Scrubbly benchmark test

Above is a video where I test and compare the "old" Scrubbly (2010-2012) against the "new" Scrubbly (2013). I'm using the same exact files on the same exact computer.

I'm running a virtual Windows 7 PC via VMWare Fusion3 on an old(ish) white MacBook that has a 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 2 GB RAM.

I'm testing both versions of Scrubbly using a 1 million record multi-column CSV mailing list and a 1 million record suppression list that contains MD5 hashes.

These results make me very happy. The old Scrubbly finished in 3 minutes and 40 seconds. The new & improved Scrubbly finished in 2 minutes and 7 seconds. If my math is right, that's a 42% increase in scrubbing speed.

Buy for Mac or PC

Scrubbly for Mac

Being a long-time Mac guy myself, and after a multitude of customers asking me, "when are you going to have a version of Scrubbly for Mac?!" I'm proud to announce that Scrubbly Mac is here!

And what's even better, the new Scrubbly for Mac and the original Scrubbly for PC have been completely re-engineered. Importing lists and scrubbing lists happen exponentially faster.

Watch the Scrubbly Mac demo above, and click the button below to purchase Scrubbly for Mac or PC.

Buy for Mac or PC

Scrubbly scrubs fast

Above is a long-overdue screen video of Scrubbly scrubbing a 1 million record mailing list against a 1 million record MD5 hashed suppression list in 1 minute and 45 seconds. I'm running Scrubbly on an older Macbook (2 MHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2 MB RAM) running Windows 7 (running 2 operating systems is resource-intensive). Scrubbly will run much, much quicker on a on a dedicated Windows machine.

Learn more...

Always distribute your suppression lists in a secure format

This past week my friend Julie from Schaaf-PartnerCentric reached out to me with some specific questions about how she should coach her client in distributing their suppression lists. The client is a well-known brand and as such, the integrity of the brand and it's unsubscribe data is of paramount importance. Julie told me that the client doesn't want to relinquish their suppression list in a way that could allow it to become compromised. I told her that there is an easy solution.

Any reputable suppression list management solution will allow you (the advertiser) to store and distribute your suppression list(s) in a hashed and secure format, either MD5 or SHA256. And the vendor should provide this functionality for free. If they don't, cancel your account today, call OPTiZMO and have them manage your suppression lists.

Distributing your suppression list in an hashed format means that an affiliate will never have access or see a single email address that's stored in your suppression file. For example, becomes ff38ca9b84b9f5acd849848f5dbeb1bf. Your encrypted suppression list will look like this:


And so on. Those hashes above represent email addresses and cannot be unencrypted or reverse-engineered. Your affiliate will download a long list of hashes from your suppression list management account and then they will have to hash their mailing list in order to do a comparison to find the matches and determine which addresses to remove from their mailing list. This can be a manual and tedious process for affiliates who might not have the technical resources to execute an hash pass for each address in their mailing list and then do a comparison against it and the hashed suppression list they downloaded from you.

And this is exactly why I built Scrubbly. Your affiliate can downloaded your encrypted suppression list, drop it into the Scrubbly application along with his mailing list and Scrubbly will automatically encrypt his mailing list, do the comparison and return to him his cleaned list. And all the while, your list stays secure and encrypted.

I've said it before: If you're an advertiser, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't be distributing your suppression lists in a hashed and secure format. Point your affiliates to and let Scrubbly do the work for them while you rest assured that your data is secure!

Learn more...

Khris Thayer of OPTiZMO on Sustainability, Economic Evolution, and the Compliant Affiliate

Last night a group of us attended Austin's Affiliate Summit Meetup at UT's Golf Club, compliments of Shawn Collins. The topic this month was "Sustainability, Economic Evolution, and the Compliant Affiliate" with guest speaker Khris Thayer, founder & CEO of OPTIZMO Technologies. This topic was important to me because of my recent years of experience in email marketing and compliance. Khris is also a great personal friend of mine, former colleague, and OPTIZMO is Scrubbly's top referral partner, so it was great to go and support a friend, shake hands with some good folks in the affiliate industry, and to get some insight into today's topics in the email compliance realm.

Again, the topic of the presentation was Sustainability, Economic Evolution and the Compliant Affiliate. Huh? Economic Evolution – okay, I get that. The economy has been holding steady at a low point. I could understand why this would be something to be discussed as everyone's trying to keep the lights on and food on the table. The Compliant Affiliate – makes sense as well; we're in the game because we want to help people follow the rules and deter legal issues in whatever capacity we collectively can. Sustainability – this was the word I was curious about. At first I thought it was just being tossed out there as a contemporary buzz word because everyone wants to be sustainable – to buy and produce sustainable products. I was really curious to see what Khris had up his sleeve with the buzz word, or if it was even going to be brought up at all.

What Khris talked about was exactly that – sustainability in email marketing and compliance. He's been diligent in promoting the longevity of this industry. He and his team have done the research, and while social media, text and SMS messaging are continuing to grow as communication, selling and retention mediums, email continues to sit high at the top of that list of mediums and, from what I took away from the presentation, OPTIZMO's research is leaning toward email staying on top of that list for many years to come.

Another bullet point Khris discussed was the shift (for the betterment) in enforcing local and federal regulations in email marketing. Because of OPTIZMO's robust email campaign and suppression list download and distribution reporting features, they were able to work closely with the FTC in recent months to pinpoint the exact source(s) of CAN-SPAM violations. When I was working with and consulting advertisers and merchants, the hard truth was that the onus was on the advertiser to stay compliant. If there were any violations, the finger was always pointed at the advertiser. And a lot of times, the advertiser was in the dark – the light was only shed when a problem arose. And it was the advertiser's fault for having made the choice to work with an affiliate who neglected to comply with the law. With OPTIZMO's reporting and detailed "paper trail," the FTC, local law enforcement and the advertiser can see where the infraction(s) are occurring. Most of the time, when working with CPA networks, the advertiser doesn't know who is promoting their brand and by what means. The relationship that the advertiser has is with the network, and the advertiser is engaging in, what they would hope would be, a trusting business relationship. The advertiser is banking on the notion that the network is going to keep the advertiser's best interests in mind in terms of not only conversions, but also compliance. But, unfortunately, this hasn't always been the case.

Khris and the OPTIZMO team have been working hard on that sustainability over the past two years — working with other authorities, networks and partners, cleaning up the industry to ensure that advertisers are confident and comfortable with putting their ad dollars in email. Khris told us that two of the well-known ad networks have recently really stuck their necks out there and cut the cruft – getting rid of the "bad" affiliates (those with almost nil focus or consideration on compliance and best practices) – and have since shifted their focus on quality over quantity. I think that's a very bold and admirable move. I'm positive that this effort is going to be a continuing struggle for the networks and company's like OPTIZMO, but I think it's those kinds of efforts and group diligence that are going to contribute most to the industry's sustainability.

It'd been a while since Khris and I were able to talk "shop," so it was good to see him again, listen to his great presentation and shake his hand afterward. And Khris, I still want a shirt!

Learn more...

How to decrypt a suppression list

I'm not going to say one couldn't decrypt an encrypted suppression list, but I will say that that's not an activity that I'd endorse. A suppression list is an extremely sensitive set of data, and should be treated as such.

As more and more people learn about Scrubbly, I'm often faced with the question: "How do I decrypt this suppression list?" Scrubbly does not decrypt suppression lists. Scrubbly will, however, allow you to quickly and easily work with an encrypted suppression list. Scrubbly will take your mailing list and convert the email addresses into hashes. It will then compare the hashes in your list with the hashes in the suppression list and return to you either 1) a cleaned, mailable list, or 2) a list of matching records (a suppression list) — both options will return a plain-text (not encrypted) list to you.

If you're an advertiser, you need a safe environment in which to house and distribute your suppression lists. I'd highly recommend using Optimzo's suppression list management solution. Optizmo will allow you to distribute your suppression list in an encrypted format, and provide you with full tracking and visibility of your list downloads and usage.

I designed Scrubbly so mailers could easily work with encrypted suppression lists. I designed Scrubbly so merchants & advertisers would have no reason to not distribute their lists in an encrypted format. Encrypted suppression list distribution and Scrubbly are the one-two punch to completely knock out suppression list abuse.

Click here to purchase a full license of Scrubbly today!

Learn more...

How Scrubbly was born

I used to work for a company that provides email suppression list services, and it was a really great job. I learned a wealth of information about email marketing best practices, CAN-SPAM compliance, and, of course, suppression list management and distribution. The majority of my clients were "advertisers," those with products or services that were being promoted via the email channel. These advertisers were employing the resources of affiliates and publishers to run their offers to the affiliates lists. Again, my customers were the advertisers, so they were the ones that I was talking to on a day in and day out basis. Every once in a while I was able to speak to an affiliate, and usually that was when they were referred to me by my customer directly — and usually it was because the affiliate had a technical question on how to use the company's suppression list service so they could run the advertiser's offer while staying CAN-SPAM compliant.

When I left the company in March of 2010, I had a nagging urge to start my own business on the side. I remember laying on the couch and after having taken a break from reading half a dozen chapters in "Rework," I kept thinking, "what can I do… what can I do?" I needed to build something that was relatively simple in concept and solved a problem. That's when I started to remember those few and far between calls I got from affiliates who were having problems working with an advertiser's suppression list.

The usual conversation went something like this:

"Josh, I downloaded this suppression list, but it looks like it's all jumbled and encoded. What am I supposed to do with this?!"

After spending 5 minute on the phone explaining what MD5 encryption was, and how the affiliate was supposed to convert their email addresses into MD5 hashes and then compare the hashes on their list to the hashes on the advertiser's suppression list, it pretty much became all for naught. Generally the affiliate either didn't have the time or resources to do this conversion and comparison dance. So, invariably, they'd just pass up on the offer. That was no sweat of my back at the time because the affiliate wasn't my customer. I wasn't losing any money, nor was my company, but I still kept note of this recurring question in the back of my head as "a problem that needs to be fixed."

So that's when I decided to create a simple desktop application, designed specifically for affiliates, so they could download a suppression list (encrypted or non-encrypted), drop it into this little app along with their opt-in list, press a button and PRESTO, the app would scrub the two lists and give the affiliate a cleaned, ready-to-mail list. And I knew it had to work quick and flawlessly because time is money and no one wants to be hit by the FTC with a CAN-SPAM violation.

So after collecting all of my thoughts, I decided to make a go of this little project. I don't know the first thing about software development, and I didn't want to get [code-knowing] friends involved because I wanted this thing to be all my own, so I outsourced the software. I decided to try Elance. After spelling out exactly what I wanted this application to do and a couple weeks, I got my little scrubbing application back and it worked just as I'd described. I spent another week or so with my developer making minor tweaks, but all-in-all, my developer did a spot-on job.

The guts of the project was done. I was really excited about taking this thing to market (keep in mind that I'm unemployed at the time, so I didn't have much else to get excited about ) and I really wanted to brand this thing. I knew that I had to somehow incorporate "scrubbing", as that was the industry term that most everyone, myself included, had been using. At first I chose "Scrubbr" (a-la Flickr and other Web 2.0 brands that went the way of sans vowels), but it just didn't look cool enough. I left it at Scrubbr and just thought no more about it for a day or so. One morning, while I was sitting at my desk, I started thinking about a logo and imagery. Then I thought about this wooden back scrubbing brush that my wife has sitting next to the tub. I knew that I wanted a "drawing" of this brush. So, again, I outsourced the logo design (I like to consider myself pretty good in the graphics department, but knew I couldn't create a digital version of my brush). I sent the designer my photo and stated, "I want this photo "drawn" into an EPS (vector-based graphic file) and made to look very "web 2.0". I even sent along a visual representation of what I wanted. And it was about this time that I decided on "Scrubbly" as it just rolled off the tongue better. And the logo I got back was exactly what I'd asked for -- they even created the text for me, but I didn't want that... I could handle to the text of the logo myself.

I now had my product and my logo. Now it was time for the website. At first I was going to outsource the website to a designer friend who graciously offered to build the site pro-bono. He was swamped at the time while I was running full-steam ahead. I decided to forgo the favor and built the site myself.

The software development, logo design and website took exactly 30 days, which I think it pretty damn good considering this was my first stab at starting a little entrepreneurial project.

My next step was to find some customers…

Learn more...

Hello World!

First post. Woot! Looking forward to posting news & info about Scrubbly.

Learn more...