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The new 2024 email sending requirements for Google and Yahoo are causing a lot of concern among email senders, but they needn’t. In fact, the odds are good that you are already doing everything that you need to, or, if you aren’t, you already know that you should be. The bottom line is that the general requirements are simply: Have proper authentication set up (SPF, DKIM, and DMARC – yes, all three), have the required one-click unsubscribe link in your headers in all of your bulk email, and keep your spam complaint rate down in the negligible zone (more on that later).
This is all really quite straightforward. It’s also worth noting that these requirements are for senders sending 5000 or more pieces of email to Gmail or Yahoo per day, and it’s even more worth noting that even if you send far less than that, you should still be doing these things, both for optimum deliverability, and because it’s the right thing to do (and the inbox providers want you to do it).
We’re going to point you in the right direction for each of these. The authentication and spam complaint rate are entirely on you. The unsubscribe header is largely on your ESP (email service provider) however it’s on you to make sure that they have it set up.
Have Proper Authentication (SPF, DKIM, and DMARC)
It’s very important to have all of SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) set up.
For more in-depth (but still plain English) information on each of these, start here:
Spam Complaint Rate
You may be hearing that Google and Yahoo (and others) want you to keep your complaint rate below .3% (3 complaints for every 1000 pieces of email sent). This is incorrect. Google, Yahoo, and the others want you to keep your complaint rate at or below .1% (1 out of 1000). The inaccurate .3% comes from people misreading where places like Google say that if you start approaching 3 complaints for every 1000 pieces of email sent, you are already in danger territory.
One-Click Unsubscribe Links and One-Click Unsubscribe Email Headers
By far the thing that is causing the most confusion is the requirement for unsubscribe headers. This is largely because Google has, in their document on the upcoming changes, used confusing language, referring to a requirement for “1-click unsubscribe”, which is usually a term applied to the unsubscribe link in the body of the email, and only casually mentioning that they are talking about list unsubscribe headers being required.
List unsubscribe headers, also referred to as RFC 8058 headers, are the one-click unsubscribe links in the email headers that allow inbox providers to display something like this:
Note: This does not mean that you can do away with the one-click unsubscribe link in the body of your email! That would be a spectacularly bad idea, as not all providers and email programs can take advantage of the list unsubscribe headers. Also, people are used to going directly to the bottom of an email to unsubscribe, and if they don’t find your unsubscribe link there they are likely to report your email as spam.
To get the info straight from the horse’s mouth at Yahoo, go to https://blog.postmaster.yahooinc.com
For Google’s info directly from Google, go to https://support.google.com/a/answer/14229414