CSA Whitelist

Email marketing is an increasingly important part of dialog marketing activities for companies across Europe and North America. Many companies go to great lengths to clean and maintain their mailing lists and they want to be sure that their bulk emails reach their destination and don’t get rejected by spam filters.

The Certified Senders Alliance (CSA) is the central whitelist for email marketing mailers in the German-speaking countries. The German Dialog Marketing Association, DDV and eco – the German Internet Industry Association have provided this positive list since 2005. It provides reputable bulk mailers in both the US and Europe the opportunity to reliably deliver their emails to participating ISPs. Using the list, ISPs reduce the load on their filter systems: as a rule, their spam filters are not used for messages from IP addresses on the CSA whitelist.

As a reputable sender, Mapp is CSA accredited

CSA certification is especially relevant for international mailers sending bulk email to the German-speaking countries in Europe. Reputable bulk mailers, like Mapp, are accredited by the CSA ­– and thereby also their customers. To become accredited, participating bulk mailers undertake to comply with the CSA’s admission criteria such as consent, revocation, co-sponsoring/sale of addresses, imprint requirements, transparency and authentication as well as to strictly adhere to the CSA regulations. Mapp has all the experience and know-how that international players need when it comes to international email marketing and can help them meet legal requirements and navigate the specifics of the CSA requirements for bulk email.

The CSA regulations are based on the EU and German legal frameworks as well as the guidelines for permission marketing. Infringements against these guidelines in the form of unlawful mailings, increased spam rates and complaints to the CSA complaints department are promptly sanctioned. How? By the publication of complaints and temporary or permanent exclusion from the entire project.

New CSA regulations for senders

The technical and legal developments in email marketing in recent years have prompted the Certified Senders Alliance to make several changes and additions to the regulations. They are designed to underline and expand the high standards of the CSA whitelist in relation to reliability, reputation and quality of service.

These, amongst others, are the new points:

1. Technical configuration criteria for admission:

a) The mailer must remove any email addresses from the mailing list where, after loading the addresses, a mailbox is identified as non-existent, and at the latest after three hard bounces. Overall, the hard-bounce rate per ISP may not exceed 1.0%. An exception to this is only possible for new customers when the permissible hard-bounce rate may be exceeded once.

b) The DKIM process (Domain Keys Identified Mail) must be implemented for all server/IP addresses at the latest following successful certification by the CSA. The domains used in the DKIM "d=" Tag must point either to the certified sender via the WHOIS record or to the customer concerned for the certified mailer. The signed headers must, as a minimum, contain “From”, X-CSA-Complaints and list-unsubscribe.

c) Using DMARC is recommended so that ISPs can check received emails according to the required parameters. When using DMARC, reporting-email addresses must be specified in a way that can be processed by mailers and their customers when sent in reports by ISPs. Use of a reject policy is recommended.

2. Procedures, reprimands:

a) Decision-making: The complaints office releases decisions regarding sanctions within three months of receipt of all information relevant to the decision via the CSA mailer.

b) Publication of reprimands: eco is entitled to publish repeated reprimands on the CSA website for 6 months. Usually, publication occurs if 3 reprimands about a mailer are made within 6 months and:

- these reprimands are about the same customer (as determined by the imprint information) and relate to the legal admission criteria or:

- the reprimands relate to violations of technical admission criteria and there have been two weeks between reprimands being issued.

c) Temporary suspension of a CSA mailer:  as a rule, temporary suspension1 is implemented if:

- within 6 months, 5 reprimands about a mailer are made and these reprimands are about the same customer (as determined by the imprint information) and relate to the legal admission criteria OR the reprimands relate to violations of technical admission criteria and there have been two weeks between reprimands being issued.

- There are findings regarding a spam marking quota per mail server (IP address) and/or per ESP of more than 0.3% for an ISP within a week.

d) Permanent suspension of the CSA mailer occurs when the CSA mailer has been temporarily delisted for at least 3 months due to circumstances for which the CSA mailer is responsible.

The updated documents are available from the Certified Sender Alliance’s website.

Additional useful information about the CSA and conformant mailing is provided by the eco guidelines for acceptable email marketing.