AOL, Yahoo! & Gmail’s DMARC validation changes impact email marketers

What you need to know

Starting a few years ago, and up until the last few months, there have been big DMARC validation changes out there in the email world, and we wanted to make sure you’re aware of what’s going on! Especially if you’re using either a gmail.com, yahoo.com, or aol.com email address as your newsletter from address, you’ll want to pay attention.

Many ISPs have been making a change to what is called their DMARC validation, in a super aggressive way. They have made this change to protect their users from growing domain abuse — none of which has to do with GoDaddy Email Marketing, or you!

What is DMARC Validation?

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance, or DMARC validation, is used by receiving inboxes. The DMARC record is checked when an email has a ‘from’ address that doesn’t match the actual sender server address.

When you send through GoDaddy Email Marketing, you are actually sending from our servers, even though you have the ability to set your own ‘from’ address. Those are two different items. One is the return path, or sender server address, which would be something like mailman@m1.gem.godaddy.com. The other is what shows to your recipients as the ‘from address’, and can be whatever you want.

Because those two addresses aren’t the same, the receiving inbox may check the DMARC validation.

How is DMARC Validation used when sending emails?

Normally, it’s totally fine to have your ‘from address’ field be different than the sending server return path. This is an absolutely appropriate way to send emails.

The inbox provider who receives your email might check to see if the sender server address and the ‘from address’ field match. But not always. Some inbox administrators check just the domain, and others don’t check the DMARC validation, at all.

Usually, even if the two address aren’t the same, the answer from the domain provider is “No problem!” — and your email delivers successfully.

What changes did Gmail, Yahoo! and AOL make to their DMARC Validation?

But now, Gmail, Yahoo! and AOL have implemented a change in their DMARC validation.

Now, when any inbox providers check, these free email services are telling them to reject all emails where the ‘from address’ field (your email address) and the sender server address (mailman@m1.gem.godaddy.com) don’t match. In technical terms, they have updated their “p” record in the DMARC validation to p=reject.

Word to the Wise published a fantastic, and in-depth article about DMARC validation, when Yahoo! made their change. And AOL has their own DMARC validation explanation, urging AOL users to send newsletters from their own domain-based email address. In SendGrid’s recent article about Gmail’s impending DMARC validation update, they suggest the same thing.

What can I do about this?

If you are currently using a Yahoo!, Gmail or AOL email address as your ‘from address’ in GoDaddy Email Marketing, you will get an error message. You simply need to use a different address for your ‘from address’. This will bypass the whole problem, and ensure your emails aren’t getting blocked because of these free email providers’ policies.

If you don’t have another email address handy, you still have options. Having your own domain-based email address is one of the best ways to look professional to your customers, and you’ll never be at the whim of the free email providers’ domain decisions. You can also set up email forwarding right to your current email address, to ease the transition to your new one.

Unfortunately, there isn’t anything that we can do about these policies, here at GoDaddy. This is an email and inbox provider decision, and they are changing to try and protect their users from abuse and fraud. The best solution for you is to create your own domain, and use your own domain-based email for a secure, professional image on the web.

A domain-based email that reflects your business sets the right tone. Get a professional email address today.

Image by: Janitors via Compfight cc

Dustin Jensen is a contributor to the former Mad Mimi blog, writing about email marketing for businesses and individuals. GoDaddy joined forces with Mad Mimi in 2014 to give small business owners, freelancers, moonlighters and more a simple, beautiful and powerful way to use email marketing to accomplish their goals. Want to email all your customers before your first cup of coffee? Check out GoDaddy Email Marketing.