You’ll need DMARC authentication to send email to Gmail and Yahoo

Laws and regulations
Dec 4
4 min read
Starting February 2024, Gmail and Yahoo will require authenticated sender domain, meaning senders need to prove ownership of their domain to prevent email fraud and spam. Don’t let this news alarm you, though; this article will guide you through how to authenticate your domain.
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As an email marketer, it’s important to understand the technical complexities behind email authentication to ensure your emails reach your subscribers’ inboxes.

While this authentication is only mandatory for those who send more than 5,000 messages per day, it is strongly recommended that everyone make these changes to get ahead of any more stringent requirements that could come in the future.

What is email authentication?

Email authentication is the process of verifying the legitimacy of an email's source to prevent spam, phishing and fraud. It includes three main protocols: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. These protocols authenticate the sender’s domain against the email’s IP address, message contents, and policy alignment respectively. Therefore, to authenticate your email, you need to own a domain and publish these protocols in your DNS records.

Nowadays, domain ownership is crucial for brand credibility and email deliverability. If you don’t authenticate your emails, they may not reach your subscribers’ inbox, but instead go to spam or even be rejected. Moreover, without authentication, spammers can easily impersonate your brand and send fraudulent emails to your subscribers, leading to reputation damage and potential legal consequences.

What is DMARC?

DMARC is an invaluable, open-source internet standard that empowers domain owners with the responsibility and control to authenticate legitimate messages. By implementing DMARC, you not only safeguard your domain from spoofing attempts, but also prevent potential attacks on your customers, partners and suppliers. DMARC is a powerful tool that ensures the security and integrity of your domain while fostering trust and confidence among your stakeholders.

What you need to do

To start you need to acquire your own domain. You need to adopt your own domain as your email handle instead of using Gmail, Yahoo, or another provider. Next is to authenticate using DKIM. Without DKIM, DMARC will never authenticate. DKIM is the first step to DMARC compliance.
It is crucial to have a DMARC policy in your DNS. While a monitor-mode of p=none may be enough for Google and Yahoo, this represents just the initial step towards fully leveraging the security control.

  • Check if you already have a DMARC record with this DMARC Inspector.
  • If you don’t have a DMARC record, use this DMARC Record Wizard to create one.
  • Enabling DMARC monitoring is the first step to gain insights into whether you have any email sources that are out of compliance. A gradual and deliberate increase in your DMARC policy state will help ensure your domains are protected.
  • You are likely to need a visualization tool to help make sense of the data. You can start a free trial with us to gain insight into your domains.

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If this all sounds too complicated, don’t sweat! An email service provider, like Cakemail, will help you configure your DMARC as well as DKIM, SPF, and other information. If you need help, feel free to contact our Support team.  

Best practices are now the only practices

Good email marketers have been following these guidelines for a while, but now they are no longer optional. Ensure that you and your team are set up to follow these in 2024.

Don’t send spam.

  • Yahoo asks you to only send messages to recipients who have opted in. You honor the stated frequency established at the point of registration, and you don’t buy lists.
  • Gmail requires you to keep your Spam Complaint Rate below 0.3%. They even offer a free reputation service to help you keep track of your spam rates.

Properly Format Your Messages.

Don’t spoof or Google and Yahoo will begin to ramp up their own DMARC policies. If you are using an email service that allows you to send “as your or address,” you are likely to experience substantial delivery issues. Your best bet is to open a support ticket with your provider to understand more appropriately what exactly is at stake for you.

Include one-click unsubscribe: You’ll need to institute a one-click unsubscribe in order for your emails to be delivered. Yahoo says the one-click unsubscribe should honor a user’s requests within two days. Google adds that a clearly visible unsubscribe link must be in the message body.

Email authentication may initially seem complicated, but it’s essential for maintaining your brand reputation and email deliverability and it only needs to be set up once. By owning a domain and following the SPF, DKIM, and DMARC protocols, you can prove to all receivers that your emails are legitimate and safe to open. Don’t hesitate to seek help from your email service provider or IT department, and always keep an eye on your email metrics to ensure high engagement and conversions.

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