The 250ok Deliverability Guide

Email deliverability monitoring firm 250ok just released "the 250ok Deliverability Guide" and it provides a solid getting started point for the concepts behind deliverability, email authentication, sending reputation and best practices. It's a free download and you can find it here.

Apple Moves to "Quarantine" DMARC Policy

If you monitor these things, you might have noticed that Apple's consumer email domains (iCloud domains) -- mac.com, me.com and icloud.com -- have moved to a "p=quarantine" DMARC policy. This means that if you have an email address in these domains, your ability to send outbound mail using an email service provider or other, non-Apple email platform to send mail, deliverability won't look so good. Mail may not be blocked outright (Apple didn't move to "p=reject") but moving to "p=quarantine" means it's much more likely that your mail could end up in the spam folder.

What to do if you have a mac.com, me.com or icloud.com email address: Continue to send mail, but only from your proper email client on your Mac or iOS device.

What not to do: Don't try to use an ESP to send mail with a from address in the mac.com, me.com or icloud.com domains. It'll fail necessary authentication checks and Apple's DMARC policy will drive most ISPs to put your mail in the spam folder.

I think this is a good move for Apple and a good move for people who hate phishing and spoofing. Making it harder for bad guys to misuse your domains is a good thing.

Reference: OMG Domains List (Oath, Microsoft, Google)

Once called MAGY, we shall now call them OMG, because OMG, they have a lot of domains. Or alternately, more accurately, we shall refer to them as the OMG Domains they are Oath, Microsoft, and Google. Oath is the name of the company that now owns the email systems that used to be separately managed by Yahoo, AOL and Verizon. Microsoft offers consumer webmail via their "OLC" (Outlook Consumer) domains, which I tend to call Hotmail or Outlook.com. And let's not forget Google's very popular Gmail platform.

Need a list of all the consumer webmail domains for each of these providers? I've got you covered.

Dead email domain: tesco.net

Did you know that UK Retailer Tesco offered email service? Me neither, but I'm not their target demographic. I assume they did or do offer internet service and that the email service perhaps went along with that.

Anyway, as of June 27, 2018, the email service at tesco.net is no more. Users are advised that if they have set up email forwarding, it will continue to work until October 10, 2018. If users had not set up email forwarding before the shutdown on June 27, they are out of luck.

Tesco has published a FAQ that you can find here.

What should senders do? It sounds like there's a chance a few tesco.net users are still receiving mail by way of having it forwarded to some other address. If you want to try to keep in touch with as many of those people as possible, it might be wise to target tesco.net subscribers with a "please update your email address" campaign before October 10th. There is no way for senders to automatically know what the updated address for a tesco.net subscriber will be; the subscriber will have to choose to tell you.

After October 10th, it's time to stop sending mail to tesco.net, as that mail will not get through to any real people. And continuing to send to a dead domain can lead to you hitting spamtrap addresses, if they later repurpose the domain to become a spamtrap domain. Or if they let the domain lapse and somebody else picks it up.

H/T: Arnaud Clément-Bollée

The secret to disconnecting? Email does it better.

This Wall Street Journal article points out that "disconnecting" from your always-connected online life when you want to go on vacation would be a whole lot better if SMS had an "away" message feature (as they called it in AOL Instant Messenger and Internet Relay Chat), or as we like to call it in email land, an "out of office" reply. And they're right. And your old friend email has got you covered, better than those newer technologies do.

Google Hangouts? You can set a status message but nobody ever reads it. Apple Messages? No such feature. The WSJ author suggests a cumbersome workaround to try to allow you to respond to Apple Messages with a sort of half-manual "go away" reply macro, but it doesn't sound that great.

I never thought I'd say this, but here we are: When are we going to get "Out of office" replies for SMS? I want that.

To me, this is just another reminder that email is useful. Once upon a time I thought OOO email auto-replies were uncool, but this article got me thinking, and it reminds me that I've been neck-deep in the corporate world long enough to see the value in making sure that people know immediately that you're not going to be able to respond to their request in a timely manner.

Return Path launches Universal FBL

If you manage ISP Feedback Loop (FBL) subscriptions for a set of sending IP addresses, you'll like this.

Return Path just launched what they call a "Universal FBL," an ISP Feedback Loop signup and management process that encompasses almost every single ISP FBL known to humankind.

RP currently manages 18 different ISP Feedback Loops, from the looks of it. In the past, when you have a new range of sending IP addresses come live, you had to register that new range of IP addresses with each one of those FBL registration pages separately. No more! Now you can combine it all into one subscription, one configuration, so that when you have a new IP address range go live, it takes just a few minutes to add your new range to all 18 different feedback loops.

Read more about this here.

Note: This is something that ESPs and ISPs sign up for; this is not something that end users or individual marketing senders would typically sign up for. If you use an ESP to send your mail, work with that ESP to ensure that they've enrolled your IP addresses and domains into all possible ISP feedback loops.

Happy birthday, spam (the good kind)!

The news is so chock full of horrible stuff lately that you might be struggling to look for something positive to celebrate this Independence Day. I know I am. Spam to the rescue! America's favorite canned meat turns 82 years old just one day later, on July 5th. Read how it became an American cultural icon.