Amazon SES Blog

Yahoo changed. Should you?

by Nick Hristov | on | Permalink | Comments |  Share

Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine. Or so says Robert C. Gallagher. I personally strongly agree with him, especially regarding the email industry. Lately we’ve been hearing about changes mailbox providers are making that challenge us to rethink the way we send email.

Here is the latest one: Yahoo.com changed their Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) policy to encourage receivers to reject all mail that doesn’t originate from Yahoo’s own servers. As a quick refresher: DMARC policies enable senders to instruct receivers how to treat their email (identified by their sending domain) if the email is not properly authenticated. If you are using an email service provider (ESP) like Amazon SES, messages are sent with the ESP’s outbound servers instead of Yahoo’s servers. Simply put, this change means that anyone using a Yahoo account as a From address and an ESP, could run into problems getting their mail delivered.

Why? Fraud and spam are main concerns for mailbox providers. Compromised or misused accounts are often the source of email and other forms of abuse. Yahoo’s decision to enable this policy adds another layer of protection for their users. Ultimately, less abuse at Yahoo should lead to less abuse across the email ecosystem.

Should you make any changes to your Amazon SES sending? Well, it depends on the From address you have chosen for your mailings:

  1. If you are using a @yahoo.com address to send via Amazon SES: You should change the From address you use with Amazon SES to an address at a domain you own and control. Note that if you make this change, you will have to verify your new address or domain before you start sending through Amazon SES with the new address.
  2. If you are using a From address from another free mailbox provider (e.g. @gmail.com) to send via Amazon SES: While Yahoo’s change shouldn’t affect you, it’s safe to assume that other mailbox providers may follow with similar policy modifications in the future. Our recommendation is to consider the same change as for #1 above.
  3. If you are already using an address from your own domain:  You don’t need to make any changes.

Note on deliverability for those of you who do replace your From address: Always be careful when making a significant change, such as the From address, to your message identity. Since the new address will be new for the receivers as well, you might see intermittent reactions such as junking, until they get to know you again. Ideally, you will be able to start sending slowly and gradually ramp up your traffic using the new address.

Thoughts, concerns, questions – feel free to let us know here on our blog or on our forum.

Thank you for using Amazon SES!

UPDATE 10/5/15: Yahoo is in the process of publishing similar policies for other Yahoo owned and operated domains (e.g. ymail.com), including international Yahoo domains (e.g. yahoo.ca), Yahoo Groups, Flickr and Tumblr. Please note, AOL has also made similar changes to their DMARC policy that apply to aol.com and other properties they manage (e.g. aim.com, compuserve.com). As always, we recommend that you set the From address to a domain that you own and control.