Protect your reputation – and get better deliverability with DMARC

A common question we receive from marketers is “How do I get better deliverability?” We typically review a sender’s lists, offer and authentication setup to make sure the sender is sending the right offer to the right person using a valid email configuration (i.e. DKIM or SPF with the proper domain setup)

But what if your list is great, you’re sending out highly engaging email using the correct setup? One possible source of problems is what if a spammer is “spoofing” your email? Unbeknownst to you, a spammer could be forging your sender address and get a free ride on your reputation. Until very recently you’d have no idea how to find out if this is happening.

Fortunately, major senders like PayPal and major banks and receivers like Gmail, AOL and yahoo have collaborated to develop a specification called DMARC to combat this problem.

Basically – it’s a way to tell the recipient what to do with email that they receive that’s not aligned. You publish a policy on which authentication mechanism DKIM, SPF or both.

Examples are:

  • Mis-matched From and DKIM signature domains.
  • Use of sub-domain in signature or From without corresponding support in the DMARC record.

You have several choices to tell the recipient what do with misaligned email:

  • None – monitor – telling the recipient that you are not making a recommendation on what to do with any misaligned email. It’s best to start here and then gradually move to making recommendations
  • Quarantine – tells the receiver to treat the email with suspicion
  • Reject – tells the receiver to not accept any email that doesn’t pass alignment

Why wouldn’t you consider automatically telling recipients to reject non-aligned email? Keep in mind that you may be a larger organization that sends a variety of email – corporate, marketing or transactional. Plus you may have a variety of users sending out different versions – legitimately of each type of email. It’s best to get reports on the failures sent back to you so you can fix alignment. Participating receivers send back:

  • Source IP – the IP sending the email
  • Count – how many of each version received
  • Disposition – what the recipient did with the email
  • SPF – pass or fail
  • DKIM – pass or fail
  • Header from: ie. example.org

Besides getting great information on your email that’s sent another major benefit is that you’ll see enhanced email deliverability. Gmail, for example, states that email that’s not authenticated are likely to be placed in the junk folder. They recommend publishing a DMARC policy. For more detailed information check out our DMARC support article.