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Email Users Open 67% More Messages When Marked With Visual Icons, Study Reveals


By Derek Iwasiuk
April 17, 2007

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — ICONIX, Inc., the leading provider of visual email identification solutions, today announced results from an end-user email study which found that email messages marked with a visual icon have a 67% higher open rate than unmarked messages.

The study included 4,963 webmail user participants, and was conducted during a three month time period from January-March 2007. The study focused solely on email senders that implement best practices in email authentication, using industry standard methods, which comprised 248 of the 419 sender domains marked by the Iconix® Truemark® service.  These senders use one or more of the industry standard authentication methods such as SPF, Sender ID, DomainKeys and DKIM. Results of the study, which were based on actual email behavior, were categorized into nine segments based on the type of message received.  The increase in open rates across all segments breaks down as follows:

Online retail – 135.8%
News/Info – 130.7%
Job services – 93.4%
Social networks – 76.8%
Financial institutions – 68.4%
Online payment – 55.2%
Online auctions – 52.3%
E-cards – 49.1%
Travel – 23.5%

“We are seeing a continuance of a strong trend,” said Jeff Wilbur, vice
president of marketing for ICONIX. “Visual email icons are an extremely effective tool for companies to reach out to their customer base. The message is clear. Companies that implement solid authentication strategies and enhance them with other services such as visual icons see a much better return on their authentication efforts. Furthermore, marking the messages ensures not only that customers can trust the message, but find it through the clutter of everyday email.”

The key finding of the study is that companies with strong email authentication strategies see a significantly higher success rate in connecting with their customers. These companies include some of the largest corporate email senders including American Express, Apple, BestBuy,, Citibank,, Disney, eBay, Expedia, Hallmark, HP,, Netflix, PayPal, Washington Post, WebMD, and YouTube.  Of the remaining domains, nearly half had authentication issues, such as incorrect SPF records.

In order to help consumers identify legitimate messages and avoid phishing attacks, ICONIX has developed its Truemark service, which now supports email clients used by over 120 million consumers. When an email arrives, the Truemark service uses industry standard technologies such as Domain Keys and Sender ID to verify the authenticity of the message. The email sender is then checked against a list of registered senders with ICONIX. Once the email has been verified, a Truemark icon is displayed in the user's inbox, identifying the sender and signifying that it is a legitimate message. The software plug-in for the Truemark service is free to consumers and is available at

About ICONIX, Inc.
ICONIX, Inc. is the leading provider of trusted email identification solutions. ICONIX provides the industry's first visual eMail ID solution for businesses and consumers. The Iconix® solution enables consumers to quickly identify messages from legitimate senders, which proactively combats widespread email-based identity theft techniques, such as phishing. The Truemark service is the only standards-based visual authentication solution that works across various email platforms. For more information, visit

Iconix and Truemark are registered trademarks in the United States and Iconix, Check-lock, the Iconix logo, the Iconix enabled logo, and the Check-lock icon are trademarks or service marks of ICONIX, Inc.  Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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