-SPAM. AKA Do-Not-Email list

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Targeting: Using demographics and related information in a customer database to select the most appropriate recipients for a specific email campaign

Test: A necessary step before sending an email campaign or newsletter. Many email clients permit you to send a test email before sending a regular email newsletter or solo mailing, in which you would send one copy of the message to an in-house email address and then review it for formatting or copy errors or improperly formatted links. Email marketers should also send a test campaign to a list of email addresses not in the deployment database to determine likely response rates and how well different elements in the message perform

Text Newsletter: Plain newsletter with words only; no colors, graphics, fonts or pictures; can be received by anyone who has email

Thank-You Page: Web page that appears after user has submitted an order or a form online. May be a receipt

Throttling: The practice of regulating how many email messages a broadcaster sends to one ISP or mail server at a time. Some ISPs bounce email if it receives too many messages from one sending address at a time

Tracking: In an email marketing campaign, measuring behavioral activities such as click-throughs and open-ups

Transactional Email: Also known as trans-active email. A creative format where the recipient can enter a transaction in the body of the email itself without clicking to a Web page first. Transactions may be answering a survey, or purchasing something

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UCE: Unsolicited commercial email, also called spam or junk mail

Unique Clicks: The number of unique subscribers who clicked through on at least one link in a message

URL (Uniform resource locator): The Web address for a page, always beginning with http:// (or https:// for a secure page) and followed by www. (or variations, although some URLs are set up not to include this information) and the domain name. E.g., http://www.marketingsherpa.com

User Interface: A set of controls such as buttons, commands and other devices that allow a user to operate a computer program

Unsubscribe: (A) To remove oneself from an email list, either via an emailed command to the list server or by filling in a Web form (B) A mechanism through which an individual may request that he or she no longer receive commercial email

Unsolicited Commercial Email: Commercial email sent without an existing business relationship or prior informed consent

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Vendor: Any company that provides a service. See email vendors

Verification: A program that determines an email came from the sender listed in the return path or Internet headers; designed to stop email from forged senders

Video Email: An email message that includes a video file, either inserted into the message body, accessible through a hotlink to a Web site or accompanying it in an attachment (least desirable because many ISPs block executable attachments to avoid viruses)

Viral Marketing: A marketing strategy that encourages email recipients to pass along messages to others in order to generate additional exposure

Virus: A program or computer code that affects or interferes with a computer’s operating system and gets spread to other computers accidentally or on purpose through email messages, downloads, infected CDs or network messages. See worm

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Web Bug (also Web beacon): A 1 pixel-by-1 pixel image tag added to an HTML message and used to track open rates by email address. Opening the message, either in the preview pane or by clicking on it, activates the bug and sends a signal to the Web site, where special software tracks and records the signal as an open

Webmail (also Web mail): Any of several Web-based email clients where clients have to go to a website to access or download email instead of using a desktop application. Some examples are Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail

Welcome Message: Message sent automatically to new list members as soon as their email addresses are added successfully

Whitelist: Advance-authorized list of email addresses, held by an ISP, subscriber or other email service provider, which allows email messages to be delivered regardless of spam filters.See also enhanced white list

Worm: A piece of malicious code delivered via an executable attachment in email or over a computer network and which spreads to other computers by automatically sending itself to every email address on a recipient’s contact list or address book. See virus

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XML: Extensible Markup Language, a flexible way to create standard information formats and share both the format and the data on the World Wide Web

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Zeppo Marketing: The best company to work with for ANY advertiser’s customer acquisition and direct marketing needs

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