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Goodmail Shutting Down

Yesterday Goodmail sent out mail to all their customers announcing they are ceasing operations and taking all their token generators offline as of 5pm pacific on February 8th.

While this is a bit of a surprise on one level, I’m not that shocked. Ken Magill mentioned in August that Goodmail was on the sales block and rumors have been circulating for weeks about significant changes coming to Goodmail.

Goodmail has struggled to find a market since they first started. At one point they were even giving services away to customers at partner ESPs. Despite the free service, people at some of those ESPs told me they were having difficulty getting customers to adopt Goodmail.

Likewise, on the ISP side, Goodmail didn’t seem to have much penetration into the market. They had AOL, Yahoo and some cable companies, but not much else. And as of early last year, Yahoo removed the Goodmail machines.

I think the real underlying problem was that most companies who are doing things well don’t need certification services. Sure, there are a couple exceptions but in general anyone who is sending good mail is getting to the inbox. Even for companies where delivery was not quite as good as they might want, the marginal improvement at those ISPs that do use Goodmail was not sufficient to justify the cost of Goodmail services.

While I have the utmost respect for the Goodmail management team I think this result was almost inevitable. I never got the impression they valued the end recipient quite as much as the ISPs do. That was just one thing that lead me to believe they just didn’t seem to understand the email ecosystem quite the way that a certification service should.

I echo Dennis’ thoughts and well wishes towards the Goodmail folks. The experiment in sender financed delivery was well worth doing and I think they did it as well as anyone could have.

By Laura Atkins, Founding partner of anti-spam consultancy & software firm Word to the Wise

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