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How does the Certification application process work?

The Certification application process involves a review of your eligibility and performance to determine if you meet the standards and requirements for approval.

When applying for Certification, you can expect to:

  1. Review the eligibility standards and requirements
  2. Gather the required information about your email program for the application
  3. Fill out the Certification application
  4. Undergo the Certification audit
  5. Receive a notification of the audit result
  6. Receive a notification of the application decision

To help expedite the application process, be sure to check your eligibility requirements and gather the required information before submitting your application.

Certification eligibility
You must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for Certification:

  • Your business must be a registered business for at least one year. Return Path must be able to locate a valid business record with a current physical address through a legitimate third party source such as a country registry. Any additional brands must have a web presence for at least six months.
  • You must have a Certifiable business model. These include any businesses that do not send third party content, or act on behalf of clients, such as Email Service Providers (ESPs), hosting companies, or agencies.
  • You must have dedicated IP addresses that have been sending for at least 90 days.
  • You must have measurable and consistent volume with at least 100 email messages sent over Hotmail and Yahoo! each per 30 days.
  • You must only send first party and templated emails. Return Path does not accept daily correspondence, corporate or non-templated email.
  • You must be willing to comply with Return Path's Certification Standards and Requirements. Please view the Certification Standards and Requirements

Certification application
What to know for your application:

  • IP addresses you want reviewed for Certification
  • All domains that send on the IP addresses being reviewed for Certification.
  • How you acquire email addresses (direct opt-in from your company website or store, third-party websites or services) and URLs for each company website where email addresses are collected (including third-party sites).
  • Your company website & Privacy Policy URLs.

Certification application audit
In order to become Certified, you must fill out the application on Return Path's website and undergo Return Path's Audit process.

  • After Return Path receives your application, you will receive a Welcome Email from the Certification Analyst conducting your Audit. Then, they review your email program, evaluate your email infrastructure, permission and collection practices, privacy policies, and more.
  • The Audit takes approximately 30 days to complete, though it can take longer depending on the complexity of the application.
  • After the Audit is complete, the Certification Analyst provides you with an Audit document outlining any required changes or updates you need to make to your email program in order to become Certified. The standard deadline to complete all changes is 30 days.
  • When the Certification Analyst has verified any changes or updates and confirms all of the requirements are met, you receive an Activation Email confirming you are a member of the Certification Program. When Certified, Return Path continues to monitor your performance and adherence to the Certification Standards.
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