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Upgraded Gmail & Yahoo: Enhanced security, less spam

Google and Yahoo to roll out new email authentication and spam prevention requirements in February 2024. Read more here.

First published

08.01.2024

Last edited

09.04.2024

Read time

5 minutes


    By Ilija

    An economist by degree, a marketing manager at heart. Seeing my website on the first page of Google is what excites me most. I write mostly about email productivity, email management and AI.

    In February 2024, Gmail and Yahoo implemented significant changes in their email authentication requirements. These changes are primarily aimed at enhancing security and email deliverability.

    These new guidelines, particularly impactful for bulk email senders, mark a shift from recommended best practices to obligatory compliance for improved email integrity.

    Key changes

    • Simple Unsubscribe Process: Email marketers must automate the unsubscribe process. This ensures recipients can easily unsubscribe with one click, improving user experience.
    • Lower Spam Complaint Rates: Gmail and Yahoo will enforce stricter policies on daily email limits. Senders must keep spam complaint rates below 0.3% to optimize inbox placement. (no more than three spam reports for every 1,000 emails)
    • Email Authentication: Strong email authentication becomes mandatory. SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are required for bulk senders (over 5,000 emails/day) starting February 2024 to ensure emails reach the inbox and not the junk folder.

    Impact on email senders

    In the interconnected world of email, that takes all of us working together. Yahoo looks forward to working with Google and the rest of the email community to make these common sense, high-impact changes the new industry standard.

    Marcel Becker, Sr. Dir. Product at Yahoo

    In light of Gmail and Yahoo's new authentication updates, email senders must adapt to three key requirements.

    First, there's a shift towards using custom domains for sending emails. This strategy aims to enhance the credibility and traceability of emails.

    Second, implementing email authentication protocols like DKIM and DMARC is mandatory. These protocols are crucial in verifying the sender's identity and safeguarding against email spoofing.

    Finally, senders must closely monitor and maintain their spam complaint rates within set thresholds. This necessity underscores the importance of relevant, engaging content to ensure emails are well-received and to uphold a strong sender reputation.

    These changes collectively aim to boost email security and improve overall deliverability in the email ecosystem.

    Best practices turned mandatory

    Gmail's AI defenses already block 15 billion unwanted emails daily, and the new measures aim to further reduce unauthenticated messages, which have already dropped by 75%.

    yahoo email changes

    Email security measures:

    • SPF (Sender Policy Framework): This is like an approved sender list for your domain (e.g., yourcompany.com). It helps email servers like Gmail and Yahoo know which servers can send emails to you without suspicion. For example, if you use Mailchimp, you need to add their servers to your approved list.
    • DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): DKIM adds a digital signature to your emails to confirm they are from your domain. If the signature doesn't match or if the email is tampered with, it's more likely to be marked as spam.
    • DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance): DMARC is the most secure email authentication. It guides servers on how to handle emails that fail SPF and DKIM checks, protecting against spoofing. You need to set up a DMARC record for your domain.

    Easy unsubscribe:

    • Make it simple for users to unsubscribe.
    • Provide a one-click unsubscribe link in your email header.
    • Process unsubscribe requests within 2 days, as Gmail requires.

    Low spam complaint rates:

    • Keep your spam complaint rate below 0.3% to maintain a good sender reputation and email deliverability.
    • Email only those who want to receive emails.
    • Offer valuable content.
    • Use segmentation for targeted emails.
    • Avoid sending too many emails and respect subscriber preferences.

    These practices, once recommended, are now mandatory, especially for bulk email senders, to ensure a secure and reliable email communication environment.

    Practices to avoid when sending emails

    Avoid mixing different types of content:

    • Do not include promotions in sales receipt messages or combine unrelated content in a single message.

    Avoid spoofing:

    • Do not impersonate other domains or senders without their permission, as this practice, known as spoofing, may result in Gmail marking your messages as spam.

    Refrain from marking internal messages as spam:

    • Avoid marking your internal messages as spam, as this can harm your domain's reputation and lead to future messages being flagged as spam.

    Do not purchase email addresses:

    • Do not purchase email addresses from other companies, as this can lead to compliance issues and negatively impact your email marketing efforts.

    Respect recipient consent:

    • Only send messages to individuals who have willingly subscribed to receive communications from you. Sending emails to recipients who did not opt-in may result in them marking your messages as spam, affecting future communications.

    Be cautious with automatic opt-in forms:

    • Exercise caution when using opt-in forms that are pre-checked by default and automatically subscribe users. Some regions have legal restrictions on automatic opt-ins, so ensure compliance with local laws before implementing such forms.

    Email list hygiene

    Maintaining a clean and engaged email list – often termed 'email list hygiene' – has become more crucial than ever. This practice involves regularly reviewing and updating email lists to ensure they only contain active, engaged subscribers. The process not only helps in reducing bounce rates but also improves overall engagement metrics, which is vital considering Gmail and Yahoo's emphasis on low spam complaint rates.

    A key aspect of email list hygiene is identifying and removing inactive subscribers. These are individuals who haven't interacted with your emails over a significant period. Continuing to send emails to these inactive addresses can harm your sender's reputation and reduce the effectiveness of your email campaigns. It's essential to periodically segment your list, isolating those who haven't opened or clicked on your emails in a set timeframe, and consider sending them a re-engagement campaign or removing them from your list if there's no response.

    Another important factor is ensuring your email list consists of subscribers who have explicitly opted in to receive your communications. This not only aligns with best practices but also complies with various legal requirements like GDPR. Avoid purchasing email lists or adding contacts without their consent, as this can lead to high spam complaint rates and potential legal issues.

    Implementing a double opt-in process is an effective way to maintain a healthy email list. This process requires subscribers to confirm their email address after signing up, adding an extra layer of consent and ensuring the validity of the email address.

    In essence, email list hygiene is about prioritizing quality over quantity. It's not just the number of subscribers that matters but their level of engagement and interest in your content. By maintaining a clean, active, and engaged email list, you'll improve your email deliverability and sender reputation, aligning your practices with the new standards set by Gmail and Yahoo.

    Summary

    To conclude, Gmail and Yahoo's upcoming email changes are a major step towards improved security and communication practices. It's crucial for email senders to adapt to these changes by using proper authentication, easy unsubscribing, and keeping spam complaint rates low. Embracing these updates will lead to better email engagement and trustworthiness.

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