2023/12/14 by Yves-Marie Le Pors-Chauvel.
Google & Yahoo’s February Bulk Email Policies: A Guide to Compliance
On October 3rd 2023, Google and Yahoo introduced new requirements to fight spam! This is a major change for the email industry, while, for the first time, two of the biggest Mailbox Providers announced commonly that they will apply the same restrictions to bulk senders.
Who is concerned about it?
For Gmail personal accounts (Gmail.com only and not Google Workspace accounts) and Yahoo accounts, these changes will be applied starting February 1st 2024 and Q1 2024, respectively. The new requirements will directly impact all bulk email senders, those who send more than 5.000 emails daily… A sender is not only one sending domain; it could also be related to a message sent by several sending domains so that it will impact all affiliate marketing senders!
What are the main changes?
If a sender is already applying the best practices, like M3AAWG BCP, there will be no change at all, but for the others, that's a different subject!
Here are the main changes:
- No Auth/No Entry: For months, mailbox providers have been asking for authentication without rejecting messages… The rule is changing and now messages have to present all email authentications:a. Valid SPF.
b. Valid DKIM. For security reasons, Google recommends using a 2048-bit key.
c. Valid DMARC with at least a policy at none. This means that at least SPF or DKIM domain has to be aligned with the From domain. Postmastery recommends a full alignment.
- Make Unsubscribe Easy Again: It was getting too complicated to unsubscribe from some bulk messages, now a message has to have all easy ways to unsubscribe:a. One-Click List-Unsubscribe header (applying RFC 8058)
b. A visible unsubscribe link in the email body.
c. Automatically unsubscribe recipients who have multiple bounced messages.
- Send Only To Engaged Users: For years, list engagement has been a real focus to deliver messages to Mailbox Providers such as Google and Yahoo, but now rules are getting crystal clear:a. Keep Spam Rate below 0.3%. This could be monitored through Google Postmaster Tool for Google and Yahoo CFL for Yahoo.
b. Make sure recipients opt in to get messages from you.
c. Confirm each recipient's email address before subscribing to them.
d. Consider unsubscribing recipients who don’t open or read your messages.
What will happen if you refuse to play by the rules?
If a sender does not play by these new rules:
- Starting in February '24, non-compliant messages will start to see temporary errors.
- Starting in April '24, non-compliant messages will start to be rejected permanently.
To ensure a good deliverability, there is no other alternative than applying the best practices!
When should a sender apply these new rules?
Google and Yahoo announced respectively that they will apply these new rules starting February 1st and Q1 2024, but they also announced that they recommend to any sender to start applying these rules as soon as possible.
What does it mean exactly? It means that Google and Yahoo are already calculating sender reputations based on these new rules. So, starting applying these new rules right now will help senders to have an optimised reputation on day 1.
Is it just a beginning?
Clearly no! There are so many elements we can't predict and so many questions we can’t answer:
- Are other mailbox providers going to apply the same rules?
- Is DMARC with a policy of 'none' going to 'always' be sufficient?
- Are these rules going to be applied to senders with less than 5.000 messages per day?
For that reason, Postmastery recommends to all senders apply the best practices!
How can a sender check if his messages are compliant?
You can check that your messages are compliant starting today by using Postmastery's Email Audit solution.