Negating the false positive effect in Asia

Melissa Chua
ISPs seeking to gain customers’ trust and protect brand equity should do more than compete on price alone. A carrier’s credibility could also hinge on the reputation of the IP addresses it uses to deliver emails.
 
Audits carried out in the past month by email authentication vendor TrustSphere on various ISPs in Asia showed the email deliverability rate for an Indonesian ISP was just 25%, while an ISP in Vietnam registered 28%. The remaining 75% and 72% respectively had been blocked by receivers.
 
ISPs surveyed in more mature Asian markets such as Singapore and Hong Kong fared slightly better, with the Singapore ISP having a 34% deliverability rate and the Hong Kong ISP scoring a 41% deliverability rate.
 
TrustSphere CEO Manish Goel said the false positive rate for Asia, where genuine emails get flagged as spam, averaged around 0.32%; higher than that of the United States and Europe. Markets whose users were not yet accustomed to broadband Internet were more prone to getting compromised by malware that could send malicious emails without users’ knowledge, Goel said.This in turn would affect the reputations of the IP addresses an ISP used for mail delivery. Many such IP addresses would end up on an online tracker’s botlist, with mail sent from these addresses ending up being blocked by receivers.
 
“Email is the stickiest of applications, and one factor that could make users unwilling to change provider if they’ve been operating from a carrier-based email address,” said Goel. “But if users’ emails are not getting delivered, customers will walk to cloud-based email services such as Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo and carriers might lose customer trust and loyalty as a result, with no binding factor holding a customer to an ISP.”
 
Users accessing their email via mobile face additional inconveniences when genuine emails get blocked. While genuine emails may be retrieved upon return to the office, rarely do they get released from quarantine when accessed from a mobile device.
 
According to Goel, many ISPs in Asia would change their range of IP addresses used for sending mail once blacklisted, instead of working to get the situation rectified by contacting a botlist, but this course of action was but a short term solution. “No ISP in the United States would do that because it’s the same as what spammers do.”

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