What is the new Google/Yahoo anti-spam upgrade?
Google and Yahoo are aiming to improve security and reduce the amount of spam received by their users by upgrading their defence system, in what they are calling “one of the largest defence upgrades in recent years”. This upgrade uses AI to detect and flag spammy emails, which would have otherwise gotten past Gmail’s defences. This update, starting in 2024, will require that bulk senders authenticate their emails, make it easy to unsubscribe and must stay under the reported spam threshold.
When does the new Google/Yahoo anti-spam upgrade come into effect?
For Google, the new rules will come into effect February 2024. Yahoo has not given an exact date, but has said it will be in Q1 2024. At this time it is only Google and Yahoo, however it is anticipated that all other email providers will follow shortly.
What is considered a “Bulk Sender”?
A bulk sender is anyone who sends out 5000 or more commercial emails per day to Google or Yahoo network. This includes personal gmail accounts, not Google Workspace accounts, however it is expected that by the end of 2024, bulk sender guidelines will apply to all emails being sent. That said, it has not been made clear by Google and the messaging is conflicting as to what is considered a Gmail account.
This daily threshold considers all emails coming from an entire organization, regardless of the platform used to send them or the type of messaging. This includes:
- Marketing emails – like newsletters or event invites
- Automatic messages – like password reset emails or thank you messages
- Operational emails – like invoices or product updates
This threshold includes any emails being sent to anyone, including prospects, current customers or partners.
What are the repercussions for non-compliance?
Starting February 1st 2024 Google will block all messages coming from bulk-sending organizations with an abuse complaint rate (or spam rate) of 0.3% or higher. Once blocked, it can take weeks to be unblocked again, and includes fixing the problems that caused a block in the first place and contacting Gmail Help.
What is an Abuse Complaint Rate?
The abuse complaint rate is the percentage of emails marked as spam vs the number of emails sent to active users. In the past, senders were able to manipulate their complaint rate percentage by sending a high volume of emails to addresses that do not exist. This practice will no longer impact spam rates, and may even negatively impact email deliverability rates.
How to comply with the new Anti-Spam Regulations
Google and Yahoo are highlighting 3 key actions in order to be seen as a legitimate sender.
1. Authentication – Senders must authenticate emails to verify the sender identity. Set up DKIM to protect your domain against spoofing, and prevent messages from being flagged as spam. Spoofing is an email attack that uses the From address, which appears to be from the impersonated organization or domain.
2. Easy unsubscribe – It will be required to include an unsubscribe link in all emails to allow the recipient to unsubscribe with one click, and must be processed within 2 days.
3. Abuse rate threshold – Senders must stay under the abuse rate threshold. An organization’s sending reputation can be managed for the Google Network using Google Postmaster.
Learn more: Get started with Postmaster Tools
Bulk sending readiness checklist
- Keep data clean and sending lists up to date
- Ensure SPF/DKIM/DMARC are set up correctly
- Monitor abuse/spam complaint rates
- Monitor bounce rates
- Include unsubscribe links on all outgoing emails
- Implement mailing limits and daily sender thresholds to limit the number of emails a recipient can receive in a given time frame
These exercises should be considered basic email best practices and good sender hygiene. Most legitimate senders already meet most of these requirements, and won’t be impacted by the changes.
Think you might need help improving your system and ensuring compliance with the new regulations? Get in touch! We’d be happy to work with you.