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Google and Yahoo are updating policies - New requirements and guidelines for senders [2024]

Team MessageFlow
15 min
Email
January 16, 2024

The two leading Email service providers, who collectively serve around 56.6% of the global market, are gearing up to enforce a new policy. Starting from February 1st for Gmail and the first quarter of 2024 for Yahoo! Mail, significant changes related to the classification and receipt of messages coming into their platforms will be implemented, impacting Email deliverability. These changes will apply to senders who dispatch more than 5,000 messages per day, requiring them to take specific actions. In light of this, we have gathered all the necessary information for you to adapt to the new guidelines and maintain high Email deliverability for messages you send to accounts in these services.

In brief, the latest requirements for mass Email communication senders include:

1. Authenticating the sender's domain using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC protocols.

2. Maintaining a spam complaint rate below 0.3%.

3. Enabling recipients to unsubscribe with a single click.

Sounds quite reasonable, doesn't it? We often approach changes reluctantly, but these actions are taken to ensure the best user experience and enhance the security of Email recipients. 

Ultimately, these changes will affect all of us (those using these services privately) and represent a positive step towards improving service quality. We're looking at a new industry standard that will benefit users, and allow senders to elevate their practices on multiple fronts.

What changes will Gmail and Yahoo introduce? Here's what you need to know.

We believe that you, along with other senders of mass Email communication, will be able to quickly and seamlessly adapt to these new guidelines, which essentially represent nothing more than good practices for using Email. 

In case you’ll need any support in this matter, feel free to reach out to us at MessageFlow. Our team will provide all the necessary information and guidance.

1. Sender domain authentication

Authenticating the address used for mass Email communication is a way to confirm that you are who you claim to be. This process helps avoid situations where dishonest senders reach a broad audience with their unwelcome messages.

It's also a method to improve your reputation and steer clear of being classified as spam. Having said that, sending Email campaigns to large recipient groups using free services will no longer be recommended, as they do not provide the option for domain authentication.

SPF and DKIM records

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) form the foundation of the Email authentication process and are crucial for security and deliverability. SPF specifies which servers are authorized to send messages on behalf of a particular domain, thus protecting against attempts to impersonate the sender.

DKIM, on the other hand, digitally signs Emails using cryptographic keys, confirming the authenticity and integrity of the message. This allows recipients to verify if the Email truly originates from a credible sender and hasn't been altered during transmission.

Both mechanisms enhance trust in senders, playing a crucial role in combating phishing and other types of attacks. Moreover, they improve deliverability by enabling properly configured mail servers to verify the authenticity of the sender.

DMARC record

The DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance) authentication protocol will be required from the aforementioned senders who dispatch more than 5,000 messages a day. It serves as an additional authentication method, confirming that a particular message was indeed sent from the indicated domain.

Configuring the DMARC record protects both you and your recipients from phishing or spoofing attacks and aims to ensure the delivery of only the desired messages to recipients' mailboxes. Properly setting up DMARC has a positive impact on your reputation as a sender and improves the efficiency of your Email campaigns.

How to adapt to this?

You'll need to set up the DMARC record in the panel where you manage your domain. However, before you can use it, you must configure SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), which become absolutely mandatory for the deliverability of large-scale campaigns.

When it comes to authentication, achieving domain alignment becomes crucial – matching the Header From domain (FROM address) with the Envelope From domain (Return_Path) or the DKIM key domain.

The latest changes planned by Google and Yahoo require the implementation of the DMARC policy at least at the "p=none" level.

2. Spam complaint rate control

To continue delivering messages to Gmail inboxes, the webmail giant will require senders to stay below the 0.3% spam complaint threshold – a metric you can track yourself using Google Postmaster Tools.

Yahoo hasn't announced a specific value for this guideline, but its level is likely to be very similar. Truth be told, we've already noticed less clutter in our inboxes, so these new rules may already be in effect.

How to adapt to this?

To minimize the likelihood of your messages being reported as spam:

1. Implement a double opt-in mechanism to ensure that the Email address is valid and its owner has genuinely subscribed to your list.

2. Strive to maintain the highest level of contact database hygiene. Regularly remove inactive and incorrect Email addresses.

3. Create an appealing welcome Email to clearly convey to the recipient what to expect later on.

4. Optimize the content of your messages – from the subject line to links and images inside.

5. Introduce segmentation and personalization in your campaigns. Make sure your Email communication aligns as closely as possible with the needs and expectations of your subscribers.

6. Ensure that the unsubscribe button is a clearly visible element in your Email design. The point is to allow people to easily opt-out to avoid having your messages marked as spam.

3. One-click unsubscribe option

On that last note, the one-click opt-out is a nod to message recipients, supposed to maximally shorten the path to discontinuing communication that, for any reason, ceases to meet expectations or remain interesting.

If this happens, making it difficult for the recipient to unsubscribe is simply unfair. The new rules, set to take effect soon, also state that any request to be removed from the aubscriber list must be addressed within two days.

How to adapt to this?

Ensure compliance with this requirement by implementing an appropriate mechanism that allows the recipient to unsubscribe from the list with a single click of the designated link.

Changes for the better are coming 

The changes related to Email sending and delivery planned by Google and Yahoo will soon become a reality. These new guidelines have strong business justification, as well as human considerations, marking a step toward improving user experience and ultimately the effectiveness of campaigns conducted by companies. It's a great opportunity to optimize your operations in line with the best Email sending practices.

Being in this field, let's work together towards even better utilization of the excellent communication channel that is Email and the elimination of spam, benefiting all parties involved.

Join the ranks of senders meeting the latest standards of quality and security.

MessageFlow users who adhere to the new guidelines can successfully continue delivering messages to Gmail and Yahoo Mail inboxes.

Consult the implementation of these key guidelines with your IT department, and if needed, feel free to reach out to us. We'll be happy to provide all the necessary information that’ll put you on the right track.

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