Google and Microsoft both plan to update their DMARC policies by the end of the month -- potentially dropping deliverability rates overnight for email marketers, according to email deliverability provider SendGrid.
Originally introduced in 2012, DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) is a regulation for email authentication that provides "proof" that an email is actually being sent from the domain name that claims to be sending it.
The authentication service helps prevent phishing and spoofing attacks by cybercriminals, but DMARC can also hinder the email marketing efforts of companies that do not comply with DMARC regulation. By not complying with DMARC, marketers are putting their email deliverability rates at risk because any message that is deemed unsafe will go to spam.
“When this goes into effect, marketers could see their deliverability rates drop overnight,” says Jacob Hansen, deliverability consultant at SendGrid, in a discussion of how the upcoming DMARC changes could affect email marketers with Email Marketing Daily.
Google and Microsoft will soon be embracing a p=reject DMARC policy, meaning that only Google can send email marketing messages from an @gmail address and only Microsoft can send email marketing messages from its suite of email applications, including Hotmail, outlook, live and MSN email accounts.
Once Microsoft and Google roll out their DMARC policies, any email being sent from one of those domains will likely be rejected.
Hansen says that marketers should double-check their email programs to ensure their email deliverability rates are not affected by the upcoming changes.
“The best practice is to use your own hosted domain,” says Hansen. “It's not just because of this flat reject policy, but personally, if I was a marketer I would only want my send emails from my own hosted domain that I control the reputation of -- and that I control what is sent from.”
Hansen recommends that marketers talk with their ESP or deliverability teams and check any type of email analytics available to make a list of all the email domain names in use.
It’s important for marketers to consider that limiting spam is actually in the best business interests of ESP providers that are themselves competing for a market share among consumers.
“It’s almost guilty until proven innocent,” says Hansen. “Their default is to send anything even remotely suspicious to spam.”
Google is the second most dominant email provider, with 16% of market share, according to a May study by email testing company Litmus. Google was second only to the Apple iPhone email client, with 33% of the market share.
Outlook.com has more than 400 million active users while Gmail has over a billion active users, according to both companies, meaning the upcoming changes to DMARC could have wide-felt repercussions.
“Smaller business are definitely going to be the ones most effected because they might not even know where to fix it,” says Hansen. “The email world moves fast and it doesn’t speak the same language as everything else. The more you control and are aware of, the better you’re always going to be off.”