CheetahMail has become the first major e-mail service provider (ESP) to fully implement Yahoo!’s DomainKeys e-mail authentication system, one of a number of initiatives designed to counter the growth of spam e-mail.
DomainKeys uses digital cryptography to verify that e-mails are actually being sent by the companies they appear to be from. Most spam e-mails use fake originating addresses to avoid existing filter programs. Some spammers even use virus programs to hijack other computers and force them to mail out millions of copies of unsolicited marketing messages.
CheetahMail UK chief technology officer Jude Hudson says: “This won’t stop a company from sending rubbish messages. What it does is provide assurance that the e-mail has actually come from that company, rather than someone masquerading as it.” It also means that if there are complaints about marketing e-mails, the companies involved can be identified.
Recently, ESPs and internet service providers have become extremely alarmed about rising consumer hostility to spam e-mails and the likely impact on legitimate e-mail marketing. All the major ISPs, including Yahoo!, AOL and MSN, have been developing systems that will allow reputable companies to continue to use e-mail marketing, while stamping out rogue operations.