Best practices for bulk mail senders and postmasters when sending to Yahoo/gmail
DescriptionThis article provides general guidelines for postmasters who plan to send email to Yahoo/gmail customers.
ResolutionThe mission of any ESP is to deliver messages that users want to receive, and filter out messages they don't want. The simplest way to ensure that your messages are delivered, then, is to avoid looking like a spammer. Below are a few suggestions on how to do so.
Send email only to those that want it. Spammers write to many people who don't want their mail, so our anti-spam filters are designed to identify that behavior. To avoid being perceived as a spammer, use an opt-in method of subscription for your mailing list. Better yet, utilize a confirmed opt-in process where subscribers actively verify their intent to receive your mailings by clicking on a confirmation email before being added to your list.
Use email authentication such as DKIM. This will help us identify that the email is legitimately from you and, if you sign all your email, it will help us identify forgeries, too. In addition, using dedicated domains for different mail streams (e.g., transactional messages vs. marketing emails) is also a recommended practice. DKIM.org is a good resource for information about DKIM.
Segregate your mail streams by IP addresses and/or domains since Yahoo! Mail keeps reputation data about each IP address and domain you send from. For example, by segmenting the mail stream that delivers marketing mail from another that sends transactional messages, you make it easier for Yahoo! Mail to determine and assign each mail stream's reputation.
Consistently manage your lists by paying attention to hard and soft bounces as well as inactive recipients. Persistent emails to these addresses are a surefire way to get your connections deferred. If your messages are being blocked, look closely at any SMTP Reply Codes our mail servers are returning to you and be sure you're addressing the problem.
- Don't retry 5xx messages. If we reject a message with a 5xx error, we will not accept it anytime soon. Retrying the message wastes both our resources and makes you appear to have a dirty list.
- Do retry 4xx messages. If we send a 4xx error, this is a temporary error and we encourage you to try sending the message at a later time.
- Do refresh your list periodically. Consider removing or sending a reconfirmation email to inactive subscribers, i.e., users who have not opened or clicked on your emails for a period of time. Sending your mail to users who are not reading them, or who may even mark them as "spam," will almost certainly hurt your delivery metrics and reputation.
Respect the user's mailbox
- If a customer entrusts an email address to you during a transaction or for a particular newsletter, they do not expect to receive unrelated messages, such as extraneous marketing emails, in the process. Adding email addresses to other lists without their explicit opt-in is a guaranteed way to lose a customer's trust.
- Honor the frequency of the list's intent. If customers believe they are signing up for a monthly newsletter but they start receiving messages on a weekly basis, such a practice will likely prompt users to label your messages as spam.
Pay attention to your email's content
- Test your email's look and feel with image placeholders. Many users won't see images in your email by default.
- Link to domains, not IP addresses. The Yahoo! Mail client warns users that IP address links are dangerous.
- Use standard ports. The Yahoo! Mail client warns users that links containing ports are dangerous.
- Don't include HTML forms in emails. The Yahoo! Mail client warns users that submitting forms in email can be dangerous.
- Don't include embedded objects in emails (like flash or ActiveX). The objects are stripped and will not run.
Be CAN-SPAM compliant. Regardless of where in the world you're sending your mail, make sure that you adhere to the requirements stipulated by the CAN-SPAM Act.
Publish reverse DNS (PTR) records for your sending IPs. If there is no reverse DNS entry for your IP address, or if it looks like a dynamically-assigned IP instead of a static mail server, Yahoo! is more likely to downgrade its sending reputation.
Secure your mail servers. Ensure your mail servers are not open to abuse. If your servers act as "open proxies" or "relays," spammers may attempt to send their own mail from your systems. Keep your software up to date with the latest security patches, and always filter user-generated content before sending it out, to help prevent spammers from using your resources and tarnishing your reputation.
Use common-sense settings. While we have not published guidelines for numbers of connections you can concurrently use, we ask that you treat our resources with respect. The more you take, the fewer there are for others, which may force us to defer your connections.
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