Had an interesting observation this morning. Checking the blog at ReturnPath, who advise companies on how to ensure their emails get delivered and not blocked as spam, and they have launched a free email reputation monitoring website – Senderscore.

Not as sophisticated as their paid service (I presume) – but a nice free tool to start with.

Got an account and typed in my various IP addresses, and I am a good boy it seems (96 out of 100).

However, when I tried with my domain names, I noticed that the report commented about the lack of any SSL certificates on my sites.

Now, the fact is – I don’t actually need SSL…. but it got me thinking. Does an SSL certificate affect my email reputation. I certainly haven’t explictly heard that anywhere (and I do a fair bit of email reputation research), so did a bit of digging.

One of the first things I found was a whitepaper which does suggest that SSL certificates could be added to the melting pot when deciding if a domain/IP is a crappy spammer or a long term legit website.

I also found a comment at the bottom of this news article which notes that Verisign will share their SSL database with Habeas who are one of the email reputation firms around.

So, the conclusion seems to be that an SSL certificate – even if never used for ecommerce – could be one of the factors used by ISPs and spam filter companies to decide if your domain name is a good boy or a scumbag spammer.

The issue now is, can I get away with a £50 certificate from the likes of Thwate or do I have to fork out for the (ouch) £480 version from Verisign. I guess it all depends on just how powerful the Habeas whitelist would be and what impact the Verisign partnership is having on email deliverability.

A little more clarity from these chaps on this issue would be useful as it seems odd they are so quiet about something which most legit email senders would be willing to invest in.

Personally, I would be willing to spend £480(ish) on a certificate if I can be assured of a percentage improvement in email deliverability, or maybe selected webmail clients would enable images or bypass the spam filters. So come on chaps – my credit card is waiting!

As it is, I might burn £50 on a Thwate type certificate and see what happens.

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5 Comments

  1. Never mind Thawte and Verisign. $14.95 will get you a RapidSSL cert which works perfectly well with the current crop of browsers. That price is available if you start the purchase process over at EV1, they are much more expensive at RapidSSL itself. BTW, RapidSSL is a UK company. Telephone support is EXCELLENT. Just don’t get stuck during the EV1 stage, their support is somewhat less than excellent.

  2. sam

    Given that gmail uses thawte, I’d imagine that’s more than adequate for your purposes, surely?

  3. Max

    I’m trying to use freessl certificate on my mailserver (freessl=rapidssl=geotrust), but senderscore.org make me crazy! It say that i have no SSL cert.
    So… i cannot find information about what port SSL senderscore use!
    I have postfix installed and the port is 587 standart for startTTLS.
    What do you use to have a correct valutation from senderscore?

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