Deliverability

Sending from a Gmail or Microsoft address? Read this.

In just a few short months, both Gmail and Microsoft will implement a policy change requiring every email sent by one of their email addresses originate from their servers. These changes will come about in late 2016, when Gmail and Microsoft update their DMARC policy from p=“none” to p=“reject”. This may feel like deja-vu. And indeed, we have been here before with Yahoo! and AOL.

Everything you need to know about Gmail and Microsoft's DMARC policy changes

Photo: Road work ahead by flickr member Keturah Stickann

Gmail and Microsoft updating their DMARC policies is a pretty significant change, and one that will affect more senders than you think. How many of you are using bulk emailing tools with your own email address in the from field? Exactly. Following the implementation of these changes, if you are bulk emailing with a Gmail or Microsoft address in your from field, your email will be rejected.

Suffice to say, if you use an @gmail.com or @outlook.com address to send out your newsletters from a third party service provider, you’ll experience delivery issues.

What is DMARC?

Let’s back up for a minute and make sure we all understand DMARC.

The acronym for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance, DMARC is a protocol that confirms an email is being sent from the domain it says it’s from. (Other protocols include SPF and DomainKeys.) DMARC was created in 2012 to prevent email spoofing and all the nasty tricks that come with it, such as phishing and spam.

How this will affect you (and what you can do about it)

While Gmail and Microsoft will not be updating their DMARC policies until the end of 2016, you know that time is a slippery thing. It will be November before we all know it. Take the time now to review how you have configured your email marketing tool.

If you are not using a Gmail, Hotmail.com, Live, MSN, Passport or Outlook account as your sender, sit back and relax. If you currently have a Gmail or one of the aforementioned Microsoft addresses in your “from” or “sender” fields, replace these with a non-Gmail, non-Microsoft email address… ideally an email address associated with your own hosted domain.

Check your “send to a friend” addresses too

Additionally, many marketers allow their users to email a friend via your website or email application. If your form has a user-specified “from” address, the email can get blocked if a user enters a Gmail or Microsoft email address. Make sure you update this field on your website, application or mailing system so that “send to a friend” emails are delivered by “sender name” <message@yourdomain.com>.

There’s no better time than now

If you check and update your sender addresses today, you can snooze when everyone else is panicking in late 2016 when their deliverability tanks. (And we figure you will have earned a little downtime when 2016 winds up.)

Need to read more?

Here are some useful posts from our archive that will help you prepare for Gmail and Microsoft’s upcoming DMARC policy updates:

Open Rates: Who’s it from?
Make sure people know who you are
Using Yahoo! or AOL? Here’s why your emails aren’t hitting the inbox.
From address: is it ok to change it?

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Author Mireille Tessier

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