Frequently Asked Questions

For Senders

Starting the Certification

How much does a CSA certification cost and when are which costs incurred?

The costs are divided into a one-off assessment fee and monthly contributions. Once the offer has been signed, the one-off fee becomes due for payment. As soon as the fee has been paid, the certification process starts. The monthly contributions only commence after a positive decision by the Complaints and Certification Committee and thus successful certification.

DDV, DMVÖ, BVDW, and eco e.V. members receive a 20% discount. You can find our detailed price list here.

Who can be certified?

The CSA certifies email senders. The decisive factor for certification is IP sovereignty over the sender server. The sender to be certified must possess sole technical control of this server.

What criteria do I have to meet in order to be certified?

For CSA certification, certain legal and technical criteria must be met.

A short checklist can be found here.

The complete CSA admission criteria can be found here.

Why do I have to fulfill these technical criteria?

The CSA criteria were developed in consultation with various mailbox providers and ESPs (email service providers). These criteria serve as a framework for reputable email marketing and as a significant factor for success in delivery.

Technical Control over the Sender Server

The CSA certification applies to only one company (legal entity). For this reason, it is not permitted for other companies to share your email server or technical infrastructure. Shared email servers at providers can therefore not be certified.

Valid A-Record and Matching rDNS Entry

On the Internet, computers are often infected by malware (e.g. Trojans). These systems are then misused for sending spam emails or for DoS/DDoS attacks. In most cases, these systems have only a dynamic IP address, which does not have a correct rDNS entry (reverse DNS). For this reason, it is all the more important that email servers have correct DNS and rDNS entries. Most mailbox providers treat servers with incorrect DNS entries as spammers and will generally directly reject their emails.

SPF and DKIM for Authentication

Technical criteria such as SPF and DKIM serve as authentication in email communication. The SPF (Sender Policy Framework) determines which system (IP addresses or IP network) is allowed to send emails on behalf of your domain. Through using DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), parts of the email header and email body are signed. If the email is subsequently altered, the signature becomes invalid. Authentication by means of SPF and DKIM creates security and can significantly increase the delivery rate.

One-Click List-Unsubscribe Header with HTTP Link

Recipients of newsletters often do not unsubscribe, but instead click the SPAM button in the hope that the newsletters will no longer end up in their mailbox. Being designated as SPAM can, however, endanger your reputation. You should therefore make it as easy as possible for users to unsubscribe in a normal way from newsletters. The list-unsubscribe header can be processed by email clients and mailbox providers. The recipient has the option of unsubscribing directly with a single click from newsletters he or she no longer wants.

Why do I have to fulfill these legal criteria?

The legal CSA criteria are based on the European legal framework for email marketing. This applies stringently and restrictively. Compliance with the CSA rules is intended to ensure that emails sent via the CSA whitelist are legally compliant to the greatest possible degree.

Are the CSA criteria GDPR-compliant?

The CSA criteria are based on the stringent European requirements and comply fundamentally with internationally applicable law for email marketing.

Is there a video that introduces the CSA?

Yes, you can have the CSA explained to you in two minutes:


Assessment Process

When does the assessment process start?

The assessment process starts as soon as we receive the signed offer. You can request a non-binding offer here.

What happens during the assessment process?

The assessment process checks that you comply with the CSA criteria. The assessment process includes a legal assessment, a technical assessment and a reputation assessment. For this we require an XML file with all your IP addresses, three examples of your newsletters or transaction mails and your terms and conditions.

How long does the assessment process last?

A standard answer is not possible here, as the duration depends mainly on the extent to which you already meet the CSA criteria. The time you need internally to make any necessary changes also plays a decisive role. The process could take two weeks, but could also last several months.


After Successful Certification

What happens after successful certification?

After successful certification, your IP addresses will be activated on the CSA whitelist within 24 hours and you will receive your online certificate without delay. Email service providers will be listed as certified on emailvendorselection.com. You will also receive access to our customer portal where you will be able to manage your IPs, contacts, etc. yourself.

What benefits do I gain from a CSA certification?

With the CSA certification you achieve improved delivery and deliverability of your commercial emails. Your spam filtering will be reduced and your inbox placement rates will be increased.

You can find a detailed description of the benefits here.

Do I get a certificate?

Yes, every certified sender receives an online certificate immediately after successful certification. The online certificate confirms the authenticity of the seal of quality, displays the benefits of a CSA certification, and contains an excerpt of the CSA quality criteria which formed the basis of the successful certification.

Is there a portal where I can manage contact details and IP addresses?

You can manage your contact details and IP addresses in our customer portal.

You can access assistance for our customer portal here.

How long will it take for my IPs to be activated?

Members of the CSA team will usually activate your IP addresses within one day. Please make sure that your IP addresses have correct DNS/rDNS entries and that your contact details are entered in the WHOIS data of the domain or IP network.

I have delivery problems with a CSA mailbox provider. Can the CSA help?

Yes, please send an email to: info@certified-senders.org

In this email, please specify:

– Error messages from the mailbox provider (bounce message with complete/extended header)
– When the error first occurred
– Which IP addresses or IP networks are affected

I have received an email from the eco Complaints Office – what now?

As a rule, the eco Complaints Office will get in touch with you if you have received a complaint from a recipient about an email you have sent. In this case, please reply with the requested permission data within 2 working days. If this feedback is not possible within 2 working days, the deadline can be extended on the basis of a “request” to the Complaints Office.

Upon receipt of the permission data, the Complaints Office will assess whether or not there has been a violation of CSA regulations as a result of sending the mailing that led to the complaint. If there was a violation, a notification will be issued.

Who are the eco Complaints Office and what do they have to do with the CSA?

For over 20 years now, the eco Complaints Office has been fighting successfully against illegal content on the Internet, among other things through work in various collaborations, initiatives, and committees. Further information is available here.

The eco Complaints Office is responsible for complaint management for the CSA. The CSA complaint management aims to enable certified senders to improve the quality of their emails, e.g. on the basis of

– Comprehensive support in complying with CSA regulations
– Forwarding and assessment of individual complaints from Internet users about unwanted emails
– Assessment of spam trap hits and spam marking quotas
– Further development and adaptation of standards in line with current legislation

I have received a notification – what now?

A notification is a warning that something has gone wrong and that the legal compliance in sending emails or the technical deliverability could be endangered in the future. It is intended as an opportunity to identify problematic customers and work with them to ensure that future email deliveries are CSA-compliant. In short, a notification is not a catastrophe, and apart from the CSA, the CSA sender and, if applicable, the customer of the CSA sender, no one else will know about the notification. However, notifications should be taken seriously. Because if three notifications are issued within six months due to, for example, mailings from a customer of a CSA sender for violations of the legal admission criteria, this circumstance will be published regularly on the CSA website.

The publication of notifications is regulated in the CSA Rules of Procedure.

I have received information that I am hitting spam traps – what now?

First and foremost, notifications of spam trap hits serve to keep the certified email service providers informed. On the basis of the notifications, the provider should check the quality of the list being used with its customer and remove data from questionable sources (i.e. whenever permission for the use of the email address does not exist and/or cannot be verified). If the notification of the spam trap hits has occurred through the Complaints Office, it should also be informed of the measures taken to reduce the number of spam trap hits. Because if in such cases the number of spam trap hits cannot be significantly reduced within 4 weeks, you will run the risk of a temporary delisting. The decision on this will also be determined by what remedial measures have so far been taken.

For Mailbox Providers and Spam Filter Providers

General

How can I use the CSA whitelist and become a CSA partner?

To become a CSA partner and use the whitelist, all you need to do is sign a license agreement. Through this agreement, we want to make sure that the CSA whitelist is used properly, so that all parties involved derive maximum benefit from it. From a technical perspective, we make the whitelist available in various formats, such as xml or csv, so it can be integrated into spam filtering on your site as effortlessly as possible. Where required, take up individual contact with us and we can extend the formats offered.

Is the partnership free of charge?

Yes, the use of the CSA whitelist for incoming spam filtering is free of charge.

Does the CSA also support me in other areas?

Yes, in addition to improving spam filtering results, the CSA on its part also reduces the amount of effort spent on communication and support with senders, because the CSA acts as an interface. We communicate the quality criteria and best practices clearly to the senders and in so doing head off possible queries. In addition, certified senders can contact us with possible delivery problems. We only get in touch with you if we are unable to solve the problem at our end. In addition, as a partner you can exert direct influence on the future development of the criteria, and therefore on market standards. We also offer articles, best practice papers, and legal opinions that can be used and shared.

Can I test the CSA whitelist?

Yes, as Mailbox and Spamfilter Provider you can test the CSA whitelist for improving inbound mail filters. Please contact us at info@certified-senders.org or use our contact form on our website to discuss the details.

Can I alert the CSA to problematic senders?

Yes, we even seek this out. Through the feedback, we can identify problematic senders or their customers and address the problem. This helps us to maintain the high quality of the whitelist. Ideally, this should be done via automatic reporting. We have identified several GDPR-compliant options which we can use for feedback. But a manual notification is also helpful.

How else can I get involved with the CSA?

The CSA is a network of email senders and recipients. Please feel free to contact the CSA if you are of the opinion that there is a lack of clarity concerning any legal or technical issues in the sending of emails. You can also make your own contribution if you are an expert in a particular field. If your company is a member of the DDV or the eco Association, further possibilities for participation exist. Simply contact us directly!

 

  If you have a question which is not listed here, please contact us via the contact form below.

 

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