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Google & Yahoo email changes are set to impact transactional and marketing emails

The measures initially target heavy email blasters, these requirements will eventually envelop personal accounts too.

Sending a short email is estimated to add about four grammes (0.14 ounces) of CO2 equivalent (gCO2e) to the atmosphere. - Photo: © AFP
Sending a short email is estimated to add about four grammes (0.14 ounces) of CO2 equivalent (gCO2e) to the atmosphere. - Photo: © AFP

Think your emails are safe from getting blocked? Google and Yahoo are enacting strict new email verification rules that will soon police everyone’s inboxes (from major corporations to small business owners to everyday users).

From March 2024, all senders must add authentication protocols like DMARC and SPF to confirm their true identity. Users will also need pristine contact lists, one-click unsubscribe links, encrypted messages, and ultra-low spam complaints to keep delivering emails smoothly.

The measures initially target heavy email blasters, these requirements will eventually envelop personal accounts too. Failure to comply means potential blocking from Gmail and Yahoo’s millions of users.

These adjustments are not only intended to silence the spam bots and phishers. The measures also have the objective of cultivating a space where emails are respected, delivered reliably, and protected from impersonation.

The key changes are:

  • Authentication: Authenticate all messages with DMARC (technically, authenticate all messages with SPF or DKIM aligned with the From domain)
  • DMARC: Send from a domain with a DMARC policy of at least p=none.
  • DNS: Have valid forward and reverse DNS that match each other.
  • Unsubscribes: Use the one-click unsubscribe header and an unsubscribe link in the footer.
  • Spam Rate: Maintain a low spam rate of < 0.1%.
  • Encryption: Encrypt your email (technically, it requires TLS).

This means for seasoned email marketers, the landscape is about to shift. Under the Google and Yahoo spotlight, marketing emails will face increased scrutiny through stricter authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

Non-compliance will lead to trouble. Ultimately, messages may not be delivered to Gmail and Yahoo inbox recipients, and those subscribers likely make up most of an email list.

To combat this, those who regularly send emails need to:

  • Embrace Authentication: Implement and monitor SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to become a verified sender the inbox welcomes.
  • Maintain Your List: Treat your subscribers like gold. Clean your lists regularly, remove inactive users, and prioritize opt-in methods.
  • Make Unsubscribing Easy: One-click unsubscribe buttons are your friends, not foes. Offer a seamless exit, and you might even win back hearts later.
  • Send Wanted Mail: Deliver content that resonates, personalize your outreach, and prioritize value over sales pitches. You’ll likely face deliverability penalties if your spam rate exceeds 0.1 percent.

Senders who follow these rules will get their legitimate emails delivered and face less competition from spammers and bad actors in the inbox.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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