Glossary / Technology

Email Glossary

A-B Split: Refers to a test situation in which a list is split into two pieces with every other name being sent
Above The Fold: The part of an email message or Web page that is visible without scrolling. Material in this area is
Accreditation-Based Systems: Third-party whitelist programs that certify senders to convince ISPs that those using the systems ar
Acquisition Cost: In email marketing, the cost to generate one lead, newsletter subscriber or customer in an individua
Ad Swap: An exchange between two publishers in which each agrees to run the other's comparably valued ad at n
Affiliate: A marketing partner that promotes your products or services under a payment-on-results agreement.
Affirmative Consent: An active request by a reader or subscriber to receive advertising or promotional information, newsl
Alert: Email message that notifies subscribers of an event or special price.
Application Program Interface (API): How a program (application) accesses another to transmit data. A client may have an API connection t
Application Service Provider (ASP): Company that provides a Web-based service. Clients don't have to install software on their own compu
Attachment: A text, video, graphic, PDF or sound file that accompanies an email message but is not included in t
Attachments: These are files which you can send along with your email, for example, graphics files, word processi
Authentication: An automated process that verifies an email sender's identity.
Authentication: Technical standards through which ISPs and other mail gateway administrators can establish the true
Autoresponder: Automated email message-sending capability, such as a welcome message sent to all new subscribers th
Bayesian Filter: An anti-spam program that evaluates header and content of incoming email messages to determine the p
Blackhole: Term describing what happens to email that is blocked without a bounce response to the sender.
Blacklist: A list developed by anyone receiving email, or processing email on its way to the recipient, or inte
Blacklist - Private: A list of IP addresses believed to send spam, compiled by an ISP based on user complaints, mail sent
Blacklist - Public: A list of IP addresses believed to send spam. Public blacklists are created and maintained by third
Block: A refusal by an ISP or mail server not to forward your email message to the recipient. Many ISPs blo
Bonded Sender: A private email-registration service, owned by email vendor Ironport, which allows bulk emailers who
Bounce: A message sent by a receiving system that 'bounces back' to the originating server to alert the send
Bounce Handling: The process of dealing with the email that has bounced. Bounce handling is important for list mainte
Bounce Message: Message sent back to an email sender reporting the message could not be delivered and why. Note: Not
Bounce Rate: Number of hard/soft bounces divided by the number of emails sent. This is an inexact number because
Broadcast: The process of sending the same email message to multiple recipients.
Bulk Folder: Where many email clients send messages that appear to be from spammers or contain spam or are from a
Call To Action: In an email message, the link or body copy that tells the recipient what action to take.
CAN-SPAM: Federal legislation governing unsolicited commercial email that went into effect on January 1, 2004.
Catch-All: An email server function that forwards all questionable email to a single mailbox. The catch-all sho
Cell: Aka Test cell or version. A segment of your list that receives different treatment specifically to s
CGI: Acronym for Common Gateway Interface. It is a specification for transferring information between the
Challenge Response: Method of approving senders to specific email addresses that asks the email sender to answer a quest
Challenge-Response System: An anti-spam program that requires a human being on the sender's end to respond to an emailed challe
Churn: How many subscribers leave a mailing list (or how many email addresses go bad) over a certain length
Click-Through: When a link is included in an email, a click-through occurs when a recipient clicks on the link. Cli
Click-Through Rate (CTR): Total number of clicks on email link(s) divided by the number of emails sent. Includes multiple clic
Co-Registration: Arrangement in which companies collecting registration information from users (email sign-up forms,
Commercial Email: Email whose purpose, as a whole or in part, is to sell or advertise a product or service or if its p
Confirmation: An acknowledgment of a subscription or information request. 'Confirmation' can be either a company s
Confirmed Opt-In: Inexact term that may refer to double-opt-in subscription processes or may refer to email addresses
Confirmed Opt-In: The process that double-checks the desire to be included on an email list after a primary registrati
Content: All the material in an email message except for the codes showing the delivery route and return-path
Content Filters: Software filters that block email based on words, phrases, or header information within the email it
Conversion: When an email recipient performs a desired action based on a mailing you have sent. A conversion cou
CPA: Cost per Action (also can be Acquisition). A method of paying for advertising, or calculating result
CPC: Cost per Click. A method of paying for advertising. Different from CPA because all you pay for is th
Cross-Campaign Profiling: A method used to understand how email respondents behave over multiple campaigns.
Cross-Post: To send the same email message to at least two different mailing lists or discussion groups.
Dedicated Server: An email server used by only one sender. A dedicated server often costs more to use because the expe
Deduping: The process of removing identical entries from two or more data sets such as mailing lists. AKA merg
Definable Reply-To Address: When you send an email and the recipient clicks 'reply,' normally the email address that the message
Delete: When you delete email it is not immediately erased from the mail server or your local computer. Inst
Delivered Email: Number of emails sent minus the number of bounces and filtered messages. A highly inexact number bec
Delivery Monitoring: A process, usually using third party tools and techniques, to measure true delivery rates by campaig
Delivery Tracking: The process of measuring delivery rates by format, ISP or other factors and delivery failures (bounc
Denial-Of-Service Attack (DOS): An organized effort to disrupt email or Web service by sending more messages or traffic than a serve
Deploy: The act of sending the email campaign after testing.
Dictionary Attack: A type of spam program that bombards a mail server with millions of alphabetically generated email a
Digest: A shortened version of an email newsletter which replaces full-length articles with clickable links
Discussion Group: An email service in which individual members post messages for all group members to read (many to ma
Domain: Internet addresses made up for words that correspond to the Internet Protocol (IP) numbers computers
Domain Name System (DNS): How computer networks locate Internet domain names and translate them into IP addresses. The domain
Domainkeys: An anti-spam software application being developed by Yahoo and using a combination of public and pri
Double Opt-In: A process that requires new list joiners to take an action (such as clicking on an emailed link to a
Download Message: Allows you to save a copy of an email message to your own computer which will be stored as a distinc
Dynamic Content: Email-newsletter content that changes from one recipient to the next according to a set of predeterm
E-zine: Another name for email newsletter, adapted from electronic magazine.
Effective Rate: Metric that measures how many of those who opened an email message clicked on a link, usually measur
Email Address: The combination of a unique user name and a sender domain (JohnDoe@anywhere.com). The email address
Email Address Finder: Service that allows you to search for other people's email addresses by entering their name, address
Email Append: Process that adds email addresses to postal files by merging files to match the postal address again
Email Change of Address (ECOA): A process that provides updated email addresses for data files based on consumer-provided, permissio
Email Client: The software recipients use to read email, such as Outlook Express or Lotus Notes.
Email Delivery Rates: The percentage of email that gets delivered as intended; compiled from seedlist-based monitoring ser
Email Domain: Aka Domain. The portion of the email address to the right of the @ sign. Useful as an email address
Email Filter: A software tool that categorizes, sorts or blocks incoming email, based either on the sender, the em
Email Friendly Name: The portion of the email address that is displayed in most, though not all, email readers in place o
Email Harvesting: An automated process in which a robot program searches Web pages or other Internet destinations for
Email Newsletter: Content distributed to subscribers by email, on a regular schedule. Content is seen as valued editor
Email Prefix: The portion of the email address to the left of the @ sign.
Email Vendor: Another name for an email broadcast service provider, a company that sends bulk (volume) email on be
Enhanced Whitelist: A super-whitelist maintained by AOL for bulk emailers who meet strict delivery standards, including
ESP: An Email Service Provider is a company that sends and manages email campaigns for other companies as
Event Triggered Email: Pre-programmed messages sent automatically based on an event such as a date or anniversary.
False Negative: When spam filtering devices fail to detect spam and allow it to be delivered.
False Positive: A legitimate message mistakenly rejected or filtered as spam, either by an ISP or a recipient's anti
Filters: Filters automatically move incoming emails into separate folders according to criteria that you spec
Firewall: A program or set of programs designed to keep unauthorized users or messages from accessing a privat
Footer: An area at the end of an email message or newsletter that contains information that doesn't change f
Forward: The process in which email recipients send your message to people they know, either because they thi
Forwards: This feature indicates that the provider in question can also automatically forward incoming emails
From: Whatever appears in the email recipient's inbox as your visible 'from' name. Chosen by the sender. M
Full-Service Provider: An email vendor that also provides strategic consulting and creative support, in addition to sending
Goodbye Message: An email message sent automatically to a list member who unsubscribes, acknowledging the request. Al
Greylisting: Process of routing email to a bulk folder if it is borderline spam, as determined by a receiving ISP
Hard Bounce: Message sent to an invalid, closed or nonexistent email account.
Harvesting: Process that crawls the Internet to gather email addresses from Web sites and then uses them to crea
Header: The first part of an email message that contains controlling and meta-data such as the subject, orig
Hesiod: A name service that keeps track of information (e.g., post office servers, printers, and machines) i
House List: The list of email addresses an organization develops on its own. (Your own list.)
HTML Message: Email message which contains any type of formatting other than text. This may be as simple as progra
Hygiene: The process of cleaning a database to correct incorrect or outdated values. See also List Hygiene.
Impression: A single view of one page by a single user, used in calculating advertising rates.
Incoming Mail Server (Post Office Server): The server on which messages sent to your email address reside. MIT uses several incoming mail serve
Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP): The recommended method for accessing email, is a client-server approach to email in which email is k
Internet Service Provider (ISP): Company that provides access to the Internet through connectivity services. Examples include AOL, Co
IP Address: A unique number assigned to each device connected to the Internet. An IP address can be dynamic, mea
Joe Job: A spam-industry term for a forged email, in which a spammer or hacker fakes a genuine email address
Landing Page: A Web page viewed after clicking on a link within an email. Also may be called a microsite, splash p
Linkrot: What happens when links go bad over time, either because a Web site has shut down or a site has stop
List: The list of email addresses to which you send your message. Can be either your house list or a third
List Fatigue: A condition producing diminishing returns from a mailing list whose members are sent too many offers
List Host: See email vendors.
List Hygiene: The act of maintaining a list so that hard bounces and unsubscribed names are removed from mailings.
List Management: How a mailing list is set up, administered and maintained. The list manager has daily responsibility
List Owner: The organization or individual who has gathered a list of email addresses. Ownership does not necess
List Rental: The process in which a publisher or advertiser pays a list owner to send its messages to that list.
List Sale: The actual purchase of a mailing list along with the rights to mail it directly. Permission can only
Machine-Learning Filters: Filters run by machines that determine whether to block email based on algorithms that point to whet
Mail Bomb: An orchestrated attempt to shut down a mail server by sending more messages than it can handle in a
Mail Loop: A communication error between two email servers, usually happening when a misconfigured email trigge
Mailing List: A list of email addresses that receive mailings or discussion-group messages.
Mailto: A code to make an email address in either a text or HTML email immediately clickable (mailto:JohnDoe
Multi-Part MIME: Also known (confusingly) as an 'email sniffer.' Message format which includes both an HTML and a tex
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension (MIME): An encoding method designed for exchanging binary files over the Internet (particularly via email me
Nth Name: The act of segmenting a list for a test in which names are pulled from the main list for the test ce
Open Proxy: Software that exists on a server that allows the third-party relay of e-mail messages through ports
Open Rate: The number of HTML message recipients who opened your email, usually as a percentage of the total nu
Open Relay: An SMTP email server that allows outsiders to relay email messages that are neither for nor from loc
Open Relay: SMTP email server that allows the third-party relay of email messages through the SMTP 'port' on a s
Opt-In: A specific, pro-active, request by an individual email recipient to have their own email address pla
Opt-Out: A specific request to remove an email address from a specific list, or from all lists operated by a
Outgoing Mail Server: The server that routes email messages to incoming servers on the Internet. Outgoing mail servers are
Pass-Along: An email recipient who got your message via forwarding from a subscriber. (Some emails offer 'forwar
Permission: The implicit approval given when a person actively requests to have their own email address added to
Personalization: A targeting method in which an email message appears to have been created only for a single recipien
Phishing: A form of identity theft in which a scammer uses an authentic-looking email to trick recipients into
Plain Text: Text in an email message that includes no formatting code.
POP3: This is a computing standard that enables emails to be retrieved from a remote mailbox. That is, it
Post Office Protocol (POP): POP (Post Office Protocol) was the recommended method for accessing your mail before IMAP (Internet
Postmaster: The person who manages mail servers at an organization. Usually the one to contact at a particular s
Preferences: Options a user can set to determine how they want to receive your messages, how they want to be addr
Pretty Good Privacy (PGP): Software used to encrypt and protect email as it moves from one computer to another and can be used
Preview Pane: The window in an email client that allows the user to scan message content without actually clicking
Privacy Policy: A clear description of how your company uses the email addresses and other information it gathers vi
Purge: Purging email is when the messages you have marked for removal by the delete command are erased from
Queue: Where an email message goes after you send it but before the list owner approves it or before the li
Read Email: Not measurable. Only opens and clicks are measurable in any way. You can never know if a recipient s
Registration: The process where someone not only opts in to your email program but provides some additional inform
Relationship Email: An email message that refers to a commercial action -- a purchase, complaint or customer-support req
Reminders: Some free email providers allow you to set up reminders, which are messages that will automatically
Reply-To: The email address that receives messages sent from users who click 'reply' in their email clients. C
Reverse DNS: The process in which an IP address is matched correctly to a domain name, instead of a domain name b
Rich Media: Creative that includes video, animation, and/or sound. Rich-media emails often collect high open and
Search Facility: Allows you find email messages in your folders based on certain criteria that you specify - very use
Seed Emails: Email addresses placed on a list (sometimes secretly) to determine what messages are sent to the lis
Seed List: A list of email addresses that should be included in every email event to monitor delivery across em
Segment: The ability to slice a list into specific pieces determined by various attributes, such as open hist
Select: A segment of a list determined by any number of attributes, such as source of name, job title, purch
Selective Unsubscribe: An unsubscribe mechanism that allows a consumer to selectively determine which email newsletters the
Sender ID: The informal name for a new anti-spam program combining two existing protocols: Sender Policy Framew
Sender Policy Framework (SPF): A protocol used to eliminate email forgeries. A line of code called an SPF record is placed in a sen
Sender-ID: An authentication standard proposed by Microsoft, that compares an email sender's 'From' address to
Sent Emails: Number of email names transmitted in a single broadcast. Does not reflect how many were delivered or
Server: A program or computer system that stores and distributes email from one mailbox to another, or relay
Shared Server: An email server used by more than one company or sender. Shared servers are less expensive to use be
Signature: A line or two of information found in the closing of an email, usually followed the sender's name. S
Signature: A small 'footer' that is added to the end of your outgoing email messages which contains text that y
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP): SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is a standard set of rules that define an email message format,
SMTP Log File: A file showing all conversations back and forth between servers during the email send and receive pr
Snail Mail: A term for postal mail. This term started due to the slow pace of postal mail compared to the instan
Soft Bounce: Email sent to an active (live) email address but which is turned away before being delivered. Often,
Solo Mailing: A one-time broadcast to an email list, separate from regular newsletters or promotions, and often in
Spam: The popular name for unsolicited commercial email. However, some email recipients define spam as any
Spam Filter: Systems that watch for spam and block it before it can hit the inbox. Spam filters can be complaint
Spam-Trap Address: An email address that is set up specifically to catch people who are harvesting addresses or using d
Spamcop: A blacklist and IP-address database, formerly privately owned but now part of the email vendor Ironp
Spell Check: Checks an email message before sending allowing you to correct any spelling errors. This feature is
SPF: SPF (Sender Policy Framework) compares an email sender's actual IP address to a list of IP addresses
Split Mailbox: A method of forwarding your @mit.edu email to another email account while having a copy still sent t
Sponsorship Swap: An agreement between email list owners, publishers or advertisers to sponsor each other's mailings o
Spoofing: The practice of changing the sender's name in an email message so that it looks as if it came from a
Spoofing: Forged email addresses that hide the origin of a spam or virus message. Used to trick people into op
Storage Limit: Most free email providers have a limit to the amount of disk space your emails can take up on their
Subject Line: Copy that identifies what an email message is about, often designed to entice the recipient into ope
Subscribe: The process of joining a mailing list, either through an email command, by filling out a Web form, o
Subscriber: The person who has specifically requested to join a mailing list. A list has both subscribers, who r
Suppression File: A list of email addresses you have removed from your regular mailing lists, either because they have
Suppression List: A list of email addresses kept by a single organization that should not be mailed to any longer. Usu
Test: A necessary step before sending an email campaign or newsletter. Many email clients permit you to se
Text Newsletter: Plain newsletter with words only, no colors, graphics, fonts or pictures; can be received by anyone
Thank-You Page: Web page that appears after user has submitted an order or a form online. May be a receipt.
Throttling: The practice of regulating how many email message a broadcaster sends to one ISP or mail server at a
Transactional Email: also known as transactive email. A creative format where the recipient can enter a transaction in th
UCE: Unsolicited Commercial Email, also called spam or junk mail.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL): The Web address for a page, always beginning with http:// (or https:// for a secure page) and follow
Unique Reference Number: A unique number assigned to a list member, usually by the email-broadcast software, and used to trac
Unknown User: Bounce error code generated by an ISP when an email address is not registered in its system.
Unsubscribe: To remove oneself from an email list, either via an emailed command to the list server or by filling
Vacation Reply: This is an email that is automatically sent out from your account whenever an email is received, to
Vendor: Any company that provides a service. See email vendors.
Verification: A program that determines an email came from the sender listed in the return path or Internet header
Verified Opt-In: Formerly known as double opt-in. Requires secondary confirmation from an email address to confirm in
Video E-Mail: An email message that includes a video file, either inserted into the message body, accessible throu
Virus: A program or computer code that affects or interferes with a computer's operating system and gets sp
Web Bug: A 1 pixel-by-1 pixel image tag added to an HTMLmessage and used to track open rates by email address
Web-Based: An email account accessible by browsing the worldwide web. Click here for more details.
Webmail: Any of several Web-based email clients where clients have to go to a Web site to access or download
Welcome Message: Message sent automatically to new list members as soon as their email addresses are added successful
Whitelist: Advance-authorized list of email addresses, held by an ISP, subscriber or other email service provid
Worm: A piece of malicious code delivered via an executable attachment in email or over a computer network

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