I’m a little late with this bit of news, but I hope readers will indulge me nonetheless.
Lots of great things happened at the most recent M3AAWG general meeting in San Francisco last month, particularly for the Senders’ Special Interest Group, which I co-chair with my friend and colleague Tara Natanson of Constant Contact.
For the first time, postmasters from all four of the major free inbox providers shared the stage to take questions on a range of anti-abuse and policy topics. Gmail selected a M3AAWG Senders session as the venue to announce the launch of their feedback loop program (which my team helped to beta test) and header unsubscribe link implementation. We had some outstanding email and data science presentations that drew overflow attendance. All of these are remarkable.
But what’s not been quite as widely reported – and what I’m most proud about – is that our SIG was promoted to full Committee status, placing Senders for the first time on equal footing with the other Committees – Public Policy, Technical, and Collaboration – within M3AAWG.
There are a couple of different ways to interpret the news. What I think we can safely conclude is that M3AAWG recognizes that Senders play an increasingly important role in the fight against abuse. That makes sense to me. ISPs and recipient domains expend a lot of resources to tune and maintain filtering schemes to reject abusive traffic, but they can do so only after it arrives, which means that some cost associated with the abuse has already been incurred. Senders are in a position to stop abuse before it happens, and we need to be partners with the rest of the community to play our fullest role and have the greatest impact. This is a big step in that direction.
There are many Senders who contribute hours and hours of work to M3AAWG and our shared mission. I like to think that the news might just also be in recognition of that effort. So, thanks and congratulations to my M3AAWG colleagues who have contributed so much to the work our Committee has done over the last three years. We’ve all worked hard to get here, and we’ll be working even harder in the months and years to come.