A/B Split
When a list is divided into two equal segments, each of which can be tested with different variables as part an effort to determine which is more effective

Above the fold
When you launch your internet browser or while viewing your email in your email reader, the bottom of the window is commonly referred to as the "fold". The viewable areas before one has to start scrolling are "above the fold".

API (or Application Programming Interface)
An application programming interface (API) allows a software's functionality to be extended to 'the outside world'. Examples of APIs include Google's Gmaps pedometer, where users can map out their running routes.

ASP (or Application Service Provider)
An application service provider (ASP) is a company that provides access to software applications via the Internet that otherwise would have to be installed on a user's personal computer. Current buzz term for this is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). See also: SaaS (Software as a Service)

Auto Reply
When an email recipient is "Out of the Office" or "Away on Vacation" they often set up an automated reply message alerting the sender to this fact.

B2B (business-to-business) companies that primarily sell products or provide services to other businesses.

B2C (business-to-consumer) companies are those firms that sell products or provide services primarily to end-user consumers.

The amount of information that can be transmitted over a network such as the Internet in a specific amount of time.

Blacklists are made up of lists of IP addresses belonging to organizations that have been identified as senders of SPAM (unsolicited commercial email). Blacklists are often used by ISPs and corporations as part of the filtering process that determines which IP addresses they prohibit from sending mail to their members.

When emails are prevented from reaching their intended destination, typically due to action taken on the part of the Internet Service Provider (ISP).

A user-generated website where entries are made in an informal journal style and displayed in date order with the most recent entries first. Readers may or may not be able to comment on specific posts within the blog.

Bonded Sender Program
Sponsored by IronPort Systems, the Bonded Sender program identifies legitimate email traffic. Originators of legitimate email can now post a financial bond to ensure the integrity of their email campaign. Receivers who feel they have received an unsolicited email from a Bonded Sender can complain to their ISP, enterprise, or IronPort and a financial charge is debited from the bond. This market-based mechanism allows email senders to ensure their message gets to the end user, and provides corporate IT managers and ISPs with an objective way to ensure only unwanted messages get blocked.

A "Bounced" email indicates that an attempt to deliver an email to a particular address has failed. This may occur if the email address is no longer valid or the intended recipient's ISP and/or email servers were not functioning over a period of 3 consecutive days. See also: Bounce - Hard, Bounce - Soft>

Bounce - Hard
An email address that is rejected for a permanent reason that cannot be resolved, such as: "the address does not exist". See also: Bounce

Bounce - Soft
An email address that is rejected for what is most likely a temporary reason, such as an overfilled inbox. See also: Bounce

Phrasing that encourages a reader to take action. For example, "Click here to register for the VerticalResponse newsletter." or "Get started with your free trial of VerticalResponse today!"


The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) is a federal law that establishes requirements for those who send commercial email. It spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them. Among other measures, the law:

  • Bans false or misleading header information. Your email's "From," "To," and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person who initiated the email.
  • Prohibits deceptive subject lines. The subject line cannot mislead the recipient about the contents or subject matter of the message.
  • Requires that your email give recipients an opt-out method. You must provide a return email address or another Internet-based response mechanism that allows a recipient to ask you not to send future email messages to that email address, and you must honor the requests. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your commercial email.
  • It requires that commercial email be identified as an advertisement and include the sender's valid physical postal address. Your message must contain clear and conspicuous notice that the message is an advertisement or solicitation and that the recipient can opt out of receiving more commercial email from you. It also must include your valid physical postal address.

The CAN-SPAM Act also provides for penalties for a number of other offenses, which can be reviewed here:

A Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart is used to determine whether or not the user is human. Users are asked to type in a series of distorted images to prove that they are not a machine.

Challenge Response
A challenge-response system is a program that replies to an email message from an unknown sender by subjecting the sender to a test designed to differentiate humans from automated senders, also known as "bots".

Click-through Rate (CTR), Click Rate
An indicator of response to a given email message, as measured by the percentage of recipients that click on a link enclosed in the email. To determine the click-through rate, divide the number of responses by the number of emails sent (multiply this number by 100 to express the result as a percentage).

Co-registration or Co-Reg
Co-registration is the process of using other websites to generate opt-in email leads that you can add to your mailing list for marketing purposes. When you reach a co-registration agreement with a site or a network of sites, they will ask new registrants if they would like to receive information from your company as well. If the registrants opt-in (choose to receive mailings), they will be added to your mailing list so you can market to them directly.

Confirmed Opt-in
"Confirmed opt-in", also known as "double opt-in" or "closed loop" in some circles, provides an additional layer of security by requiring that an email account be both subscribed and then verified by a confirmation email before it is added to the list. As a result, only those people with access to the account can respond to the confirmation message, greatly reducing the chance of abuse. For this reason, confirmed opt-in is regarded as the gold standard for secure email marketing.

The copy, graphics and images that comprise your email, website or marketing materials.

Conversion Rate
A metric which measures the percentage of people converted into subscribers or buyers out of the total population exposed to a particular campaign.

The text of the campaign, distinct from the graphics.

CPA (or Cost per acquisition)
A payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying actions such as sales or registrations.

CPM (or Cost per thousand)
In marketing, CPM commonly refers to the cost per 1,000 names on a given list or impressions served. For example, a list using VerticalResponse priced at $10 CPM would mean that the list owner charges $.01 per email address.

CRM (or Customer relationship management)
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a broad term that refers to concepts businesses use to maintain and improve relationships with customers. CRM involves collecting, storing and analyzing customer information. CRM enables businesses to provide personalized services to meet their customers' needs and retain their business.

A database is a collection of information stored in a computer in a systematic way, such that a computer program can consult it to answer questions. For email marketing purposes, a database is the software that stores your records or lists. Your database may be in the following forms: ACT!, Filemaker, GoldMine, MS Excel, Access, Netscape, Outlook, Outlook Express, Oracle, Salesforce, Saleslogix, Sybase or many other forms.

Deduplication refers to a data cleansing technique where duplicate data is removed from a set.

The ability of the email sender to consistently deliver an email to a recipient's inbox with HTML and text intact. Marketers operating permission-based email schemes need to carefully consider deliverability due to aggressive SPAM filters.

DKIM: DomainKeys Ideintified Mail
An anti-spam software application that uses a combination of public and private keys to authenticate the sender's mail domain and reduce the chance that a spammer or hacker will fake the domain sending address.

Generally refers to internet addresses, the memorable form of a website's numerical IP address. VerticalResponse's domain name is

Similar to DKIM: DomainKeys Identified Mail. An anti-spam software application that uses a combination of public and private keys to authenticate the sender's domain (A name by which a computer connected to the Internet is identified) and reduce the chance that a spammer or hacker will fake the domain sending address.

Double Opt-in
"Double opt-in", also known as "confirmed opt-in" or "closed-loop" in some circles, provides an additional layer of security by requiring that email accounts be both subscribed and then verified by a confirmation email before they are added to the list. As a result, only those people with access to the account can respond to the confirmation message, greatly reducing the chance of abuse. For this reason, double opt-in is regarded as the gold standard for secure email marketing. See also: Opt-in, Opt-in form

Email Campaign
When you build an email and send it to your recipients using VerticalResponse this is an example of an email campaign. Your campaign may be a newsletter or may consist of offers. Some marketers may define a campaign as a series of email messages using a common theme, but in the VerticalResponse system, any email sent – even one at a time as opposed to a series of emails - is classified as a campaign.

Email Client
An application used to send, receive, store and view email like Outlook, Mac Mail, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, etc.

ESP (or Email Service Provider)
Email Service Providers (ESPs) are companies like VerticalResponse that provide a service of enabling a user to send permission-based email campaigns to designated users. They are usually Software-as-a-Service Providers (SaaS) who offer their services in an online fashion. There are also software ESPs.

The Email Sender & Provider Coalition (ESPC) was formed to fight spam while protecting the delivery of legitimate email. The ESPC members have recognized the need for strong spam solutions that ensure the delivery of legitimate email and have been very active in the war against spam. VerticalResponse is an active member of this organization. For more information on the ESPC, visit

Feedback Loop
Service provided by Internet Service Providers to other providers or mailers who have a good reputation and send a large amount of mail into their network. A feedback loop sends email reported as spam back to the sender so the sender can take action to resolve the problem.

A specific size and style of type within a type family.

Some emails include a "footer". This is the area at the bottom of an email where you might find unsubscribe information.

Forward to a Friend
Forward to a Friend refers to an option (usually a link) provided to an email recipient that provides them with an easy method to share that email message with someone else.

The intervals at which email marketing efforts are repeated: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc.

From Line
The information that appears in the "From" line at the top of the email and typically indicates the identity of the sender.

Hard Bounced Email
A hard bounce is an e-mail message that has been returned to the sender because the recipient's address is not valid. A hard bounce might occur because the domain name doesn't exist or because the recipient is unknown.

The illegal process of obtaining lists of email addresses to send bulk emails, or spam. Harvesting can include list purchase and spam 'bots' scanning web pages for email addresses.

The header in an email is the part of the email that is not transparent to the recipient unless they have their "View Headers" turned on. This tells the recipient what servers the email is coming from and what programs are being used to generate this email. Headers contain information on the email itself and the route it's taken across the Internet. Recipients can normally see the "to" (identity of recipient), "from" (identity of sender) and "subject" (information in the subject line) headers in their inbox. You can modify these to influence their decision to open or delete an email.

The announcement recipients see when they open an email. Ideally, the headline expresses the company's value proposition and encourages the recipient to read further.

Hosted Email
A hosted version of an email allows users to view the email message as a web page, thus ensuring that all formatting remains intact. VerticalResponse does this for you for free.

House List
A permission-based list that you build yourself. Use it to market, cross sell and up-sell, and to establish a relationship with customers over time. Your house list is one of your most valuable assets.

HTML (or Hypertext Markup Language)
A "markup" language designed for the creation of web pages and other information viewable in a Web browser.

HTML Email
HTML email is simply an email created with HTML that allows for the display of images as opposed to simple text. Ninety five percent of all email readers have the ability to display HTML emails, which are more visually appealing and attention-grabbing than mere text. However since 2005, many readers have the default where images are "turned off" or not viewable by the recipient. For this reason you need to make sure your recipients add you to their address book so you'll always go into the inbox where images will show.

IP Address
The Internet Protocol (IP) address is simply a computer's address. The IP address refers to the numerical component of an internet address or domain name. An IP address in general looks like this:

ISP (or Internet Service Provider)
Internet Service Provider is a company that provides access to the Internet. AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, Comcast and various local phone companies are common ISPs.

Landing Page
The page on a website where the visitor arrives (which may or may not be the home page). In terms of an email campaign, if a user wants to track a campaign separately they set up an additional page for recipients to visit. This way they can track distinctive traffic to this page from their email.

The arrangement of content within an email. A layout is designed to optimize the use of space while presenting the critical content in the portions of screen most likely to attract the recipient's immediate attention.

Text links, hyperlinks, graphics or images which, when clicked or when pasted into the browser, direct the reader to another online location.

Load Time
The length of time it takes for a page to open completely in the browser window. You'll want your load time to be as fast as possible.

Look and Feel
The degree to which design, layout and functionality are appealing to prospects and fits the image the business is trying to portray.

Mailing List
A set of email addresses designated for receiving specific email messages.

An HTML command that allows collection of email addresses from a website. When readers click on a link (such as <a href="">) their default email program composes an email message to send to that address.

Multi-part MIME Email
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) is an Internet standard for the format of email. Virtually all Internet email is transmitted in MIME format. This simply means that two versions of the email are sent, one graphical and one text. The appropriate version is then directed to the recipient based on the recipient's email client's preferences.

The path by which a user can click from page to page on a website and move around within a page.

Nth Sampling
When a subset of the list is constructed based on every Nth individual. For example, if you need to create a sub-list with 100 members from an overall list of 1,000 names, every tenth person is selected. If you need to create a sub-list of 5,000 from a list of 100,000, then every twentieth name is chosen.

On Demand
The phrase "On Demand" refers to a service or feature that is available for immediate access whenever an individual chooses to access it.

Open Rate
The number of HTML message recipients who opened your email, typically measured as a percentage of the total number of emails sent, although calculation methods may differ. The open rate is considered a useful metric for judging response to an email campaign but it should be noted that open rates for text emails can't be calculated.

Open Relay
An open relay is an email server configured so that anyone on the internet can dispatch email. Once an acceptable means of sending email in the past, spammers have used open relay to re-route their email through a third party to avoid detection. The CAN SPAM Act of 2003 made it illegal to send spam through an open relay.

Opting-In is the action a person takes when he or she actively agrees, by email or other means, to receive communications from an email sender. There are different types of opt-in practices, some of which are more demanding than others. See also: Double Opt-in, Opt-in form, Single Opt-in

Opt-in form
A form that website owners can add to their site to collect newsletter signups from visitors. See also: Double Opt-in, Opt-in, Single Opt-in

Opt-out email marketing assumes the recipient wants to receive email unless they specifically ask to be removed from the list – in other words, "opt-out" or "unsubscribe". If readers fail to state explicitly that they no longer wish to remain on the list, they can expect to receive messages until they make their desire known. Response rates tend to be lower when sending opt-out email, so be prepared for this result when you're analyzing your campaigns.

When offering customers further information, such as a whitepaper or article via a link in an email, the payoff is the information they gain access to when clicking on that link.

Permission-based email
The practice of only sending email messages to those recipients who have agreed (or asked) to receive them.

The practice of writing the email to make the recipient feel that it is more personal and was sent with him or her in mind. This might include using the recipient's name in the salutation or subject line, referring to previous purchases or correspondence, or offering recommendations based on previous buying patterns.

In a phishing scam, a spammer, posing as a trusted party such as a bank or reputable online vendor, sends email messages directing recipients to Web sites that appear to be official but are in reality fraudulent. Visitors to these Web sites are asked to disclose personal information, such as credit card numbers, or to purchase counterfeit or pirated products. See also: Sender-ID, Spoofing

Preview Pane
Email programs such as Microsoft Outlook, Entourage, and Mac Mail allow users to view email through a preview pane. The preview pane is important to bear in mind when composing the opening lines of an email.

ROI (Return on Investment)
A measure of the profit realized and/or costs saved at a company, or as the result of a specific project within the company. ROI measures how effectively the firm uses its capital and resources to generate profit; the higher the ROI, the better. An ROI calculation is sometimes used along with other approaches to develop a business case for a given proposal.

SaaS (Software as a Service)
Software as a service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the Internet. See also: ASP (or Application Service Provider)

This is the area in an email where you address your recipient. Examples are "Dear Customer", "Hello Larry", and "Dear Member".

Sender-ID is an email industry initiative championed by Microsoft and other industry leaders as a technical solution to help counter spoofing—the #1 deceptive practice used by spammers. See also: Phishing, Spoofing

Signature File
A short block of text at the end of a message identifying the sender and providing additional information about them.

Single Opt-in
Under single opt-in formats, businesses only mail addresses that have been actively subscribed to their list, typically by completing a web form, filling out a business reply card or sending an email to a specific address. Because the registration process is proactive, a single-opt in policy offers a higher level of security than the opt-out approach, but also has the following limitations:
  • Since single opt-in procedure does not require email address verification, it is possible to register other people without their consent, merely by having knowledge of that person's email address.
  • A mistyped address or the entry of a bogus email account that happens to belong to someone else can result in a company mailing a customer who has not registered to receive messages.
  • Single opt-in email policies are susceptible to spam traps. Spam traps are essentially email addresses or domains that have not registered to receive any email. Therefore, any messages they do receive must be spam. The problem for marketers comes when people deliberately subscribe spam trap addresses to their lists, or one is inadvertently added. This scenario exposes the mailer to blacklisting by ISPs or the organization operating the spam trap.
See also: Opt-in, Opt-in form

Soft Bounced Email
A soft bounce is an email message that gets to the recipient's mail server but is returned undelivered before it reaches the recipient. A soft bounce might occur because the recipient's inbox is full and may be deliverable at another time or may be forwarded manually by the network administrator in charge of redirecting mail on the recipient's domain.

Spam Trap
A spam trap is a seemingly valid email address used to identify spam messages. The idea is to take an address that hasn't been subscribed to any email lists and monitor the email it receives. As it wasn't subscribed to any email, anything it receives must be unsolicited – in other words – spam.

SPAM or Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) is unsolicited email, particularly of a commercial nature. Sending email to people who have not requested to receive messages from you will likely result in SPAM complaints.

SPF (Sender Policy Framework)
An email authentication system that verifies that a message came from an authorized mail server. SPF is designed to detect messages from spammers and phishers who falsify the sender's IP address in the email header.

Email spoofing involves forging a sender's address on email messages. It can be used by malicious individuals to mislead email recipients into reading and responding to deceptive mail. These fake messages can jeopardize the online privacy of consumers and damage the reputation of the companies purported to have sent the messages. Spoofed email often contains phishing scams. See also: Phishing, Sender-ID

Subheads (or Subheadings)
A line within a body of text that serves as a subtitle for the content that follows. Subheads break up paragraphs of copy and make the page more attractive or easy on the eye. They also often act as signposts indicating specific topics, offers, promotions, etc.

Subject Line
The email subject line is the line that appears in an email client indicating the topic of the message. This is the line used to entice the recipient to open the email and read further. It is the most important part of your email.

Suppression List
A list of addresses that is never sent emails. When a campaign is launched, addresses on the suppression list are automatically removed from the mailing list for that campaign. Suppression Lists are used for organizations to remain CAN SPAM compliant as well as segmenting different recipients.

The ability to serve messaging to the users most likely to be receptive to the message, based on their geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioral characteristics.

A message, or part of a message, designed to arouse curiosity and interest and cause the reader to explore further, but without revealing too much detail about the offer being promoted.

Scheduling the email campaign to reach the audience at the most opportune time for it to be read. Timing might be seasonal (for example, vacation or school), dependent on holidays, etc. or mailings might go out on a standard schedule. Even the day of the week and what time of day the mailing goes out are important considerations: for example, a Friday afternoon mailing may be great for retailing customers, but bad for business-to-business customers.

Collecting and evaluating the statistics so that one can measure an event, such as a click or an open.

Type Size
A size of typewritten or printed character. For example, a serif type (or typeface), a sans-serif type, 10 point type, 14 point type for print, size=1, size=2 for the web.

Unique Forwarders
The number of unique individuals who forward an email. When the number of unique forwards is totaled, each person that forwards a particular email is counted just once, no matter how many times they forward that message.

When the owner of an email address unsubscribes, this indicates that the individual no longer wishes to receive emails from your organization. People can unsubscribe either by clicking the "Unsubscribe" link at the bottom of each email sent through our system, or by replying to the email with the word "Unsubscribe" in the subject line. This process is also known as opting-out. Including an unsubscribe mechanism is now part of CAN-SPAM Federal Legislation.

Up-Selling / Cross-Selling
Presenting customers with an opportunity to purchase products, services or accessories that are related to items in which they have shown an interest or purchased previously.

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the technical term for a web address, such as

A measure of how easy it is for a user to complete a task. In the context of Web pages this concerns how easy it is for a user to find the information they require from a given Web site.

The overall appeal and usefulness of the product or service to the prospect.

Variable Envelope Return Paths (VERP)
The method of using a different envelope return / reply path for each recipient of an email message to ensure that the correct address is always processed in the case of an unsubscribe or bounce.

Viral Forwards
The number of referrals sent.

Viral Marketing
Elements and functions included in a communication that encourages and allows recipients to pass the offer along to others, thereby leveraging the marketing effort ("tell a friend," "please forward," etc.).

Viral Responses
The number of recipients who received the referral, opened it and clicked on a link.

Web 2.0
The definition of the term Web 2.0 is an evolving one, but it is generally agreed that Web 2.0 refers to a second generation of Internet services that let people collaborate and share information online. In contrast to the first generation, in Web 2.0, the internet functions as a computing platform that serves web applications to end users. In this way, it provides an experience closer to desktop applications than the traditional static Web pages.

Web-friendly Fonts
Almost all web browsers are capable of displaying four primary fonts properly: Times, Arial, Helvetica, and Verdana, as well as their variants (Arial Narrow, Times New Roman, etc.) If a web developer decides to stray from one of these fonts he or she risks browser compatibility problems and the prospect that their pages may render inaccurately when viewed through certain web browsers.

Whitelists are lists of commercial emailers (including ESPs) who have been approved to send mail through the ISP. The ISP (internet service provider) requires a list of IP (internet protocol) addresses that email will be sent from, and in some cases a test period where the commercial emailer will be approved or rejected.

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