My Favorite Tools

If you are like many of our users, you have a favorite tool or set of tools that you run often.  Our customers have informed us that the “More” page is the most bookmarked page of MxToolbox.com and the one most likely for them to access to do work on a regular basis.

Introducing Favorites

In March, MxToolbox added a feature to our More/NetworkTools page that allows registered users to save a set of favorite tools.  Now, you can save a set of tools that you use frequently and access them through the “My Favorite Tools” tab.

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Add a Favorite Tool by clicking the heart icon on any tool.

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And, boom, you have favorites.

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Use Favorite Tools to save yourself time and effort when using MxToolbox.  Enjoy!

 

Announcing Bounceback Reporting

Emails bounce.  It’s a fact of email marketing that some percentage of your emails will not make it to the intended customer, partner or vendor.  Inbox providers are leveraging more and more technologies to prevent spam, malware and phishing attempts from making it to their users, which means there are more reasons to bounce email.  Email bouncebacks come in many forms:

  • Malformed email addresses
  • Email addresses that do not exist
  • Email box is full
  • Bad forwarding addresses
  • Blacklisted senders
  • SPF authentication failures
  • DKIM signature issues
  • DMARC authentication problems

With all these complicating factors, inbox providers have gone beyond the RFC standards in creating response codes for bounced emails.  Businesses need to keep abreast of these new responses in order to actively manage their email deliverability.

MxToolbox Bounceback Analyzer

MxToolbox experts focus on helping legitimate email senders get their mail delivered.  Our newest tool, Bounceback Analyzer, leverages our expertise in email to give you insight into the many reasons your email may be bouncing.

How does it work?

When you get a bounceback email from an inbox provider, simply copy the email and submit it to our Bounceback Analyzer tool.  Our tool will diagnose the reasons for your bounceback with our unique centralized repository of bounceback messages that span hundreds email provider responses.  Even better, if we don’t have the bounceback response in our library, the tool will let us know so we can go get it.

The Importance of Managing Email Deliverability

Your business will suffer if you are not actively managing your email deliverability.  How can you effectively communicate with your customers, vendors and partners if your email never reaches their inboxes?

Actively managing email delivery involves:

  • Monitoring Blacklist issues with your email senders
  • Monitoring and managing your email DNS configuration – MX, SPF, DKIM, DMARC and BIMI
  • Monitoring and managing SPF, DKIM and DMARC compliance rates
  • Researching Fraud and Phishing using your email domains
  • Investigating Bouncebacks
  • Leveraging Feedback loops
  • Keeping track of Email Deliverability standards and technologies

MxToolbox Experts constantly monitor trends and technologies that benefit email deliverability and incorporate those in our products.  MxToolbox Delivery Center is the best tool to actively manage your email deliverability, leveraging all of our expertise in a central integrated platform.

Feedback Loops

MxToolbox is pleased to announce our latest Email Deliverability Tool – Inbox Provider Feedback Loops.  Feedback loops are a mechanism where Inbox Providers can submit feedback about how your email recipients perceive the email you send them. With Feedback Loops, you can reduce your spend on email, improve your email deliverability and improve your email reputation.

What are Feedback Loops?

Major inbox providers world wide have created a method to let legitimate email senders obtain feedback on the email they send.  A Feedback Loop or FBL is a standardized XML format that tells a sender which of their emails have been flagged as spam and, often, by what recipients.  Some feedback loops even give insight into which emails were not flagged as spam.

How do Feedback Loops Work?

Most inbox providers allow email senders to apply for the right to receive email feedback.  The application process allows the inbox provider to verify that you are a legitimate sender and owner of the domain you are asking for feedback on.  If you are accepted, then the inbox provider will periodically send you feedback their users provide on the email they receive from your domain.

How do Feedback Loops Improve Email Deliverability?

If you are sending a large volume of email, Feedback Loops give you tremendous insight into how your email is perceived by recipients.  For example:

  • Which users routinely mark your email as “SPAM”?  You can compile a list and remove these users from email campaigns in the future, saving yourself money and improving your email deliverability.
    Note: not all inbox providers provide email addresses of users.
  • What email campaigns get the most “SPAM” warnings?  Some subject lines, body texts and graphics can be a trigger for spam.  Your marketing team can then change email copy to improve this perception and may even see open rates improve!
  • What technical problems may be causing my emails to be flagged?  Occasionally, your email configuration may be detrimental to email deliverability.  SPF, DKIM, over-aggressive re-delivery, multiple emails to the same address, etc. may cause your email to appear as spam to a user or inbox provider.

What does MxToolbox Feedback Loops do?

MxToolbox Feedback Loops goes beyond the basic feedback from Inbox Providers like Yahoo!, Rackspace and others.   We provide both the original header and our expertly tuned analysis of the “Spammy” nature of the email.  With MxToolbox Feedback Loops, you will get better insight into why the user or inbox provider flagged your email as spam and how to correct the issue in future emails.

What MxToolbox Products have Feedback Loops?

Currently, Feedback Loops are available to Delivery Center Plus and Delivery Center Managed Services customers.  Please contact support to begin testing Feedback Loops for your business.

Office 365 Joins ARC

Microsoft is the latest prominent name to adopt the Authenticated Received Chain (ARC) email protocol.  The ARC standard is now available for every Office 365 hosted mailbox. Already used by Google (Gmail, G Suite, Groups) and other email providers, the continued adoption ARC improves email delivery and security.

What Is ARC?

ARC is a new protocol designed to provide an authenticated “chain of custody” for emails. Essentially, this initiative requires that each forwarding email system handles the message in a standard way to preserve the DKIM wrappers.  This allows each inbox provider in the chain to see what other intermediaries have handled it along the way and verify the DKIM signature of the message at each step throughout the delivery process.

ARC leverages the DMARC and DKIM email authentication standards to help fight email spoofing and improve email delivery for forwarded messages.  Prior to ARC, the chain of custody may or may not have been preserved for forwarded emails, resulting in legitimate mail being rejected.  With the implementation of ARC,  email forwarded to Office 365 will be more likely to be delivered as DKIM signatures will be preserved.

Seeing the Benefits of ARC

RFC 8617, specifies the ARC standard for inbox providers, but, what does that mean for business senders?  First, you need to adopt the basic email deliverability standards – SPFDKIM and DMARC.  If you have not already read it, MxToolbox has a great guide to setting up these protocols.  Once you have SPF, DKIM and DMARC setup, inbox providers that have adopted ARC will automatically process your email appropriately.  

MxToolbox Delivery Center provides everything you need to manage the on-going maintenance of email delivery.  Learn more about Delivery Center and how we can help you with email deliverability!

BIMI Monitoring has arrived

MxToolbox is happy to announce additional support for BIMI in the form of BIMI record monitoring.  Now, you can be confident that all your important email deliverability records are properly configured and constantly monitored by our experts.

What is BIMI?

BIMI is an email delivery standard that works with other standards (SPF, DKIM and DMARC) to publish an image or logo on an end-user’s email box when an email comes from you. BIMI helps your email recipients feel confident that an email is legitimately from you and helps to protect your brand from use in fraud and phishing.

How does BIMI work?

First, you need to have SPF, DKIM and DMARC properly setup.  Next, you publish a BIMI DNS record that defines your preferred logo image.  Then, when you send email to a user on a BIMI-Supported inbox provider, like Yahoo! and, in Summer 2020, Google, the inbox provider you have a chance of displaying your logo.

Inbox providers will check for DMARC compliance on every email.  If the email passes DMARC tests, then this inbox provider will check for a BIMI record.  If a valid BIMI record is found, then the inbox provider will display your logo next to the email.  As these checks happen on each email, you need to be sure that your email is both passing DMARC and that your BIMI record is accessible every time you send email.  With a BIMI logo next to every email you send, your customers will be reassured that each email is a legitimate communication from you and have your brand top of mind.

MxToolbox BIMI Monitoring

MxToolbox is expanding our support for BIMI by announcing the inclusion of BIMI record configuration monitoring as part of MxToolbox Delivery Center.  You can already test your BIMI record with our Supertool, but now we offer integrated alerts when BIMI is non-accessible or misconfigured.

Since BIMI is dependent on SPF, DKIM and DMARC, MxToolbox highly recommends that you adopt tools, like Delivery Center, to help you setup and maintain these technologies while also monitoring your your day-to-day DMARC compliance.  MxToolbox Delivery Center leverages our email expertise to improve your email deliverability and allows you to focus on running your business.  Adding BIMI to a tool like Delivery Center will help improve your email delivery and improve the visibility of your brand.

ARC Protocol – Getting your email delivered

Recently, RFC 8617 established the Authenticated Received Chain (ARC) Protocol, a new and powerful email authentication and security standard that allows legitimate forwarded emails to be delivered without any issues.   ARC has been in testing for several years with Google and another inbox provider to transform the theoretical solution into a full-fledged standard.

What is ARC?

ARC allows mail handlers (email servers) to preserve a “chain of custody” that shows where the respective message originated and all subsequent handling entities via authentication data when forwarding emails. To get more specifics about the ARC protocol, click here.

Before ARC, a forwarded email would no longer pass DKIM alignment because there was no standard for preserving the original and subsequent DKIM signatures.  An unaligned message might then fail DMARC and be rejected by the final inbox provider and never reach your customer’s inbox.

The ARC protocol establishes a standard for preserving DKIM alignment when a message is forwarded.  This helps these messages look less suspicious to the receiving inbox providers by ensuring emails that are forwarded pass authentication and avoid being labeled as spoofed messages. 

Why is ARC important?

ARC becoming a standard applied to all inbox providers is highly important for your email deliverability. With ARC, if your business forwards email and has implemented DKIM, your email chain of custody will no longer break, resulting in higher delivery rates.  While SPF alignment breaks under most message forwarding instances, DKIM breaks when emails pass through forwarding services that modify content involving a DKIM signature. Even if the email fails SPF and DKIM validations, the inbox provider can choose to validate the ARC standard.

It is imperative that your business email implement DKIM as soon as possible to improve email deliverability and leverage the benefits of ARC.

ARC Enables more DMARC Adoption

The creation of the ARC standard shows continued support for the DKIM, SPF and DMARC standards that are the basics for email deliverability.  ARC allows messages that have been forwarded via mailing lists, list servers, and email gateways to pass DKIM authentication and not break during delivery.  DKIM is integral to achieving DMARC compliance, so the ARC standard also allows more senders to pass strict DMARC policies.  Strict DMARC block non-DMARC compliant email to improve your company’s overall email deliverability by reducing the threat of fraud and phishing using your domain.

What do I need to do to take advantage of ARC?

The first steps to leveraging ARC involve the adoption of basic email deliverability standards – SPF, DKIM and DMARC.  If you have not already read it, MxToolbox has a great guide to setting up these protocols.  Once you have SPF, DKIM and DMARC setup, inbox providers that have adopted ARC will automatically process your email appropriately.

MxToolbox Delivery Center provides everything you need to manage the on-going maintenance of email delivery.  Learn more about Delivery Center and how we can help you with email deliverability!

Email Delivery’s On-going Maintenance

You configured all your email senders.  SPF, DKIM and DMARC seem to be well-tuned.  Email compliance appear to be good.  Email is being delivered and most email appears to make it to your customers’ inboxes.  Open rates look reasonable.  You’re done, right?

Steps to a “Complete” Email Delivery posture

To get to an optimal email delivery posture, you need to finely tune the components of your email senders.

  1. Identify all your email senders.  Who is sending email on behalf of your domain? This may sound trivial, but it’s not.  IT setup your main outbound servers, but is Marketing using Marketing Automation, Sales using a CRM, or Order Management a separate Invoicing and Order Fulfillment system?
  2. Include all your senders in your SPF.  If not, most inbox providers will automatically deny your email.  Google, Office365, Yahoo! and many other inbox providers automatically refuse email if the sending domain’s SPF record does not include the sending servers.
  3. Setup DKIM on all your email senders.  DKIM allows you to cryptographically sign your emails so recipients know they are from you.
  4. Setup a DMARC record and direct RUA and RUF to a service, like MxToolbox’s Delivery Center, that can analyze and provide feedback on DMARC compliance.
  5. Monitor DMARC compliance across your senders.  This may mean revisiting steps 1, 2, 3 & 4 as you discover new senders or the configurations need updating.
  6. Gradually change your DMARC policy from None to Quarantine to Reject.  Stricter policies will help prevent fraud and phishing using your domain which will improve your overall email deliverability.

I’m at a Strict DMARC Policy, I’m done.  Right?

Nope!  Strict policies will help prevent fraud and phishing using your domain, but this can also deny legitimate email from new or misconfigured sources.

You need to have an on-going maintenance plan.

MxToolbox recommends:

  • Regular monitoring of SPF, DKIM and DMARC configurations.  If your senders change their configurations, it can cause issues with your email delivery.
  • Regular monitoring of your senders blacklist status.  If you or your senders are blacklisted, then your email will be blocked before ever reaching an inbox.
  • Regular monitoring of SPF, DKIM and DMARC compliance rates.  A low compliance rate means that legitimate email may be blocked.
  • Adoption of new technologies as they arise.  For example, BIMI, ARC or VMCare beginning to be adopted by inbox providers and email senders.
  • Regular monitoring for new email senders.  Some of these may be emerging threats to your brand while others may be legitimate senders adopted by other departments without your knowledge.

MxToolbox Delivery Center provides everything you need to manage the on-going maintenance of email delivery.  Learn more about Delivery Center and how we can help you with email deliverability!