New Spam Trap Type for CASL Non-Compliance?

I’ve not observed these in the wild – nor should I have, so far, as there are still three weeks and change left on the calendar before CASL goes into effect. But I’d bet you a box of meat we’ll soon see a new type of spam trap meant to tease out data from the spam stream on which senders are not bothering to comply. Continue reading

There’s Still (Barely) Time to Get Your CASL in Gear

It’s been five years in the coming, but the new Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is nearly here at last. The new requirements go into effect July 1st, so if you haven’t made preparations for compliance yet, now’s the time to get started.

The new law applies to anyone who sends mail to recipients in Canada, and requires senders of email to have or to obtain permission from those recipients to send them marketing messages. The problem, of course, is that unless senders have been collecting geographic data about their recipients at the time they gathered permission, it’s hard to know whether any particular recipient is in Canada. Furthermore, the burden rests on the sender to prove that they had consent should any action be brought under under the law. Continue reading

Aol Follows Suit On DMARC Reject Policy

Aol announced little more than an hour ago that they’ve published a reject policy in their DMARC record, just as Yahoo did around April 6th. Batten down the hatches; here comes another bounce storm:

Today we moved to change our DMARC policy to p=reject. This helps to protect AOL Mail users’ addresses from unauthorized use.

It also stops delivery on what previously would have been considered authorized mail sent on behalf of AOL Mail users via non-AOL servers. If you’re a bulk sender on behalf of AOL addresses, that probably includes mail sent from you.

“Probably”.

I think I’ll hit the sack early tonight. I want to be well-rested for tomorrow. Do I get credit for making the prediction just a few hours ago?

Who Does That, Anyway?

Yahoo’s big change to their DMARC policy has sparked a remarkable amount of debate among stakeholders in the email and security ecosystems. As is usually the case with these crowds, there’s a lot of religion both in support of and against the change. I’m trying to stay out of it, but I’m not sure I’m succeeding.

So, to take a small detour, I thought it might be interesting (or at least somewhat less exasperating) to advance some sort of answer to a related question I’m hearing from both sides: who in the actual heck would use an address from a free inbox provider as the From: address for their own marketing and newsletter mail? Continue reading

Yahoo Mail Brings the Pain with DMARC Policy Change

It’s going to be a busy Monday for many ESPs and small senders out there today.

Recently, Yahoo Mail appears to have changed its DMARC policy to “p=reject,” meaning that ESP customers who send using a Yahoo email address in the From: line are going to see a spike in hard bounces. In many cases, that will trigger support calls to their ESP’s deliverability teams.

The change doesn’t affect just mail sent to Yahoo, but to any domains that are participating in DMARC. By making the change, Yahoo is essentially instructing any receiving domain that checks Yahoo’s DMARC policy to reject mail that purports to originate from Yahoo’s domain, but that comes from an IP address belonging to someone else.

On a first take, that might sound like a perfectly reasonable security measure. However, lots of mom and pop shops and other small senders who rely on ESPs for their mail programs are using From: addresses (e.g., business_name@yahoo.com) that are serviced by a free inbox provider, including Yahoo, Gmail, and Aol. It’s not an optimal way of doing things, but there’s nothing inherently abusive about it, either.

I’m hoping that Yahoo will consider reversing the change – and soon! – as it is very likely to result in the inadvertent rejection of a lot of wanted mail. I’ll keep you posted.

Edit: Here are samples of bounces from different large ISPs that you can use to grep your own MTA logs:

smtp;550 5.2.0 mav01n00T5PRKmP0Fav191 Message rejected due to DMARC. Please see http://postmaster.comcast.net/smtp-error-codes.php#DM000001
smtp;550 5.7.1 Unauthenticated email from yahoo.com is not accepted due to domain's DMARC policy. Please contact administrator of yahoo.com domain if this was a legitimate mail. Please visit http://support.google.com/mail/answer/2451690 to learn about DMARC initiative. 100si2781324qgv.4 - gsmtp
smtp;550 5.7.1 DMARC failure for domain yahoo.com, policy reject

The ISPs’ Stupid Rules

A while back, I worked with a company that publishes a stable of well-established retail catalog brands. At the time, they’d just launched a new catalog to coincide with a holiday.

Unbeknownst to me, they had started mailing offers from the new catalog to recipients who had opted in to mail from one or more of their other catalog brands, with entirely predictable results. Continue reading

M3AAWG Shows Senders Some Love

Like A BawsI’m a little late with this bit of news, but I hope readers will indulge me nonetheless.

Lots of great things happened at the most recent M3AAWG general meeting in San Francisco last month, particularly for the Senders’ Special Interest Group, which I co-chair with my friend and colleague Tara Natanson of Constant Contact.

For the first time, postmasters from all four of the major free inbox providers shared the stage to take questions on a range of anti-abuse and policy topics. Gmail selected a M3AAWG Senders session as the venue to announce the launch of their feedback loop program (which my team helped to beta test) and header unsubscribe link implementation. We had some outstanding email and data science presentations that drew overflow attendance. All of these are remarkable. Continue reading