Understanding and improving email delivery

Improving email delivery is a key issue especially in ecommerce. But before wondering how and what to optimize, first is to get a good picture of what is happening and what goes wrong. Following good practices is obviously a good rule to follow but implementing DKIM, SPF and DMARC can also help improving email delivery rate at this stage.

DMARC helps you know what ISPs know about the incoming emails and why they should deliver these emails. Once activated, supporting ISPs automatically send you reports of incoming emails received. Reports refer on your SPF and DKIM records. Fine tuning these records will help reducing spammy emails and, in the end, improve your sender reputation which leads to better email delivery rates.

Eliminating spoofing reduces risk of being considered as a spammer.

Practical steps are as follows:

  1. Deploy DKIM & SPF. You have to cover the basics, first.
  2. Ensure that your mailers are correctly aligning the appropriate identifiers.
  3. Publish a DMARC record with the “none” flag set for the policies, which requests data reports.
  4. Analyze the data and modify your mail streams as appropriate.
  5. Modify your DMARC policy flags from “none” to “quarantine” to “reject” as you gain experience.

Some words about DMARC

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is a method of email authentication, that is a way to mitigate email abuse. It expands on two existing mechanisms, the well-known Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), coordinating their results on the alignment of the domain in the From: header field, which is often visible to end users.

Some words about SPF

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a simple email-validation system designed to detect email spoofing by providing a mechanism to allow receiving mail exchangers to check that incoming mail from a domain comes from a host authorized by that domain’s administrators.

Some words about DKIM

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) lets an organization take responsibility for a message that is in transit. The organization is a handler of the message, either as its originator or as an intermediary. Their reputation is the basis for evaluating whether to trust the message for further handling, such as delivery. Technically DKIM provides a method for validating a domain name identity that is associated with a message through cryptographic authentication.

Email delivery monitoring tools

Google recent introduction of its postmaster tools help following various email delivery related parameters including DKIM, SPF and DMARC .

As photo ecommerce is sending a large volume of email, at Koffeeware, we implement these technologies to make sure we benefit from the best email delivery rate.

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