If you send emails through ExactTarget, a salesforce.com company, then you have the opportunity to purchase ExactTarget’s Sender Authentication Package (SAP), a service that will help maintain your IP address’ sending reputation. It is an annual fee, but one well worth its cost.

Speaking with ExactTarget clients, I have found many are confused on what SAP entails, so we conducted a recent webinar to explain.

Sending Domain or Subdomain

The sending domain will be used exclusively for email sending; therefore, you cannot use a domain already utilized*. For example, DEGdigital.com is used as our website, so I cannot use this domain for sending emails. Instead, I would need a different domain (e.g. email-DEGdigital.com) or a subdomain (e.g. email.DEGdigital.com).

There are three options for choosing a domain or subdomain:

  • ExactTarget Purchases the Domain: Included in the Sender Authentication Package, ExactTarget can purchase a domain for you. ExactTarget will purchase, configure, and renew the domain on your behalf. If you ever choose to leave ExactTarget, you will be able to take the domain with you.
  • Have a Domain Already Purchased: If you have previously purchased a domain and do not use it for any other purposes (e.g. as a website), then speak with your domain registrar or IT team. You will point the domain’s nameserver records to ExactTarget nameservers (ns1.exacttarget.com. and ns2.exacttarget.com.).
  • Use a Subdomain: Some domain registrars or DNS hosting providers will allow clients to delegate subdomains to ExactTarget’s nameservers. The NS entries in the DNS root zone will need to be pointed to ExactTarget’s nameservers (email IN NS ns1.exacttarget.com. ns2.exacttarget.com. and ns3.exacttarget.com).



Once a domain or subdomain has been chosen or successfully delegated, ExactTarget will then authenticate your sending IP address to your domain or subdomain. Authentication includes DKIM, SenderID, and SPF.

Some ExactTarget editions (Advanced, Enterprise 1.0, Enterprise 2.0, and Reseller) are automatically provided with their own dedicated IP Address. ExactTarget’s Core edition is not provided with a dedicated IP address, but uses a shared IP address with other ExactTarget clients.  Purchasing SAP will provide a Core edition with its own IP address.

  • DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) is a combination of Yahoo!’s Domain Keys and Cisco’s Identified Internet Mail. This technology prevents some phishing and spoofing. When you deploy an email, ExactTarget appends a DKIM signature to the message’s header. When you deploy an email, ExactTarget appends a DKIM signature to a message header. The receiving mail transfer agent will perform a lookup to ensure the provided encrypted private key matches the public key.
  • Sender ID a combination of two technologies SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and Caller ID. The technology works to protect phishing and spoofing. When a mail transfer agent receives your email, a reverse DNS lookup checks that the domain that sent the email matches an IP address listed on the SPF record in your DNS.

Domain in ExactTarget Account

Your chosen domain will be used for wrapping hyperlinks (for tracking), images, the email’s message header, standard ExactTarget pages (unsubscribe page, view as an email page, etc), and landing pages (if purchased).

For example, a wrapped hyperlink would begin “click.email.DEGdigital.com…” instead of a default “cl.exct.net…” and images hosted in ExactTarget will be hosted at “image.email.DEGdigital.com” instead of a default “image.exct.net.”


Reply Mail Management

Reply Mail Management is a great feature that automatically deletes out of office/auto-replies, unsubscribes those who reply to an email with certain keywords (e.g. unsubscribe, remove, etc), and forwards genuine replies to an inbox you monitor.

If you have an Enterprise 2.0, I would recommend speaking with your DEG Strategist/Coordinator, agency, or ExactTarget Relationship Manager about enabling Enterprise Reply Mail Management, a more robust RMM.

It is important to note: ExactTarget will not set up email inboxes for your authenticated domain, instead you will have the ability to forward all genuine replies to an email inbox you monitor.



Are you convinced of the benefits of SAP?  As prerequisites, ExactTarget recommends SAP for clients who will deploy at least 200,000 emails a month. The reason, you must be sending to receivers (domains) with regularity to maintain a good sending reputation (after ramping-up your IP address). Also, once a domain or subdomain is delegated, ExactTarget can take up to 10 days to complete the authentication.

*Instead of purchasing SAP, you could configure the Sender ID and SPF for a domain or subdomain. You would not have DKIM authentication or Reply Mail Management.


ExactTarget is kind of a big deal. DEG, ExactTarget’s only 2x Partner of Year , offers several ExactTarget trainings.


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