Gmail to Support Responsive Design + More

Litmus recently shared news that is sure to make email designers light up with glee: "On August 31, 2016, Gmail began supporting the CSS property display: none;. And today, Gmail announced they will begin supporting <style> and media queries later this month." Read all about it here.

Ken Magill: Time to switch to COI/DOI

Industry reporter Ken Magill has changed his mind. Long advocating against required double opt-in, he has now come around and suggests that it is time to implement it. Read more over at Magill Report.

Subscription Mailbombing: Must Read

SendGrid's Paul Kincaid-Smith's has a post up this morning about the "tsunami of unwanted email" generated by the bad guys out there using botnets to subscription bomb (aka harass) people and why you should secure subscription signup forms.

The bad news is, this abuse causes problems for otherwise good email senders. You didn't cause it, but you'll get caught up in it, if you don't take precautions. If you have an email signup form out there in the wild, it's time to add a bit of security to it to prevent the pain you'll run into if and when you get Spamhaus blacklisted because your signup page got abused.

TL;DR? If you have an email signup form, you need to enable COI/DOI (double opt-in) and also add a CAPTCHA-like process (reCAPTCHA is recommended), or else when the botnet bad guys get to you, they're going to sign lots of people up to your lists who don't want to be there, and pain is sure to follow.

Gmail providing easy-to-read Auth Results


This is pretty slick. When is the last time you selected "View Source" in Gmail to look at the raw headers and body content of an email message? As of a couple of days ago, Google has added some nice new info to this feature, showing an easy-to-understand summary of authentication results. In this example, it's highlighting that SPF, DKIM and DMARC are all working correctly.

This is all info you could find by looking through the email headers. But it's nice to see it called out in this way; it saves some digging and gives you a very clear understanding of how the Gmail platform sees the message.

List Unsubscribe in Apple's iOS 10

As I mentioned before, Apple has provided support for the "list-unsubscribe" header in the built-in mail client on the latest version of their mobile platform, iOS 10. Now that iOS 10 has been released to the world, I've reviewed how this process works and put together what I think you need to know.

Doing the Math on Purchased Lists

Back in 2014, MailChimp published data showing what happens when you mail to purchased lists. Though it is now a couple of years old, it's still solid research and quite relevant today.

Bye bye, SmartScreen

Microsoft recently announced that on November 1, 2016, they will stop generating updates for Microsoft Exchange's "SmartScreen" spam filters used in Microsoft Exchange Server and the Outlook (Windows) desktop client. Read more about it here.

What does this mean? This is probably a good thing. These were primarily content-related filters and content filtering isn't really "where it's at" when it comes to best practices with regard to spam filtering nowadays. I believe that this ultimately will drive users to newer solutions that are probably going to be more focused on sending reputation, meaning that us deliverability and email technology-related folks will eventually no longer have to deal with Outlook desktop client spam folder issues, which were often a confusing outlier when reviewing email deliverability results.

Click here to read more on this topic, from Laura Atkins of Word to the Wise.

Deliverability Problems: What You Can't Fix


If you're having deliverability issues, I can tell you from my experience that you aren't really going to be able to get back to the inbox if any of the following types of subscriber list sources are in play:

7 Common Deliverability Myths Busted

Kayla Lewkowicz of Litmus breaks it down: Seven common deliverability-related assumptions that just aren't true. She explains whether or not it's OK to use FREE in a subject line, or is Yahoo to blame when Yahoo blocks your mail, and provides even more solid explanations on how things actually work over here in deliverability-land. Great post!

Dead email domain: facebook.com

A representative of Facebook confirmed for me that the email service handling mail for facebook.com email addresses is no more. PC Mag had previously shared that FB was warning users back in April that this was coming.

Thus, it is now safe to block, reject, unsubscribe or otherwise filter out all mail to the facebook.com domain. I have no clue what they'll do with it in the future, but if it was me, I'd let it bounce for a while, then turn it into a spam trap domain, feeding spam filters or blacklists. If they have the same idea, you'll definitely want to stay away.

Do you need COI/DOI? Probably.

In case you've been living under a rock, or you've been lucky enough to not be affected, here's the deal: Some bad guys, probably Russian or Eastern European, have decided to mail-bomb unsuspecting folks by signing them up for many hundreds or thousands of mailing lists. The bad guys built a tool that either searches for or has a list of signup forms at many hundreds or thousands of websites. The bad guys then submit many email addresses to those forms.

The net result is, if you're on the wrong end of this attack, your mailbox gets filled up with a bajillion newsletters. Some from big brands. Some from small brands. Some from companies you've heard of. Some from non-profits you've never heard of.

Yahoo: Deferring Inbound Connections Today

Since about 6:00 am eastern this morning, Thursday, August 25, Yahoo has been deferring delivery attempts from almost everyone ESP or mail platform I'm hearing from. My guess is that there's a spam filter update issue or system capacity issue over at Yahoo. As far as we can see, almost all inbound mail is affected. Inbound connections are timing out, or giving unexpected TS01 errors, or giving "temporarily deferred" errors.

Stay tuned, I'm sure the good folks at Yahoo are on it and will address the issue as soon as possible.

Where do I get a new IP address?

Someone asked me the other day, where can they get a new IP address? Their current IP address is "blacklisted" at Yahoo and Hotmail, I was told. It's easy enough to get a new domain name, but what about the IP address?

They let me know that their deliverability was suffering and that getting this fixed was very important to them.

I had to ask, though, why do they think the new IP address wouldn't have deliverability issues? Deliverability issues are reactive. Something has to have happened to make the ISP take a dim view of your mail, of your IP address. You don't just get blacklisted because your IP address contains a "7" in it. Something has to change in your sending or list hygiene practices. Are you engaging in email append? Are you buying lists? Are you sending to very old data?

Until you figure out what's causing the "blacklisting" and actually fix that, don't expect a new IP address to just magically fix everything. What will happen is, you'll try to warm that IP address up, it'll seem to go okay for perhaps a few weeks, but then you'll start to see the same issues on the new IP address that you saw on the old IP address.

It's kind of like changing your shirt because it's got blood on it. If you've got a bloody wound, changing your shirt doesn't actually close the wound.

Gmail now requiring SPF or DKIM

Google just announced that if a message received at Gmail cannot be authenticated by way of either DKIM or SPF, the user interface is going to show a question mark in place of the sender's avatar or logo. Click here to learn more.

Yahoo, AOL to both be owned by Verizon

Verizon announced today that they are buying (most of) Yahoo for 4.8 billion dollars in cash. Back in 2015, they purchased AOL for 4.4 billion dollars. This means that three different email receiving platforms are now owned by one entity: Verizon. It's hard to saay what becomes of the Verizon, AOL and Yahoo! Mail platforms in the future. Since purchasing AOL, Verizon seemed to continue to invest in the AOL mail platform, and some Verizon email users were transitioned to AOL infrastructure. But now that Verizon will own both the AOL and Yahoo! Mail email platforms, both of which I suspect are pretty robust, there could be some internal competition regarding which email platform ends up being the primary one used across all users. Or would they keep both the AOL and Yahoo! Mail platforms running separately? We will see.

TL;DR? Verizon now owns both Yahoo and AOL. Future impact to senders unknown, sit back and stay tuned.

Edited to add: Here's another take on how the consolidation of the two platforms could go, courtesy of Litmus's Chad White.

Spamcop: Declines to send reports to ESPs

If you work the abuse desk for an email service provider, you've undoubtably gotten spam reports from angry Spamcop users who think that your ESP, your employer, is "refusing" Spamcop reports.

Steve's Co-Reg Inbox Saga

Periodically I create a virgin Gmail account and sign it up for something, to see what other kind of stuff might end up in the inbox. On February 22, 2010, I clicked on a single "free ipad" co-reg marketing ad, and left the checkboxes checked. I watched the mail coming in for a while, but then forgot about it.

Wired on Email Reputation

Word to the Wise's Laura Atkins is quoted in this article from Wired, "Mailchimp Sends a Billion Email a Day. That's the Easy Part." It's not a bad primer on Email Reputation 101, and why you can't just shovel spam at ISPs and except them to take it.

Author Klint Finley explains: "What many people don’t realize is that today’s spam filters don’t just scan an email for questionable keywords, like references to pharmaceutical products or porn. Nor do they look merely at the email address of the sender. Crucially, they also look at the servers sending the email. Most of today’s biggest email services, such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Outlook.com, use reputation scoring to rank the likely spamminess of a server that’s sending an email. Think of it as a sort of credit rating for email senders."

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