What is a certifiable business model?

Certified senders must be a part of a company that has a certifiable business model. Read the requirements below to learn about the business models and types of email we do, and do not, certify. 


Certifiable business models include businesses that: 

  • Send first-party email only
  • Act on behalf of themselves and not clients 
  • Own their own email program and have ability to make changes to it 

Examples of business models that cannot be certified 

Business models that cannot be certified include companies sending: 

  • Third-party content 
    • This includes email sent on behalf of clients, which would be done by Email Service Providers (ESPs), hosting companies, agencies and more. 
    • Sending email for third parties using a certified IP address or domain introduces potential issues with security, list hygiene, disclosure, and consent. 
  • Email from a shared IP address (for IP Certification only) 
  • Email from a shared DKIM domain (for Domain Certification only) 
  • Corporate email 
    • Return Path cannot certify corporate email, which includes internal communications or daily email between co-workers. Corporate email allows for too many potential points of entrance, which creates open risks for security, consent, and measurability.
  • Free-form email
    • Return Path cannot certify free-form content because it allows for web form abuse, which spammers use in order to send spam from a company's infrastructure that includes their email branding. 

Other business models that cannot be certified include companies such as: 

  • Lead generation companies
  • Penny stock auction companies
  • Human trafficking companies 

Additionally, Return Path reserves the rights to decline any incoming prospect who has interest in the Certification program. 


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