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Bulk email industry standards and best practices

The key mission of Yahoo Mail is to deliver messages that people want to receive and filter out the messages they don't. The easiest way to make sure your messages are delivered is to avoid looking like a spammer.

Follow these best practices and tips to help your mailings reach their intended Yahoo Mail audience.

Mailing list management

Perform list management tasks frequently

  • Monitor hard and soft bounces as well as inactive recipients. Persistent emails to these addresses will get your connections deferred.
  • Consider sending a reconfirmation email to inactive subscribers periodically. Or just remove them entirely.
  • Sending email to users who are not reading them, or who mark them as "spam," will hurt your delivery metrics and reputation.

Send email only to those who want it

  • Use and honor an opt-in method of subscription for your mailing list. Make sure subscribers have actively verified their intent to receive your mailings.
  • Honor the frequency of the list's intent. Don't start sending daily emails to subscribers of your monthly mailing.
  • Honor unsubscribe requests quickly.

Review email content for common characteristics of spam

  • Test your emails' visual look with image placeholders. Many users won't see images in your email by default.
  • Link to domains, not IP addresses.
  • Use standard ports.
  • Don't include: HTML forms, JavaScript, or embedded objects (like flash or ActiveX.)

Server side configuration

Separate your mail streams by IP address and domain

Have separate IPs and streams depending on your email content type. 

  • Shared email services can have multiple domains using one IP to send email. 
  • If the same IPs are sending unsolicited commercial email, and your presumably valid email, then your reputation can be impacted. 

Secure your mail servers

  • Update your software with the latest security patches.
  • Filter user-generated content before sending it, to prevent spammers from using your resources.
  • If your servers act as "open proxies" or "relays," spammers may attempt to send their own mail from your systems.

Bulk mail authentication best practices

Review SMTP reply codes often

If your messages are being blocked, look closely at any SMTP error codes our mail servers are returning and make sure you're addressing the problem:

  • Don't retry 5xx messages.
  • Retry 4xx messages - This is a temporary error.
  • Enroll in our feedback loop - If you're signing your emails with DKIM or DomainKeys, our Complaint Feedback Loop program can help you track and manage your spam complaint rates.

Always make sure your emails include DKIM authenticated signatures

  • Check if you're DKIM signing the email. DKIM signature helps Yahoo authenticate that email is safe, secure and from the senders who claim to send it.
  • Not being DKIM signed makes your emails appear to be sent by a spammer.
  • See DKIM.org for information about DKIM.

Publish reverse DNS (PTR) records for your sending IPs

Yahoo is more likely to downgrade an IP’s sending reputation if:

  • There's no reverse DNS entry for your IP address.
  • Your mailing IP looks like a dynamically-assigned IP instead of a static mail server.

Be CAN-SPAM and DMARC compliant

  • Regardless of where in the world you're sending your mail, make sure you adhere to the requirements stipulated by the CAN-SPAM Act.
  • Invalid DMARC records can cause problems if you're sending from non-compliant bulk mailing services. 

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