There's good news in the world of emails, and it comes from Yahoo and Google. Both email providers have agreed that it's time to start enforcing new rules, rather than best practice guidance, to help protect you and me from unwanted emails.
These email giants are turning what was once considered 'best practice guidelines' for email authentication for senders into compulsory requirements. Senders who fail to comply with these guidelines will start to see their deliverability scores drop. This marks a huge milestone in email communication standards in the war against SPAM and improving email security.
So, why are Google and Yahoo setting new rules for email senders?
Did you know that in 2022, almost half of all emails were identified as SPAM? This is just one of many statistics that highlight the urgent necessity for stricter and heavily enforced email regulations. Gmail and Yahoo’s initiative is a step towards creating a more secure and SPAM-free emailing environment. And that, well, that is something that we will always support!
For email senders, this policy change sends a clear message. Adapt to the new regulations. But what are the key changes in the new regulations you will want to know about?
Applies to Bulk Senders
The first thing to take note of is that these rules should apply to senders with over 5,000 email sends in a day. Don’t worry, the emails from your mom, your boss, estate agent, or that tricky client should not be affected by the new rules. These new regulations are in place to protect email users from bulk senders, and therefore they are expected to be the most impacted by the changes.
Mandatory Unsubscribe links and One-Click options
While this has always been best practice and recommended for bulk senders, it has never been officially enforced. Going forward, if an email does not have an unsubscribe link and a one-click unsubscribe button, then it would be classified as non-compliant and risk being blocked or fast-tracked to your SPAM folder.
By email senders including both of these options, they are enabling recipients to easily opt out of unwanted communications. This both improves the recipient's experience and helps senders curate a more engaged and higher converting subscriber list. It’s a win-win all round.
What will these look like?
The One-Click unsubscribe button must be a visible, easily accessible unsubscribe link incorporated in the footer of any email. The link has to lead to a simple, one-step process for unsubscribing, providing live feedback to that sender’s mailing list.
The List-Unsubscribe RFC 8058 setting enables a recipient to unsubscribe from any mailing list directly from their email provider’s interface. These are generally found in the header of the email just like you can see below.
Find out more about Gmail’s unsubscribe button in our article which shares all the details.
The ability to easily unsubscribe will be game-changing for many email users, but if you are looking for an even simpler platform through which to manage your email subscriptions (and unsubscriptions), then a third-party service like Leave Me Alone can provide a simple dashboard for exactly this purpose.
Enforced SPAM rate thresholds
We are now going to start seeing enforced SPAM rate thresholds. That means that senders whose emails are achieving a SPAM rate of over 0.3% for both Gmail and Yahoo will be at risk of being blocked or marked as SPAM.
Email senders will have to react to these changes, adapting their email and communications strategy to ensure they are meeting their customer’s needs while remaining compliant in the new and more secure digital world.
Domain Authentication and Deliverability
Email senders have to correctly make changes to various technical settings to boost their ‘sender reputation’. This enhances their deliverability, reducing the likelihood of their email being blacklisted. What exactly does this mean though?
Email senders are having to review certain settings within their domain to authenticate themselves; these include their SPF, DKIM, and DMARC settings.
- SPF (Sender Policy Framework): This is an email authentication method that allows senders to define which IP addresses can send emails on behalf of their domain. Upon receiving an email, the recipient's server then checks the SPF record to confirm the email is coming from an approved server.
- DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): This adds an encrypted signature to the header of all emails outgoing from that sender. The signature is then checked by the recipient's server to authenticate that the email came from the intended sender and has not been interfered with during transit.
- DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance): This is the final step which builds on both DKIM and SPF security settings. DMARC enables domain owners to choose how unauthenticated emails from their domain are processed, as well as providing feedback on emails that fail their SPF or DKIM checks.
These upcoming changes in sending requirements from Google and Yahoo are a major step in the world of email security in the face of the war on SPAM and cluttered inboxes worldwide. It’s brilliant to see email giants guarding their email ecosystems so vigilantly. While this might take some time for businesses to adjust to, and therefore, you might notice some overly tight security in your inbox, as everyone makes the necessary changes, we’re moving closer to a sphere of safe emailing.
What will happen to emails from senders who have failed to meet the new standards?
- It is likely that if a sender’s email doesn’t meet the new requirements, then their message will be delivered into your SPAM folder.
When will these changes be implemented?
- The changes will start happening as of February 2024; however, there will be a slow introduction to allow for changes and feedback within the industry.
What do the changes mean to me?
- The main takeaway for any of us as email receivers is that our inboxes should, as of February 2024, become a more secure space. However, as senders adjust to the new rules, you might find some of your favorite emails hiding in your SPAM folder. The best thing to do if you spot this would be to whitelist these senders so your email provider recognizes that they are a safe sender for future communications.