SAFELINK safe links? Really?

Standard

There’s been some discussion of Marketing Scoop’s SAFELINK offering here at Return Path…most of it rather more charitable than my thoughts.

According to Marketing Scoop’s site:

Businesses who subscribe to the program are provided with a SAFELINK icon to be displayed in emails sent to prospective customers. Those who receive the email know they are protected from computer viruses, scams, or unsolicited pornography. When clicking on the icon, consumers view a SAFELINK certificate, complete with information about the SAFELINK member company.


Sigh. Been there, done that.

This is an effort to bring sender reputation into email, which I totally support, but it’s a really, really half-assed effort. Even putting aside from the fact that the design is fundamentally flawed, this approach puts the burden of validation on the user for each and every email message that they receive. For Truste-style Web site validation this is arguably acceptable, since it’s a very occasional imposition on the user, but asking me to manually validate every stinking email? No, thanks…

8:00:03 AM “Wow! 481 emails in my inbox…guess I’d better get cracking.”
8:00:08 AM “Excellent, message number one has the SAFELINK icon, so far, so good.”
8:00:27 AM “Okay, not good. The SAFELINK icon linked to www.really-disturbing-porn-emporium.net, not the Marketing Scoop site.”
8:03:32 AM “Holy shit. How do I make these popups stop? No, I don’t want to allow ActiveX controls to run. Shitshitshit.”
8:27:41 AM “Man, that sucked. Okay, on to message two. Yep, it’s got the SAFELINK icon…”