Want to Get Your Emails Delivered? Fix This Today

When you send your email campaigns, what email address do your subscribers send replies to?

If you said, “my Yahoo/Hotmail/AOL/Gmail address,” I have some unpleasant news for you:

You’re hurting your email deliverability.

And after what just happened at Yahoo, you’ll want to fix that, and fast.

Why Some of You Keep Putting Your Email Delivery Rates at Risk

We and most reputable email providers discourage you from using an address at Yahoo, AOL, Gmail, and other free providers as the FROM line on your newsletters.

Many of you heed this advice, set up an email address on your domain, and use that as your FROM line. Good for you. (If this is you, you can stop reading now.)

However, some of you keep on using that free email address, because hey, it’s easy, it’s free, and it’s a little less work. I get it.

But if you’re cutting that corner, it’s time to stop.

Here’s why:

Your Freebie Address Is Hurting Your Email Delivery Rates — Now More Than Ever

Two words: Email Authentication.

Let’s skip the technical details here and get to the point:

One way that ISPs like Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, etc. fight spam is to use something called email authentication to check whether an email that claims it’s from you, is actually from you.

The current standard for authentication is DMARC (warning: technical link, read only if you’re really interested).

On Friday 4/4, Yahoo changed their DMARC settings, causing a lot of mail from Yahoo users to start being rejected by other ISPs.

Then, on Tuesday 4/22, AOL did the same thing.

If you want the technical details, there’s a great post at Word to the Wise about DMARC, what exactly changed, and what it means for senders.

Here’s the important thing: if you’re sending your email campaigns through an email marketing service, and you’re using an @yahoo.com email address as your FROM address, Yahoo is saying they don’t vouch for your email.

Using an @aol.com one? AOL is saying the same thing

Note: this is not an AWeber-specific issue. It’s affecting a lot of email. Here are just a few of the news articles that came out when Yahoo made the change:

Here’s How To Fix Your Email Delivery Problem

The good news is, there’s a very simple fix to this problem:

Change your FROM address to one at your website’s domain.

For example, for the emails that we send out to subscribers of this blog, we use help@aweber.com.

You don’t have to use help@(whatever your domain is), but… you need to set up an address (if you don’t already have one) on your domain, and then enter that in the FROM line in your email marketing software.

Here’s how to change your FROM address in AWeber.

Don’t know how to set up email addresses for your domain? Get in touch with your web hosting company and ask.

If your email list is worth money to your business, you owe it to yourself to get this done quickly. Until you do, you’re leaving emails undelivered and keeping money off of your bottom line.

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Justin Premick is the former Director of Educational Products at AWeber.

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30 Comments

  1. I’ve thought this was the case for a while – anyhow, why would you want a free email address for your reply to email? crazy. (and very poor branding) :)

    4/8/2014 12:56 pm
  2. We use an email address from one of our main websites: myname@mybrand.com

    No problem there. Though I do forward the email to my gmail account and reply from there. Although that is invisible to the client. It still shows up as my personal email myname@mybrand.com

    Does is matter if my mail gets forward to or through gmail? Thanks.

    Ryan

    4/8/2014 3:00 pm
  3. As far as I know we aren’t using a free email “from” address on any of our 100+ aweber lists, yet I got this warning today in the top banner about it. Did the warning go to everyone, or only those who have this issue?

    4/8/2014 5:05 pm
  4. Do iCloud.com addresses fall into the category you are talking about as bad FROM email addresses? You didn’t mention them in your list of poor choices, although an iCloud account is not free.

    Thanks, Laura

    4/9/2014 12:27 am
  5. Jo

    A lot of people use the free email addresses because they can read their email from anywhere. They also use them because the ‘housekeeping’ emails for running email marketing lists can go there without jamming up their regular email box.
    A third reason, of course, is that they either do not have, or do not know how to set up, a custom email address for the website/s that they own. They might also get maybe one free one from their hosting service, and then have to pay for more thereafter.
    If you have a CPanel, a control panel, for your hosting service, such as at Hostgator, you can set up unlimited emails very easily, such as help@, support@ and so on.
    If you are with GoDaddy, you get one free one, and can buy more for relatively little cost compared to the benefits of having more professional looking email addresses.
    Check with your hosting provider to see how many addresses your account comes with. One other solution if you do not get any response from them is Google offers custom email addresses for business for $5 to $10 per month.
    Whatever choice you make, your own email address from your domain should boost deliverability and you do not need to be a rocket scientist to set it up, or a lot of money to do so.

    4/9/2014 5:54 am
  6. Justin,

    I have known for a long time that Aweber does not fancy a client using a free email service, but the problem and issue then was that no detailed explanation was given, and basically lots of people, including myself ignored this. Due to this issue, I have noticed that most of my emails were not effectively delivered, but there was no way for me to determine the cause.

    Honestly, thank you Justin for sharing this detailed explanation, Its time to have a email address with my domain extension.

    James

    4/9/2014 7:04 am
  7. Hi Jim. Our mistake. The notice was intended to only go to customers using Yahoo! addresses. If you aren’t using a Yahoo! address, please disregard the notice.

    4/9/2014 7:42 am
  8. @Neil, I couldn’t agree more. Branding alone should be a good reason to use an email address on your domain.

    @Ryan, as long as you aren’t publishing your own SPF or DMARC records on your domain (and unless you went out of your way to do so, you aren’t), you should be fine.

    @Laura I include it, yes. I realize it’s not free, but the things that make using a Yahoo/AOL/etc address a bad idea also apply to iCloud. For one thing, even though the change that happened this week only applies to Yahoo right now, it’s of course possible that other mass providers of email accounts might do the same. Plus using an iCloud.com email address reinforces the Apple brand, not your own. So I strongly recommend setting up and using an address on your own domain.

    @Jo, thanks for sharing! Agreed, it’s pretty easy to do in any major webhost’s admin/backend area.

    @James, thanks for that feedback! It’s good to learn why people may not have taken the advice before. Glad to hear you’re setting up your address.

    4/9/2014 12:38 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  9. @Brandon – Actually I DID discover one of our lists that had a generic address being used! Thanks for the heads up!

    4/9/2014 2:36 pm
  10. I’m with Ryan. I use my domain email address although it’s conveniently delivered into my gmail inbox and is sent via gmail as me at my domain name.com.

    Not a fan of free-looking things for business anyway like WordPress.org blogs or business cards that read, “Free business cards at VistaPrint.com” on the back because the business person declined the extra $9.99 or whatever it is now to remove that line.

    It’s VERY important to look professional and only requires a small investment usually to do so. It also helps business people FEEL more professional and that increases confidence, self-esteem and vibration to attract more business.

    I’ve been with AWeber for 6 years and am always proud of the professional way my emails and forms look and feel while I see many entrepreneurs seeking the cheapest and ending up looking that way. Thanks, AWeber! You guys and gals ROCK! :)

    4/9/2014 4:29 pm
  11. Gmail allows you to change your e-mail address to one with your own domain name. So for example I changed my from boris@gmail.com to boris@mycompany.com. But this is still a Gmail e-mail address.

    My question is whether I’m save using these e-mail addresses as my FROM address.

    Thanks

    4/9/2014 4:42 pm
  12. Justin, I have my own domain email, but all of my domain email goes through Google Apps to my gmail account, where I manage all my mail. But the actual email address that is in the From line is service@healthychild.com. Is that ok?

    4/9/2014 4:54 pm
  13. Jaymar

    I am interested to know if there is delivery problem if you use Google email app. I mean where the actual address is your own e.g enquiries@domain.com but you are using Google apps for delivery.

    4/9/2014 6:51 pm
  14. Kay

    I have a question or rather just a thought.
    My email is my business@FreeEmail.com
    Company name for branding and email service for free.
    Is this still bad?

    4/9/2014 11:55 pm
  15. @Kelly, it’s funny you mention that. Tom (AWeber CEO) and I had that exact conversation yesterday about this issue. Totally agree w/you. And thanks for the kind words about our tools!

    @Boris, Jane, and Jaymar, you’re in the same boat as Ryan above. As long as you aren’t publishing your own separate authentication records (and if you aren’t sure, the answer is no, you aren’t publishing them – you’d know if you were), you should be just fine.

    @Kay, I don’t recommend that. Think about if I emailed you from AWeberJustin@gmail.com or something like that, claiming to be from AWeber. How seriously would you take me? I mean, it doesn’t exactly scream credibility (see Kelly’s excellent comment above for more on this). Plus there’s the risk that whatever free email service you’re using might do the same thing Yahoo did this week.

    If you’re serious about your business, it’s worth the time and cost to use your own domain. Most web hosting plans come with email as an included feature, and if you prefer Gmail, you can either set up a personal Gmail account to send as your business, or get Google apps, which starts at only $50 per year.

    4/10/2014 7:41 am | Follow me on Twitter
  16. Hi Justin

    Would not it be better if you use your name like justin@aweber.com instead of using help or admin..or info

    Regards
    Ritz

    4/12/2014 1:58 pm
  17. Mitchell

    After reading this, I made an email from BlueHost. I sent out a message to my list. I had a lot of open/click rates increase after that.

    Now I realize the difference when I had my FROM: to my @yahoo.com email address.

    Good looking out! ;)

    4/14/2014 1:13 pm
  18. @Ritz, that’s a business decision that will vary from business to business. In our case, we’ve opted for the help@ address because it routes to our Customer Solutions Team, who can quickly and consistently handle questions or issues that come in from those replies.

    @Mitchell, great! Glad to hear that it helped you.

    4/14/2014 2:07 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  19. I use the email set up on my hosting account, so I guess its good. I’m thinking I just need to see more traffic before I can determine where to adjust.

    4/16/2014 10:31 pm
  20. Detry

    How does this apply if I’m doing clickbank affiliate links to start?

    4/21/2014 9:43 pm
  21. Wendy

    This is kind of frustrating for one reason: whichever email address I use as my “From” address in Aweber immediately starts getting bombarded with tons of SPAM messages. That’s why I’ve deliberately always used Yahoo addresses, and kept my real business email addresses for paying customers. Now that won’t be possible. Is there any way to stop these “from” addresses from getting added to spammers’ lists?

    4/22/2014 3:02 pm
  22. Hi Justin – I saw this warning a few weeks ago on the blog, and I wondered if I would be affected. I just received an alert from Aweber that notified me that my messages are being forwarded to an old yahoo account. I just logged in and removed that.

    Here’s the problem though: I received the alert even though my return email was officially from my domain (workonayacht.com). That domain is hosted via WP Engine, but the email is a different story. When I first set up this website back in 2006, I took advice from a friend to use Yahoo Small Business to build my site. The site has since been redone and is built on WordPress now, and as I mentioned, I took it off of Yahoo’s hosting by moving it to WP Engine. *BUT, the email stayed via Yahoo Small Business Apps. (I would have had to lose 7 years of emails that I still reference otherwise.)

    Therefore, this is similar to the Google Apps scenario, where someone’s email is name@thedomain.com, but the domain is hosted via Google (gmail). In my case, that email app host is Yahoo Small Business. The email shows up as being from my domain though.

    Receiving the notification from Aweber tonight could therefore either be b/c I had email notifications forwarded to an old Yahoo.com email, OR it was sent b/c you guys detected that my email is being run through Yahoo.

    I hope that makes sense. The question is then: do you think I’m safe from the problems that Yahoo email address holders will have?

    Thanks,
    ~Julie

    4/22/2014 7:51 pm
  23. @Detry – even if you are promoting others’ products as an affiliate, I recommend having a domain and an email address associated with it.

    @Wendy – what I suggest there is using a service like Google Apps to manage the email for your domain. I believe pricing starts around $50/year. It’s also possible to set up your regular webmail account to handle email for your domain.

    @Julie – I think you may have received that message accidentally. The program/client you use to fetch the email isn’t the important thing; the FROM address itself is. If your FROM address is your own domain, you should be OK to check the email for that address using a webmail client. I suggest giving our Customer Solutions Team a call to confirm that you’re in the clear.

    4/23/2014 2:35 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  24. @Justin – Thanks for the reply. It is possibly I received it by error. Yet I logged in again and am still seeing the alert message at the top, so it makes me think something is getting triggered. The “From” address is, and has always been, my domain. (And the Small Biz Solutions service through Yahoo is a paid service — not the same as free @yahoo.com mail.) I assumed what was getting picked up was that I was forwarding information regarding subscribers to an @yahoo.com account, and with that removed, the alert is still there.

    I will give the Customer Solutions Team a call tomorrow.

    Thanks for your attention to my situation.

    ~Julie

    4/23/2014 5:45 pm
  25. Just wondering…

    My aol address is not at all free as I am paying monthly for this service. Have been for years. How does this affect me?

    Cheers

    Will

    5/1/2014 5:12 pm
  26. Tam

    Wish I could do this with godaddy, but I’m not sure how to get the email from their account, nor how to send it through gmail. Ughhh….

    5/30/2014 1:19 pm
  27. Tina

    I purchased a Domain from GoDaddy.com is that what I would use for “sender name”?

    6/20/2014 10:52 pm
  28. I can definitely understand how this can affect branding, and delivery rates and more, it seems like aweber is actually trying to help as opposed to just producing a service and forgetting about their customers, well done Aweber, cheers.

    6/25/2014 7:09 pm
  29. James

    If I use an email address provided by bluehost which is my hosting site vs godaddy who I bought my domain through is there a difference? I can get one for free through bluehost but need to spend 4 dollars per month through godaddy? I want to save money, but don’t want to hurt my deliverability. Thanks!

    7/20/2014 8:01 am
  30. I actually switched my email to godaddy domain after seeing the suggestion a few weeks ago. As soon as a I did my delivery rate dropped 50%…

    So I am not sure what I should do.

    7/22/2014 6:46 pm

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