Apr 9, 2014

Yahoo Changes May Affect Your Deliverability

Yahoo recently changed its authentication policy, and the change could impact delivery of emails that come from yahoo.com addresses. That means if you send a campaign and your From address is a personal address at yahoo.com, there’s an increased chance your emails will go to spam or bounce.

Why is this happening? In an attempt to stop fraudulent emails, Yahoo changed its DMARC authentication policy to reject emails that claim to come from yahoo.com but actually originate at non-Yahoo servers. For more information on the DMARC authentication protocol, check out this DMARC primer from Laura Atkins at Word to the Wise.

With this change, using a yahoo.com From address when sending through an email service provider like MailChimp will make the email look fraudulent, even if it’s not. And that could result in emails being rejected by the receiving server, or sent to spam. Even though Yahoo made this change internally on its side, it will affect receiving servers who respect DMARC policies, including Gmail, Hotmail, and many others.

So, what can you do? If you use a yahoo.com From address, check your reports—you might notice a recent dip in opens and clicks. No need to panic, though. A simple fix is to change the From address in your future campaigns. You can do this in the campaign builder as well as your list’s default settings.

Right now, using From addressees from other personal email providers, like Gmail or Hotmail, is still okay. But it’s possible these companies will make the same DMARC change in the future. The best solution is to use an email address at a private domain you control, like your-company.com. Email protocols allow custom From addresses, even if the email is not actually being sent from that domain.

Wondering if changing the From address will affect your sender reputation? Bonus points for being an astute email sender! Email receivers use a variety of factors to determine your sender reputation, which helps them deliver your email to the inbox or spam. One of those factors is, indeed, the From address. Changing the From address could have a temporary effect on your sender reputation—temporary because the email receivers will eventually figure out who you are. But if you send good emails to engaged lists, your sender reputation will quickly improve. (This is also an opportune time to prune your list of disengaged subscribers.)

This change will certainly be inconvenient for some senders, but Yahoo is well within their rights to make this change—it’ll ultimately benefit the entire email community by reducing fraud and spam. So, good on you, Yahoo. We’re all in favor of improving the email ecosystem. If you’re sending email campaigns from a Yahoo address, we recommend switching to your own domain or your company’s domain.

Update: If you use our Conversations feature, we recommend using a non-Yahoo email address in your user profile. Conversation replies sent with a yahoo.com email address may trigger the same delivery issues. You can quickly change your profile email in just a few steps.