Navigating the Latest Gmail and Yahoo Email Protections

Starting February 2024, Gmail and Yahoo are issuing tighter restrictions for bulk email senders. Bulk or mass senders are brands that deploy more than 5,000 messages in one day. The new email protections will improve Gmail and Yahoo’s abilities to validate that mass senders are who they claim to be.

While the new guidelines represent a significant step toward a safer and more secure environment for email users, they also pose yet another set of obstacles for brands. Bulk senders must abide by the new email protections to continue reaching their subscribers without interruption.

The good news? Our product team has been hard at work, already ensuring that emails sent from Wunderkind comply with the new authentication guidelines. That said, we highly recommend that every brand works with their email service provider to ensure all sends meet the protection requirements. Below, we walk through what exactly the protections are and recommended next steps to keep your emails out of the Gmail and Yahoo spam folders.

What are the new email protection requirements for bulk email senders?

Enable easy unsubscription.

Gmail and Yahoo are requiring that large senders give recipients the option to unsubscribe in one click. Facilitating a clear and straightforward opt-out process steers email users to simply unsubscribe in lieu of reporting an email message as spam. By averting spam complaints, brands preserve a healthy sending reputation and thus increase the likelihood that their messages reach the intended audience. Wunderkind will implement a one-click unsubscribe option that complies with Gmail’s specific requirements before the official enforcement date of June 1.

Additionally, senders must now process unsubscribe requests within two days. However, legislation regarding the exact timeframe that senders must honor unsubscribe requests varies globally. That said, we highly suggest promptly fulfilling recipients’ unsubscribe requests to maintain a healthy sending reputation.

Avoid sending unwanted emails.

Gmail and Yahoo will enforce a clear spam complaint threshold of 0.3% to ensure users aren’t receiving unsolicited messages. If senders exceed this threshold, they’ll likely notice an increase in the volume of blocked emails or emails being directed to the bulk folders. Spam complaints occur when subscribers click the “Spam” button or relocate the email to the spam folder. We strongly recommend that brands who send to Gmail register for Google Postmaster Tools. This platform gives senders wide-ranging visibility into their spam complaint rate and sending reputation directly within Gmail.

Fortunately, the average spam complaint for Wunderkind emails across our client base is less than .01%. Wunderkind only triggers an email to users who are both on a brand’s subscriber list and recently demonstrated high intent purchase behavior on site. These recipients are subscribers who want to hear from the brand, so the likelihood that they would report a spam complaint, instead of just opting-out, is low.

Authenticate Outbound Emails with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

Gmail and Yahoo are taking sender authentication a step further, requiring that all emails be fully authenticated with SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail), and now, DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance). DMARC informs mailbox providers about how to manage emails that did not pass the DKIM and SPF authentication checks. If an email fails SPF or DKIM, the failure may indicate that unauthorized parties are attempting to imitate a sender or their email address. In this case, senders have the option to instruct mailbox providers to either reject or withhold the mail. Senders can also opt to receive automated reports when providers detect suspicious messages.

Yahoo and Gmail have announced that they will accept a DMARC p=none enforcement policy. A p=none policy alerts the mailbox provider that it should not take any action (i.e. reject or without failed mail attempts). However, providers will not offer any protection if the domain is spoofed. Additionally, senders must verify that sending domains or IPs include valid forward and reverse DNS records, also known as PTR records.

What next steps should brands take?

  1. If you haven’t already, verify that SPF and DKIM are authenticated with your ESP and set up DMARC in your domain’s DNS via your IT team. Google offers resources about how to set up DMARC here.
  2. Confirm with your ESP that all emails provide the option to unsubscribe with one click and that unsubscribe requests are honored as soon as possible.
  3. Confirm that your ESP is actively monitoring spam complaints.

Gmail and Yahoo’s implementation of these new guidelines marks a noteworthy advancement in ensuring a safer email environment, but it also presents fresh challenges for brands. By navigating and observing the 2024 protections, brands can feel confident in their continued, uninterrupted communication with their customers, ultimately contributing to a more secure and reliable email ecosystem.


Sarah Hall

Sarah Hall is a Product and Customer Marketing Manager at Wunderkind. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University, with an established track record in digital product and customer-facing roles. Sarah enables the success of the Product, Sales, and Customer Success teams by conducting extensive competitive intelligence research, developing effective product messaging and positioning, and building compelling marketing materials.