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 the 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 an interest in the Certification program. 


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