TLS and Deliverability to Gmail

screenshot-2016-02-29-11-34-39Lots of our customers have questions about that little red open padlock that the desktop Gmail app shows to users who receive mail from senders who do not have opportunistic TLS enabled to encrypt mail over the wire.

The good news is, if your sending platform doesn’t have TLS turned up, there is no impact to deliverability results. The bad news is that your recipients may assume that someone is doing something wrong when they see your message, and may be a bit confused about why the padlock is there at all.

I guest posted on the Salesforce blog once again today, with a very light treatment of the issue and what it may mean for most senders. Any questions? Feel free to post in comments.


Talking Deliverability on the Cloudcast

cover170x170I recently had the pleasure of joining Heike Young and Joel Book on the popular Marketing Cloudcast, a regular podcast produced by the Salesforce team. I’m not sure I deserve the introduction Joel gave me, but I think I gave some solid advice. It was a ton of fun to do, and I think you can hear that, too.

Listeners can download the episode from iTunes, or if you’d rather just stream it in a desktop browser, it’s also been posted to Soundcloud.

The Skinny Talks Gmail and Deliverability on the Salesforce Blog


I recently did a Q&A session with the Salesforce Core team about deliverability, and it was published today on the blog. It’s a bit remedial because it’s geared to a fairly broad audience, but I’m pleased with the results. Continue reading

Let’s Play Deliverability Bingo!



Check out Laura Atkins’ accompanying post over at the Word to the Wise blog.

Verizon to Delete Customer Email Addresses

A week or two ago, Verizon announced to its customers that it would begin decommissioning the free email addresses users of its home internet products. Back in June, Verizon closed on the acquisition of Aol for US$ 4.4-billion, and this may be a sign that Verizon will be looking to use Aol mail to replace that infrastructure.

In any event, be prepared for rising numbers of hard bounces from recipients. Here is the text of the announcement:

We wanted to let you know that we changed our email policy. 
With this change, if you haven’t accessed your email account in over 180 days, your email account will be deleted and cannot be reactivated.   This change only impacts email account. Your access to will not be affected.
If this change applies to you and you’d like to keep your email account active, simply log in to from a computer and check your email within the next 30 days. email accounts that remain inactive after 30 days of this notice will be deleted, including the email address. 

Why not Zoidberg?

What the Verizon Acquisition of Aol Means to Senders

TL;DR: Not much.

Aol’s inbound mail infrastructure has been pretty wobbly for a while now, at least from the point of view of large senders. Though things seem to have improved since around April of last year, for a while intermittent outtages of their inbound MTAs had becoming something of a recurring challenge, and the punchline for a few jokes traded on Twitter.

Aol was the first to do a lot of cool things in the email space. They were the first to offer feedback loops, whitelisting services, and among the first to provide senders an idea of what their sending reputation might be. But it’s hard to stay in the front of the pack, especially when you’re facing challengers like Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft.

After years of losing eyeballs, Project Phoenix was announced in 2010. It was an ambitious idea that sought to create a slick, unified messaging platform that included mail, SMS, social media, and other channels. It earned kudos from the user community, but it never quite gained the traction it needed to re-position the company in the messaging space. Development on Phoenix was halted after less than a year.

Verizon isn’t shelling out US$4.4-billion for Aol’s eroding email user base, as many others have pointed out. That means I wouldn’t expect Verizon to prioritize any fixes for what may still be broken with Aol mail.