I am NOT a Postmaster 3

Today I must vent.  I know there are others who are driven crazy by this misrepresentation.  I am an Email Deliverability expert.  I am not today, nor have I ever been, a Postmaster.  These are 2 different skill sets in direct opposition to each other.  Postmasters do one thing and Email Deliverability Specialists do another.  I think it is disrespectful to lump Deliverability work into a “postmastering” category.  I would feel exactly the same way if I was a Postmaster and was lumped in with the Deliverability crew.

Here are some specifics I dug up for each of these disciplines.


  • Great experience with smtp and other related products.
  • Excellent ability to perform TCP/IP trouble shooting.
  • Deep knowledge of Privacy and Security policies, Unix System Admin skills, and write database queries.
  • Profound ISP experience and Strong ability to analyze large amounts of Data and detect patterns.
  • In-depth experience of managing email systems.
  • Excellent knowledge of principles and processes involved in business and organizational planning, coordination, and execution.
  • Sound knowledge of policies and practices involved in personnel/human resource functions.

Deliverability Specialist

  • High volume commercial/promotional email experience
  • Thorough understanding of email marketing concepts
  • Thorough knowledge of technical email construction and delivery
  • Knowledge of CAN-SPAM
  • Establishing and maintaining relationships with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and E-mail Service Providers (ESPs)
  • E-mail authentication technologies (SenderID, Sender Policy Framework, DomainKeys, DKIM, etc.)
  • E-mail filtering technologies
  • E-mail content rendering
  • Deliverability best-practices
  • SQL Proficient
  • Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint proficient
  • Experience interfacing with customers and Marketing teams
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
Deliverability vs Postmasters
Deliverability vs Postmasters

I would argue to you that Deliverability Specialists and Postmasters are mortal enemies.  Deliverability tries to get email in while Postmasters try to keep email out.  Here’s are some comparisons for you.

  • Deliverability talks Marketing; Postmasters talk tech
  • Deliverability cares about revenue; Postmasters care about server load
  • Deliverability cares about reputation; Postmasters care about RFC’s
  • Deliverability is Brad Pitt; Postmaster is Steve Urkel
  • Deliverability is chic; Postmaster is geek

Ok, I can’t prove the last two, but you get the idea.  If you are in an organization who still throws around these words, it is time to wake up and be D.C. — Deliverability Correct!

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3 thoughts on “I am NOT a Postmaster

  1. Reply J.D. Sep 3,2009 12:19 pm

    You missed the most important part about postmasters: they do not care about deliverability. They’re trying to keep spam out; you and your mail don’t matter to them. Deliverability Specialists are not the Postmaster’s enemy — spammers are.

  2. Reply Tom Bartel Sep 3,2009 12:24 pm

    Good post – I’d challenge your assertion that these roles are mortal enemies with a tweak to your statement – Deliverability tries to get *Good* mail in while Postmasters try to keep *Bad* mail out. It’s the different lenses and tools that make up *Good* and *Bad* from both perspectives that often create disagreement. True spammers don’t have “Deliverability” and that’s what primarily makes up the *Bad* in a Postmasters day to day.

  3. Reply Kevin Senne Sep 3,2009 1:43 pm

    Thanks for the comments Tom and J.D.

    A couple of more thoughts. I was coming from an internal perspective. We have people who insist on thinking we have postmasters, and not deliverability people.

    I would argue that some actual postmasters think any marketing message is spam. I am also sure we would all agree that isn’t the case.

    Thanks for the comments, glad to inspire some conversation!!

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