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Certified Whitelist FAQ


What is the Return Path Certified whitelist?

The industry’s top email certification program to help you quickly identify the very best senders and make informed decisions on how you treat their email. The whitelist provides a reliable quality and trust signal of mailer reputation.
The whitelist reduces false positive rates when filtering email and helps to improve the end user inbox experience, ensuring they receive email they have asked for and truly want.

How do Mailers become Return Path Certified?

Mailers apply for membership online and are evaluated by Return Path staff against strict criteria and requirements.
On average about 60% of applications are accepted.

What are the criteria required for Senders to be in the program?

Senders must be in compliance with published standards and practices as determined by Return Path and their receiver partners
Current Return Path Certification Standards include 75 discrete requirements in 8 relevant areas of industry email best practices

How is the Return Path Certified whitelist maintained?

IP addresses on the Certified list are actively monitored and must maintain low complaint rates and meet other key reputation compliance metrics to stay active on the list.
From the moment a mailer becomes an active member in the program, they are held to the highest standards each and every minute.
If an IP address fails to meet the required standard, it is removed from the whitelist until such time as it comes back into compliance.

Who is on the Certified whitelist today?

Over 1800 Member companies and 9000 IP addresses being managed in the program today. Our Certified senders consist of 30% of inbox commercial mail.There is an International composition representing mailers from 70 different countries. Members represented range in enterprise size with email volumes ranging from 50K to over 1B messages per month – including many top retail and brands in business in markets around the world.

Why benefits do I get by using the Certified whitelist?

Improved User Experiences. Mailbox providers who use the Certified whitelist see an improvement in User Experience due to improved Sender practices and reduction in false positives by safely delivering email that is wanted by end users.
Comprehensive management by Return Path. Internal whitelists are difficult to maintain and easily become outdated – using Certified whitelist mailbox providers enjoy always current and accurate whitelist so they can free up resources devoted to more pressing areas

How do I query the whitelist?

The whitelist is available via DNS query and Rsync access. Contact your Return Path representative for more information.

How should I use the list?

Mailbox and filtering providers provide delivery or filtering benefit as part of using the Certified Whitelist. In many cases Certified whitelist members bypass heavy filtering and generally have messages placed to the inbox. In other cases, systems add appropriate positive weighting to inbound filtering algorithms and message handling decision trees.

Who currently uses the Certified Whitelist?

Global and North American mailbox providers like Microsoft Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, Comcast, Cox, etc…
Global Filtering providers like Cloudmark and SpamAssassin
Over 70 mailbox and filtering providers in total globally covering 2.2 Billion mailboxes

Will my data be used to determine whitelist member status?

Generally we incorporate aggregate data from our partners in the monitoring process to ensure that optimal User Experience is being had for all of our partners’ customers

What if my Reputation standards change internally?

Return Path works with our partners to understand their data and reputation monitoring, so that we can assist with incorporate changes in measurement or filtering methodologies and ensure that the Certified whitelist is used effectively and given the appropriate positive weight