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Applying an Allow List to Email

Melissa Moody
December 19, 2020

The allow list is a not a new concept

From kid birthday party invitations to VIP lines at Vegas nightclubs, we all know how it works when you want to get into a selective event. Today in our tech-driven world, the allow list is about creating privileged access for IP addresses or domains.  

Online, as in real life, there are a lot of reasons to ensure that not everyone is allowed in, or at least not all at once. Safety, simplicity, sanity.  To let everyone in the door means that you might let in some people who don’t have good intentions. You also certainly won’t be able focus in depth on any one person or tell who might be most helpful or interesting to connect with.

We’re already used to setting these boundaries online. Consider how Facebook and Linked in have natural borders. You can make the most of the vast expanse of platforms like Twitter and Instagram, while only letting specific people have access to your own content.

Your inbox is a personal thing

We don’t regularly use allow lists in email yet… and why not?  Our inbox contains even more personal information than our social profiles. Yet we let everyone in the door, resulting in inboxes that are shockingly chaotic and confused.  We use filters, we file things in folders, we set unique themes on our email. But, in the end, anyone can still email us at any time.  

There is certainly value in the democratic and open nature of email, but it makes sense that we should have a way to decide who has access to something so personal. Already a familiar concept, the allow list becomes a way to ensure that we have a choice in who is welcome at our email party.  

- Your colleague, who needs to share important client information? Yep.
- Your mom, reminding you to call your aunt on her birthday.  Sure.
- A company with a product and a message that makes sense for your business. Probably helpful.
- Corporate marketing teams, sending out campaigns to 1M prospects with no customization? No thank you.
- Unfamiliar vendors, offering solutions to problems you don’t have? Nope.

Applying allow lists to email

The allow list is a means to making email truly personalized. Gated takes this concept and puts it to work.  To avoid being overly restrictive, Gated puts a marginal cost in place so that interesting newcomers always have a way to become a part of your allow list.  To ensure your email is your own, Gated provides automatic and manual ways for the ongoing curation of your allow list.  It’s not about keeping people out, but rather about making sure that you are enabling the individuals and domains that matter to reach you.