Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

This glossary may prove useful when planning a direct response campaign, dealing with databases or otherwise working with Cornerstone.



A/B split – Test that splits lists into two pieces, with every other name being sent version A of creative, with version B going to the other names. See also nth name.

ASCII – Computer language applicable to magnetic tape or disk.

above the fold – The part of an e-mail message or web page that is visible without scrolling. Material in this area is considered more valuable because the reader sees it first.

acquisition cost – The cost to generate one lead, newsletter subscriber or customer in an individual campaign; typically, the total campaign expense divided by the number of leads, subscribers or customers it produced.

actives – Direct response records that are current.

ad click – A measurement of a user clicking on an online advertisement unit on a website (banner, button or text link).

ad click rate – The percentage of users who click on a clickable advertisement (banner, button or text link).

address accuracy – A plan implemented by Canada Post requiring all Canadian mailing lists of 5,000 or more names to be at 95 percent accuracy (excluding rural records) according to Canada Post software.

ad impression – Number of times an online ad is served to the user's browser and presumably seen by visitors.

affiliate – A marketing partner that promotes your products or services under a payment-on-results agreement.

agent-sold – When a publisher has an agent selling on its behalf (such as Publishers Clearing House).

authentication – An automated process that verifies an e-mail sender's identity.

autoresponder – Automated e-mail message-sending capability, such as a welcome message sent to all new subscribers the minute they join a list.


base price – The cost per thousand of a list prior to selects.

bytes per inch (BPI) – Unit of measurement expressing the amount of data stored on magnetic tape.

banner – A graphical image (GIF or JPEG file) on a website used as an advertisement.

Bayesian filter – An anti-spam program that evaluates header and content of incoming e-mail to determine the probability that it is spam.

beyond the banner – Online advertisements not involving standard GIF and JPEG banner ads, such as interstitials and streaming video ads.

blacklist – A list of domains or IP addresses of e-mailers suspected of sending spam.

block – A refusal by an ISP or mail server to forward your e-mail message to the recipient.

bounce – A e-mail message that doesn't get delivered promptly.

bounce message – The message sent back to an e-mail sender reporting the message could not be delivered and why.

bounce handling – The process of dealing with the e-mail that has bounced.

bounce rate (also called return rate) – Number of soft and hard bounces divided by the number of e-mails sent.

broadcast – The process of sending the same e-mail message to multiple recipients.

browser – A software program that allows a user to view websites.

bulk folder (also called junk folder) – Contains e-mail messages that appear to be from spammers, contain spam or are from any sender not in the recipient's address book or contact list.

button ad – A graphical advertisment, smaller than a banner ad, typically measuring 120 x 90 pixels.


CMA – Canadian Marketing Association.

CPM or $/M – Cost per thousand names.

call to action – In an e-mail message, the link or body copy that tells the recipient what action to take.

CAN-SPAM – U.S. law regulating commercial e-mail (Full name: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003).

Cheshire labels – Paper labels, commonly seen used as address labels on magazines.

churn – How many subscribers, buyers or customers leave a mailing list over a certain period of time, usually expressed as a percentage of the whole list.

click-through – A user responding to an advertisement unit by clicking on an ad, causing a redirect to the advertiser's destination.

click-through rate (CTR) – The percentage of visitors to a web page who click on a clickable advertisement (banner, button or text link).

common gateway interface (CGI) – The specifications for transferring information between the web and a web server, such as processing e-mail subscription or contact forms.

computer house/service bureau – A company which provides such computer services as list maintenance and merge purge to mailers and list owners.

continuation – When a mailer uses a list two or more times. Compare to test.

controlled circulation – Those individuals on a list who receive a publication on a complimentary basis because they're in the industry related to the publication. Compare to paid circulation.

conversion rate – The percentage of visitors who take a desired action.

co-registration – A separate box, inserted by companies collecting registration information, that asks users to check if they would also like to be added to specific third-party lists.

cost-per-action (CPA) – Advertising payment model based on specific actions of the user in response to an ad. Actions may include a sales transaction, a customer acquisition or a click.

cost-per-click (CPC) – Advertisement payment model based on the number of clicks received or per click-through. Same as pay-per-click.

crawler (also called spider) – Component of search engine that gathers listings by automatically "crawling" the web. See spider.

cross-campaign profiling – A method used to understand how e-mail respondents behave over multiple campaigns.

customer acquisition cost (CAC) - The cost of acquiring a new customer.


delivered e-mail – Number of e-mails sent minus the number of bounces and filtered messages.

delivery tracking – The process of measuring delivery rates (by format, ISP or other factors) and delivery failures (bounces, invalid address, server and other errors).

deployment – The sending of an e-mail campaign after testing.

direct mail sold (DMS) – Those consumers who have historically responded to an offer received by direct mail.

direct to publisher – To subscribe to a magazine by filling in and mailing the insert card.

domain name system – How computer networks locate Internet domain names and translate them into IP addresses. The domain name is the actual name for an IP address or range of IP addresses. See reverse DNS.

double opt-in – A process that requires new online list joiners to take an additional action (such as clicking on an e-mailed link to a personal confirmation page) in order to confirm that they do want to be on the list.

dump – A sample of the records as they appear on a list.

dynamic ad placement – An ad served so that it appears on a results page page based on a user's request, demographics, specific interests or usage history.

dynamic rotation – Advertisements delivered to a designated space on a website on a rotating or randomized basis.


EBCDIC – A computer language applicable to magnetic tape.

e-newsletter – An electronic newsletter or magazine, delivered via a website.

expired (also called lapsed) – Previously active records which no longer subscribe to a list.

e-mail client – E-mail software, such as Lotus Notes.

e-mail domain (also called domain) – The portion of the e-mail address to the right of the "@" sign.

e-mail filter – A software tool that categorizes, sorts or blocks incoming e-mail.

e-mail friendly name (also called display name or from name) – The portion of the e-mail address displayed instead of, or in addition to, the e-mail address.

e-mail harvesting – An automated program that searches web pages or other Internet destinations for e-mail addresses, often to be resold to spammers or unethical bulk mailers.

e-mail prefix – The portion of the e-mail address to the left of the @ sign.


false positive – A legitimate message mistakenly rejected or filtered as spam.

firewall – A program with rules or protocols that authorize or prohibit outside users or messages.

FSA LDU – Stands for "forward sortation area, local delivery unit." These are the elements of a postal code.

frequency – 1.) The number of times an online ad is delivered to the same browser in a single session or time period, or 2.) Refers to how often prospects make purchases, usually part of an RFM analysis.

fundraiser rate – A reduced base price which some rental lists offer to fundraiser mailers.


goodbye message – An e-mail message sent automatically, acknowledging a list member's request to unsubscribe.


HTML message – E-mail message which uses "hyper text markup language" to present in a format other than text.

hard bounce – Message sent to an invalid, closed or nonexistent e-mail account.

header – Routing and program data at the start of an e-mail message.

hotline – Records recently added to a list.

house list – A mailer's own customer list.

hygiene – The process of cleaning a database to correct incorrect or outdated values.


IP address – A unique number assigned to each device connected to the Internet.

ISP – Internet service provider.

impression – A single view of one page by a single user, used in calculating advertising rates.

interactive advertising – Web -, wireless- or interactive television-based advertising.

interstitials (also called transition ads, splash pages or Flash pages) – An ad that appears between two content pages.

inter-file dupes – Records which appear on more than one list rented by the same mailer.

intra-file dupes – Records which appear more than once within the same list.



key code – A code which a mailer assigns to a list, printed on each record, for tracking purposes.

key word(s) (also called search terms) – The word(s) a searcher enters into a search engine's search box; also refers to the terms search engine marketers use to attract searchers to their pages.



landing page (also called microsite, splash page, bounce page or click page) – A web page viewed after clicking on a link.

layout – An explanation of how to read the files on a magnetic tape or other media format.

letter carrier pre-sort (LCP) – Sortation of records according to Canada Post postal walks (designated postal carrier routes).

lettershop – A company which does the labeling, lasering and packing of direct mail packages.

list fatigue – Diminishing returns from a mailing list whose members are sent too many offers or too many of the same offers, in too short a period of time.

list broker – A company that monitors the list industry, acts as a list consultant for its Clients, and handles all aspects of the list ordering process on behalf of its Clients.

list manager – A company that manages and promotes mailing lists on behalf of list owners.

list owner – A company that owns a mailing list (usually consisting of its customers).

list rental/trade agreement – An agreement between a mailer and a list owner which outlines terms of the list rental or trade.


M – Thousand.

MM – Million.

MSP – Mail service provider, such as Gmail.

mail/telephone preference file (also pander file) – CMA's "kill file" of people who do not want to receive mail or telephone calls (applies primarily to consumers as opposed to businesses).

mailto – A code to make an e-mail address in either a text or HTML message immediately clickable.

mailer – A company that mails its direct mail package to consumers and/or businesses.

matchcode retention – A code assigned to a particular record, which is kept and used to track the record's responsiveness to various promotions. At no time can the mailer determine name and address from the code

merge purge (also called dupe/elim) – Purging duplicate records between and within lists, usually after multiple lists have been merged.

Meta tag – Hidden information placed in a web page that is sometimes used by search engine crawlers, browser software and other applications to classify web content.

monetary – Refers to the amount of money spent on purchases by a prospect, usually part of an RFM analysis.

multis – Records that have been purchased two or more times from a particular company. Compare to singles.


names through – The date when the list was last updated.

National Distribution Guide (NDG) – Sortation of records in order of specific Canada Post postal stations.

net name arrangement – An agreement whereby a list owner allows a mailer to only pay for a certain percentage or number of names rented, with running charges on the balance.

nth name – Random selection of records from a list.


offer – An aspect of a direct mail package – a lower subscription price, for example – that is unique so that the recipient cannot find it anywhere else.

open rate – The number of HTML message recipients who opened your e-mail as a percentage of the total number of e-mails sent.

opt-in – A specific request by an individual e-mail recipient to have their own e-mail address placed on a specific mailing list.

opt-out – A specific request to remove an e-mail address from a specific list or from all lists operated by a single owner.

organic listing – An un-sponsored search engine listings where the listing appears based solely on the engine's algorithms. Paid inclusion content can sometimes be considered "organic" when it appears intermixed with unpaid organic results.


POP (post office protocol) – The protocol that an e-mail client uses to send to or receive messages from an e-mail server.

paid circulation – Those individuals on a list who have paid to receive the publication. Compare to controlled circulation.

paid listings – Listings that search engines sell to advertisers.

pay-per-click – An advertising pricing model where advertisers pay for advertisements only when users click on the online ad or e-mail message. Same as cost per click.

permission marketing – A marketing campaign where an individual has given a company permission to market its products and services to them, usually through e-mail.

phishing – A form of identity theft in which a impostor uses an authentic-looking e-mail to trick recipients into giving out sensitive personal information.

plain text – Text in an e-mail message that includes no formatting code.

pop-up ad – An ad that opens in a separate new window on top of the window a user is currently viewing.

postal code (PC) sequence – Sortation of records by alpha numeric sequence.

premium – A product or bonus gift received by a consumer or business as a result of responding to a direct mail offer.


ROI (return on investment) – The percentage of profit or revenue generated from a specific investment.

RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) – An analysis that identifies the best prospects by examining their recency (how recently they have purchased), frequency (how often they purchase) and monetary (how much they spend).

recency – Refers to how recently a prospect has made a purchase, usually part of an RFM analysis.

recommendation – When a broker recommends lists to his or her Client.

rank (also called position) – How well a particular web page or website is listed in search engine results.

registration – A user opts in to your e-mail program and provides some additional information.

relationship e-mail – An e-mail message that refers to a commercial action based on an existing business relationship between the sender and recipient. CAN-SPAM requirements do not apply to these messages.

reply envelope – The pre-addressed envelope that is inserted in direct mail pieces to encourage response.

reply to – The e-mail address that receives messages when recipients click "reply."

re-use – When a mailer uses a list the second time.

reverse DNS – Matching an IP address to a domain name; used to catch spammers who use invalid IP addresses.

rental – Rental of a list, usually for a one-time use only.

response rate – The percentage of people who respond to a particular list.

response report – A report which shows the history of response information on all lists ever used by a mailer.

rich media – Enhanced technology online ad format that can include video, animation and sound.

rollout – When a mailer purchases the names remaining within a particular list segment.

run-of-network (RON) – Ad buying option in which ad placements may appear on any pages on sites within an entire online publishing network.

run-of-site (ROS) – Ad buying option in which ad placements may appear anywhere on the site.

running charge – The cost per thousand names for running an order.


SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol) – The most common protocol for sending e-mail messages between e-mail servers.

sample mail piece – The direct mail package which is mailed out to consumers and businesses.

search engine marketing (also called pay per click paid advertising) – The range of marketing techniques required to make a sponsored ad visible on search engines.

search engine optimization (SEO) – Designing or modifying a website so that it does well in the un-paid, organic listings of search engines.

seeds (also called decoys) – Addresses placed on a list, often covertly; they can help determine what messages are sent to the list, track delivery rate and verify visible appearance of delivered messages.

segment – Dividing a list into specific pieces based on various attributes.

selects – Portions of a list segmented out by any number of attributes; mailers use these to better target their audience.

server – A program or computer system that stores and distributes e-mail from one mailbox to another or relays e-mail from one server to another in a network.

singles – Records that have only been purchased once from a particular company. Compare to multis.

skyscraper ad – An online advertisement that is taller than the vertical banner. The Internet Advertising Bureau recommends two sizes of skyscrapers: 120 by 600 pixels and 160 by 600 pixels.

snail mail – A somewhat derogatory term for postal mail.

source – The way in which records came to be included on the file, such as via DMS or an agent.

spam – The popular name for unsolicited commercial e-mail.

spider – Automated program used by search engines to "crawl" the Internet and categorize websites.

spoofing – The practice of changing the sender's name in an e-mail message so that it looks as if it came from another address.

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code – Companies are coded by type. There is a U.S. and Canadian list of SIC Codes.

static ad placement (also called static rotation) – An ad placement where the ad will remain on a web page for a specified period of time.

subscribe – The act of joining a mailing list.

suppression file – A list of addresses to be removed from a mailing list.


test – When a list is being used for the first time by a mailer. Compare to continuation.

thank you page – A web page that appears after the user has submitted an order or a form online.

throttling – Controlling the number of e-mail messages a broadcaster sends to one ISP or mail server at a time.

trade (also called exchange) – A name-for-name exchange between a mailer and a list owner, usually stipulating one-time use.

trade reports – A report which shows the history of trades between two lists.


universe – 1.) The total number of records on a list, or 2.) The total number of records within a requested segment.

update – When the records on a file are cleaned and updated.

usage – A list of mailers who have rented a particular file.

URL (uniform resource locator) – The web address for a page, always beginning with "http://."

unsubscribe – The act of having oneself removed from a list.


verification – Using a software program to determine the accuracy of a record.

viral marketing (also called buzz or word-of-mouth marketing) – Any form of advertising or marketing that spreads laterally from consumer to consumer and market to market.

virus – A program or computer code that affects or interferes with a computer's operating system.


worm – An automatically replicating piece of code delivered via an executable attachment.