HAFEZI: Paul, tell me about yourself and what 250ok is doing.
MIDGEN: Well, I’m VP Engineering at 250ok and I came there to work after working kind of in all different spots in the sending ecosystem. I started my career at Hotmail (Microsoft) doing receiver-side operations like inbound email, anti-spam, and then I went to work for a company that was sending mail. And so I kind of got to see everything from all sides. And 250ok was interesting to me because it’s really the first company that I had contact with that was making a big effort to bring together a lot of the missing pieces in the email industry. The objective over the long term was to make senders very good at what they do, and to get into as little trouble as possible.
HAFEZI: What is the core problem that you solve at 250ok?
MIDGEN: So when you’re sending email and you’re doing this commercially you might be sending the messages yourself, you might be using a number of vendors but you’re generating a lot of data. Hopefully, you have a large and successful business. That means that you’re sending mail to a lot of people, sometimes all over the world, that creates a lot of data that you have to pay attention to, to really know what’s going on.
In the deliverability world we’re always telling people, look, you need to pay attention to this data, you need to do something with it. And the answer we always get back is: how do I do that?
And this goes beyond looking at open and click rates or, you know, when’s the last time you emailed someone. You have things like DMARC, which gives you information about the Message Authentication. You have the click and open data. You have the data from your email service provider (ESP) that says you sent this many messages, this many were delivered, this many bounced. And in the deliverability world we’re always telling people, look, you need to pay attention to this data, you need to do something with it. And the answer we always get back is: how do I do that? So, we solve that “how do I do that” problem. We refer to ourselves — you know, in this sort of data-analysis world — as the Google Analytics of email.
And one of the major steps we’ve recently taken in that direction is offering something called integrations, which goes one step further. Before, it was, okay, we’ll do your feedback loops (FBL), we’ll look at your bounces for you. But now, if you use a major ESP to send, we can actually integrate 250ok with your ESP account and you can connect those two accounts together. Now, you don’t have to log in to 250ok to see, for example, who’s blacklisted you, or what your FBL rates are, and then log into your ESP and see “how my campaigns performing?” We bring it all together in one place. This is the “missing piece” that I referred to.
HAFEZI: And why is this important for the community?
When you’re using email to drive revenue, you want to get the most bang for your buck. People want to find out what are they not doing and how they can improve their practices.
MIDGEN: When you’re using email to drive revenue, you want to get the most bang for your buck. People come to events like this and find out what’s going on, what are they not doing. Basically, how they can improve their practices. But the problem is there’s a lot to learn and you can’t really find all the answers in one place. So, we try to bring both the tools and the data connectivity and something like a knowledge base that goes with it, so that you can get all of this in one product from one place.
Paul Midgen believes that inside every ruthless revenue-driven sender lurks a recipient-centered Jedi master, and he’s dedicated to setting them free one sender at a time. Before joining 250ok, Paul was CEO of Message Bus, ran Inbound Delivery & Anti-Spam at Hotmail, and co-authored the DMARC specification.
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