• United States
Contributing Writer

‘Net e-mailers unite to fight spam

Apr 29, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMalware

* Advertising and e-mail powerhouses want antispam registry

There is a serious fear among IT organizations that e-mail will cease to become a productive tool because of the preponderance of spam. And if e-tailers can’t rely on the easy gateway to customers that e-mail provides, it too, could be in jeopardy.

This reality is sparking a coalition of e-mail outsourcers and Internet advertisers to band together to fight spam. Known as the Email Service Provider Coalition (ESPC), the group is developing an alternative to current methods such as blacklisting, which filters out e-mailers who are considered bad, and whitelisting, which lets through e-mailers that are considered good. Both methods have their drawbacks, allowing bad e-mail to get through or blocking good e-mail.

The ESPC, which counts among its 30 members advertising and e-mail powerhouses including DoubleClick, Digital Impact and ClickAction, wants to enact a registry process that would certify commercial e-mailers. Called Project Lumos, the registry – a series of decentralized databases – would act as a “seal of approval” for companies that want to send bulk e-mail.

As part of the certification process, e-mailers would have to reveal their identity and then receive a score based on factors such as numbers of customer complaints and numbers of tries before users are able to unsubscribe. They would also have to comply with Project Lumos’ guidelines, including using standardized sender info in the mail header and secure proof of the sender’s identity in the SMTP header. They must also provide an identifiable and trackable unsubscribe URL.

The goal in all of this, according to the ESPC, is to make it impossible for “high-volume mailers to conceal their identities.” The group is hoping to curb the onslaught of spam by imposing best practices on the industry.

ESPC says that the Project Lumos alone is not “the silver bullet,” but will work in tandem with blacklists and other filtering technologies.

For more on Project Lumos, visit