A recent change by Yahoo has some email marketers exclaiming some choice four letter words, rather than the cheery one for which the company was named. You see, an update to Yahoo’s authentication policy may effect the delivery of emails that come from yahoo.com addresses. So, if the From address is from your personal address at yahoo.com (YourName@yahoo.com or YourCompanyName@yahoo.com), it is likely that your email campaigns will bounce or be marked as spam. Yahoo made this adjustment to its DMARC authentication policy to try and impede spam. We’re telling you this, because it’s something you should be aware of as an email marketer. However, if you’ve been following best practices you should be in the clear. You see, we’ve long been advocates of sending from a business domain address (YourName@YourCompany.com). It gives more credibility to your email campaigns. Anyone can create a personal account on Yahoo or any other free service like Gmail, Hotmail, etc. Sending from an address that matches your company’s website adds a layer of trust to your marketing efforts. So, if you’re not already sending from an email address attached to your company’s website it’s probably a good time to start. Especially because this may only be the start. If other personal email service providers such as Hotmail or Gmail go the way of Yahoo, it could further effect your email campaign’s deliverability. No need to panic. These Yahoo changes may seem scary or drastic, but it’s a simple fix. Especially when it’s a change for the better. Your email campaigns will be sent from a more trusted address and Yahoo is doing their part in reducing spam. With best practices in mind, everybody is a winner.
Following in the footsteps of another email giant Hotmail (now Outlook), Yahoo has begun a campaign of recycling their email addresses. Although it does make sense that any email account that has not been used for a full year has likely been permanently abandoned, the policy announcement has sparked flame wars across the internets and serious concerns for email marketers everywhere. Gird yourself for a huge hard bounce rate jump The way that Yahoo is implementing its turnover of email addresses could create a serious problem for email marketers as a huge number of them will start hard bouncing on July 15 and will continue to do so for one month until by mid-August those addresses will be transferred to someone else. Therefore any email marketer could see a considerable jump in their bounce rates as Yahoo email addresses which they may have previously believed were still active but the customer was simply not responding will now be boing-boinging at an alarming rate. Given that one of the primary distinguishing characteristics of proper email marketing practice is to keep the hard bounce rate to fractions of one percent Yahoo’s unilateral decision will cause much consternation among marketers, email service providers and internet service providers. Skip bounce month and you’ll be mailing to someone else An even greater problem will be faced by infrequent mailers. If you send out a bi-monthly newsletter you very well might miss that entire “bounce month” and find that your newsletter will now be received by a completely different person who might even be in another country! That individual is almost certain to dump it into their Spam folder and your email reputation will take a hit… and it could well be a serious one. If you are one of the low frequency marketing crowd, you have to make a priority to email every single one of your Yahoo subscribers during “bounce month” and meticulously delete every bounced address to keep Yahoo email users who may have never heard of you from getting your newsletters. A gift to criminals of your entire identity The current best practice across email services in recycling addresses used as spamtraps calls for the bounce period to be set at no less than a year. For a major email address provider such as Yahoo to set the bounce period to just one month is being seen by many email marketers as far too short of a period which will create significant problems as completely new users take over older email addresses. However, one of the most widely criticized aspect of this quick turnover recycling program is that it will make it very easy for criminals to take over the identity of a previous user. Once they have the email address it’s a simple task to google the user’s previous online activity linked to that account and that could lead right to their social media pages where millions of people unwisely identify themselves with extensive personal information. Then the process of identity theft becomes a walk in Yahoo Park. Reset passwords through your old email & they have your accounts To take the problem of identity theft even further, most secure websites allow password resets as long as the user can confirm through the registered email address that they have received the confirmation email. So when a criminal has your old email address (which you have negligently not changed… and millions will be just as negligent) all they need to do is to reset the password, confirm with a reply email, and they are into your accounts: financial, utility, retailers, government, forums, and just about everywhere else. They now, for all intents and purposes, have become the online you and can proceed to commandeer just about everything you do on the net. Yahoo has moved with alarming alacrity through this email address recycling program and although the company swears that they have placed powerful security measures in place to avoid the worst of the problems, the bottom line remains that email marketers are in for a bout of hard bounces and spam reports through no fault of their own whatsoever.
In the beginning, the internet sprung fully formed from the head of Tim Berners-Lee… or at least that’s the urban myth. The reality is quite a bit different than the cyber-mythology, as the roots of today’s net harken back to the creation of ARPANET back in the late Sixties. It was not exactly a mature technology back then, as the first word to be transmitted was to be “login,” but the entire network crashed after “lo.” As the abilities of system engineers evolved, by the late Seventies there was a bona fide global connection, albeit not exactly the web as we know it today. It did take another decade for Berners-Lee to marry hypertext with TCP and domain names to create the actual world wide web, which its creator expected to be a way for educational, government and military institutions to exchange information. It can be confidently stated that The Tim did not foresee the gaming, porn, media and merchandising that has become the core of the internet in the 21st century. Legislators Trying to Rein in Pandora’s Box It can also be confidently stated that the web opened Pandora’s box and let all the evils loose on the world that legislators are now trying to rein back in. So far the web has thumbed its collective nose at any and all attempts to regulate it. When you have billions of people sharing copyrighted content of one form or another it’s a bit difficult to jail them all. That reality is not stopping both the US House and Senate from crafting their own bills that aim to choke off the websites that are providing the infringing media, such as music, books, movies and television programs. Which Side of Niagara Falls Are You On? Under the various proposed legislation, the Justice Department could seek court orders forcing ISPs in the country to stop rendering DNS for violating websites. That would mean that if you were in Niagara Falls, Ontario you could reach the particular website as usual, but if you were in Niagara Falls, New York, you’d get nothing. The NetCoalition, which includes Google and Yahoo, has called the legislation a “morass of legal and regulatory uncertainty which will compromise this vital sector of economic growth.” The Great Firewall of the USA If the Great Firewall of China is regularly circumvented via inventive proxyisms, these new laws will do little to stop a dedicated, technically savvy user from reaching any website they want to see, no matter how restricted. One of the easiest ways is not to type in the domain name but the actual IP address of a site, but the legislation seems to indicate that anyone who posts information on how to do that could face action by the Attorney General. In which case there is little choice but to inform the reader to kindly disregard the previous sentence! Leper’s Blacklist of Websites There are also provisions in the bills to cut off the financial lifeblood of the offending websites by prohibiting credit card companies, payment processors, online ad services and other income channelers from providing services to them. These acts would in essence create a leper’s blacklist of websites that no legitimate business in the United States could interact with, under severe penalty of law. The USA is not the world, however, and many of the infringing websites today already operate well offshore of American soil, mostly in jurisdictions where they are nearly impossible for US law to reach. Surprisingly, many of these sites are not located in the lawless, anarchic countries like Somalia but in developed countries with state of the art infrastructures whose enforcement efforts are non-existent. Eztv.it is a primary source of pirated American television programming, and although it’s in the European Union, which has the severest copyright regulations on Earth, it’s also in Italy, where enforcement is shrugged off by a government in perpetual crisis. Should these bills pass into law, American web users could find an internet very different from today’s. However, the jury is out on whether it would be an overall positive or a negative change.
I must be getting old. I went from my usual pop culture references to dad jokes in this weekly wrap. I even make a “This Land Is Your Land” reference. What is happening? Designing Email Templates for Men and Women I started to write a “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” joke here, but then I realized it wasn’t ten years ago and it probably wasn’t going to be funny (or maybe that’s just my excuse for not coming up with a good enough joke). Gender is a good factor to take into account when segmenting your email campaigns. Learn about Designing Email Templates for Men and Women. Email Personalization? Only if You Know Me, Please It sounds to me like Paul is starting to notice that Big Brother is watching and he doesn’t necessarily like it. Oh yeah. That was a 1984 reference (not the outdated TV show). I swear I’ll work in a more current reference soon. Until then find out what had Paul saying, Email Personalization? Only if You Know Me, Please. The State of Email on Its 50th Anniversary in 2015 You may say, how can Hal possibly know what it’s going to be like in 2015? If you frequently read Hal’s posts on our blog, you would know it’s entirely possible that he has these capabilities. He never ceases to amaze us with his knowledge and wit. I’m saying he might be able to see the future. You don’t need any other reason to read about The State of Email on Its 50th Anniversary in 2015. Support Update: What Is the Benchmark Free Edition? We’re telling you there’s a free edition of Benchmark Email. Do I even need to say something witty to get you to read about it? Check out Michelle’s latest Support Update: What Is the Benchmark Free Edition? How Small Businesses Can Attract Quality Recruits A friend was just telling me that her roommate has Rubik’s Cube Expert listed on their resume. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that would qualify as a quality recruit in your book. Children’s toy experts aside, find out How Small Businesses Can Attract Quality Recruits. Telltale Games Hires Knotice: Video Games and Email Marketing True story: I almost failed out of college my freshman year due to excessive playing of Halo. So you could imagine my excitement when I read a headline involving video games. For all my fellow video game nerds, check out Telltale Games Hires Knotice: Video Games and Email Marketing. Walgreens’ Autoresponder Campaign Has My Order Backwards I was very proud of my internet prowess the other day, until Walgreens almost had me pulling my hair out. Thankfully, the end result was not bald Andy. I would end up getting my autographed photo of Earth, Wind and Fire, but not before Walgreens’ Autoresponder Campaign Had My Order Backwards. Encourage Your Patrons to Share Your Restaurant Email Content You might drink too much tequila if you see the word patron in the context of a restaurant and don’t think of customers. It doesn’t even make sense as the tequila when you make it plural. Nevertheless...that just happened. While I hang my head in shame, find out how to Encourage Your Patrons to Share Your Restaurant Email Content. Yahoo Mail’s New Ad Targeting Software Puts the User in Control Sometimes you can hear a word a thousand times and never think twice about it, but then you really look at it and it just seems so weird. Yahoo is one of those words for me. My apologies if you waste the next 20 minutes of your life staring at the word Yahoo. When you get done with that, see how Yahoo Mail’s New Ad Targeting Software Puts the User in Control. New Event Marketing Manual from Benchmark Email! This land was made for you and me and, according to Pierce in this article, email marketing was made for event planning. I guess I missed that part of the song. It must be true though. Pierce hasn’t ever given me a reason to doubt him. Check out the New Event Marketing Manual from Benchmark Email!