Only a few months remain till the strict Gmail DMARC policy comes into force. From June, 2016 Google will start to apply the Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance standard to reduce email fraud. It will affect not only malignant spammers but all email marketers who use Gmail addresses for sending bulk emails.

The issue: bulk email campaigns will not be delivered to many of your email subscribers.

It is relevant for you if you send bulk email campaigns using any email marketing software (Soundest, Mailchimp, Constant Contact or any other) but still use a @gmail.com, @aol.com, @yahoo.com or any other Yahoo email address as a FROM email address (a.k.a. sender’s email address).

Continue reading to find out the solution to this problem.

What is the DMARC policy?

Gmail joins Yahoo and AOL by implementing the strict DMARC policy. It has been developed in order to defend email users from a large amount of spam and phishing messages. Applying this policy means that emails from @gmail.com, @aol.com and @yahoo.com (the entire list of domains is available here) can be sent using only their original servers. If you send bulk email campaigns with any 3rd party email marketing software and use a Yahoo, Gmail or AOL email address as the sender’s email address (a.k.a. FROM email), your emails will be rejected (hard bounce). Why? Because the emails you sent were from servers of your email marketing software instead of from a Google, Yahoo or AOL server. This problem applies to all 3rd party email marketing software (not only Soundest).

How will it affect email marketers?

A strict DMARC policy is good for all email users (recipients). On the other hand, email marketers who still use their @yahoo.com (or any other Yahoo domain), @aol.com and @gmail.com (from June, 2016) email addresses for marketing purposes will not pass the DMARC authentication and their email deliverability will drop tremendously. A lot of emails will either bounce or get sent to quarantine. As a result, email marketing campaigns will be much less effective and generate less revenue.

What is the solution for email marketers?

The solution to continue with successful email marketing campaigns is to start sending email campaigns from your own domain, e.g. @myshop.com

How and where you should get one depends on many factors: whether you already have the website domain, whether the ecommerce platform you use provides email hosting or not, etc. We have already covered these topics in the following blog posts:

Shopify Email Setup: 2 Options To Get The Job Done
3 tips for Bigcommerce email marketing beginners

Also, keep in mind that:

  • Your domain has to have a mail exchanger (MX) record. This is a record that “specifies a mail server responsible for accepting email messages on behalf of a recipient’s domain, and a preference value used to prioritize mail delivery if multiple mail servers are available”- Wikipedia. Each email hosting service has tutorials about how to get this record. Here is how you can get one on Google Apps.
  • Domain age matters. New domains are regarded with suspicion as spammers often switch domains. Avoid using a domain for email campaigns if it is younger than 60-90 days. The longer it is active, the greater its credibility and online reputation will be. This directly affects the email delivery. So you should buy a new domain now and start sending from it after 2 months.
  • Be cautious with your new domain. If your database has up to 3000 contacts and you email them several times a week, gradual changing domain is not so relevant to you. If your database is larger than 3000 contacts, do not send emails to all subscribers at once. You should move gradually from the old to the new domain – divide your database into parts and use both the old and new domains. The migration should be finalized in three – four weeks. Why is it important? Spammers usually tend to buy new domains and blast their mailing lists with a lot of emails. When a domain’s reputation is damaged, they buy a new one and continue blasting out large volumes of emails. By gradually increasing your sending volume you will not be suspected of being a spammer.

Creating a professional email address will serve both purposes – email deliverability as well as marketing and credibility in front of your customers. If today it is still “nice to have”, in June, 2016, it will become a “must have” to keep your email marketing fit and healthy.

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Karolina Jasvinaitė Petraškienė

is a digital communicator, content marketer and email enthusiast at Soundest. Follow on Twitter.