If you are a serious email geek then you were probably at the Inbox Conference held this week here in Atlanta, Georgia. This conference focuses on the more technical aspects of email and email marketing. While the conference was lightly attended by non-vendors, it was nonetheless a great opportunity to catch up on the latest and greatest from competitors and various technology players. By far, the biggest discussion was on the authentication and reputation services. Some of the highlights:
Meng Wong, considered the father of SPF, introduced his new proposal for next generation inboxes and the management of spam.
There were at least 79,000 healthy debates on what I am now calling the "Authentication Wars." The folks from Habeas, GoodMail, MailFrontier, IronPort and CloudMark had a rousing session that reminded me more of a small town political debate than a technical discussion. I can say without reservation that it was not boring, not even for an instant.
JupiterResearch's David Daniels led some great sessions on dynamic content, insource vs. outsource and, you guessed it, authentication standards. Yours truly was on the dynamic content panel with folks from DoubleClick and EmailTopia. We covered issues ranging from third party integration to the ROI trade-off of setting up complex business rules versus increased response rates.
CipherTrust and IronPort were battling it out for the right to give away the most t-shirts with their logos. The great thing about such battles is that all of us who have ever worked on our gardens or done weekend painting walk away winners.
I should mention that I had a chance to talk with Scott Richter, considered one of the most prolific acquisition email marketers in the world. Scott has a unique view of email as a marketing tool (which, for the record, I do not share). Among the tidbits I walked away with is the secret to great subject lines: use numbers or include the word "tonight".
Of course my favorite aspect of this event was the location. It was held across the street (literally) from our offices. Our friends at Port25 went outside to grab a cab to our office. The guy told them it was cheaper just to walk across the street. If you attended the conference and wondered why there were Silverpop people everywhere, now you know.