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Here's a new idea for Google to make money and cover the costs of processing / filtering billions of messages per day.

This is a solution to eliminate spam as well, without too many false positives as currently.

Solution: Google to create its own newsletter management system!

Or at least, Google works with major providers (Vertical Response, Constant Contact, iContact, Mail Chimp etc.) to allow their clients (the companies sending billions of messages each day, such as LinkedIn) to pay a fee based on volume. The fee would help the sender to not end up in Gmail spam box, as long as it complies with Google policies. Even better: let Google offer this newsletter management service directly to clients who want to reach Gmail more effectively, under Google's controls and conditions.

I believe Google is now in position to offer this service, as more than 50% of new personal email accounts currently created are Gmail, and they last much longer than any corporate email accounts (you don't lose your Gmail account when you lose your job). Indeed, we would be one of the first clients to sign up with Gmail Contact (that's the name I have invented for the Google newsletter management service). Google could reasonably charge $100 per 20,000 messages sent to Gmail accounts: the potential revenue is huge.

If Google would offer this service internally (rather than through a 3rd party such as Constant Contact), they would make more money and have more control, and the task of eliminating spam would be easier and less costly.

Currently, since Google offers none of these services, we face the following issues:

  • A big component in Gmail anti-spam technology is collaborative filtering algorithms: your newsletter quickly ends up in the spam box, a few milliseconds after the delivery process has started, if too many users complaint about it, do not open it, or don't click
  • Thus fraudsters can create tons of fake Gmail accounts to boost the "open" and "click" rates so that their spam goes through, leveraging collaborative filtering to their advantage
  • Fraudsters can also use tons of fake Gmail accounts to fraudulently and massively flag email received from real companies or competitors, as fraud.
  • Newsletter are delivered way too fast: 100,000 messages are typically delivered in 5 minutes by newsletter management companies. If Gmail was delivering these newsletters via their own system (say Gmail Contact), then it could deliver much more slowly, and thus do a much better job at controlling spam without creating tons of false positives.

In the meanwhile, a solution for companies regularly sending newsletters to a large number of subscribers is to:

  1. Create a special segment for all Gmail accounts, and use that segment more sparingly. In our case, it turns out that our Gmail segment is the best one (among all our segments), in terms of low churn, open and click rate - if we do not use it too frequently, and reserve it for our best messages.
  2. Ask your newsletter management vendor to use a dedicated IP to send messages
  3. Every three months, remove all subscribers who never open or even those who never clicked (though you will lose good subscribers with email clients having images turned off)
  4. Create SFP records.

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Yes, and perhaps they might simplify this idea a bit--like Comcast started charging Neflix for the traffic it was causing--Google should just work with the big ESP's (email service providers) to authenticate their practices and give better delivery--the ESP could just pay a small cut to Google (say $40 to $60 per 20,000) and then it's a win-win: costs of email deployment would be reduced for the ESP, and Google gets better results for their customers, doesn't need to get into the email services, and can effectively manage its network traffic and reduce spam.

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