Blacklisting is the oldest form of spam protection. Inbox Providers keep a list of IP addresses and domains that recently sent spam and block them from the inbox. Blacklisting eventually evolved to include 3rd parties maintaining and selling blacklists derived from spam traps, honey pots, and lists gathered from multiple inbox providers. As an email sender, being blacklisted is a sign that you are not adequately managing your email delivery posture. But, blacklisting is not the only way Inbox Providers protect their users from spam. Increasingly, Inbox Providers are using technologies like SPF, DKIM and DMARC to make inbox delivery decisions.
DMARC Helps Prevent Blacklisting
Your IP addresses and Domain can be blacklisted for many reasons:
- Spam appears to be coming from your IP addresses or Domain
- Sending too much email from a single IP address
- Sending email from an IP address that also sends spam
- Email recipients marking too much email from your Domain as spam
- Improper Forwarding
- Domain included in Fraud and Phishing emails
- Using spammy wording in your email content
With the right DMARC setup, you can almost completely block spammers from spoofing your domain, or using it in spam, fraud and phishing emails. Adopting DMARC would then eliminate three reasons why your Domain could be blacklisted, dramatically improving your email delivery posture and helping you get your business message to your intended audience.
DMARC Might be More Important than Blacklisting
Blacklisting was once the first line of defense. Now, Inbox Providers are increasingly using more complex algorithms to determine the quality of the email they deliver to inboxes. These algorithms weigh content, blacklisting, DMARC and other factors to determine placement in the Inbox, Junk/Bulk/Spam Folder or simply dump the email entirely. In the new algorithms, DMARC configuration might weigh more heavily than Blacklisting.
Since DMARC depends upon two other technologies, SPF and DKIM, DMARC setup requires more time and attention to setup. This means your team cares about email delivery management and is more active in the management process. Inbox providers like Gmail, Yahoo! and Outlook.com have begun to prioritize DMARC compliant email.
Blacklists are simple and fallible. A legitimate email can put a company on a blacklist if it falls into a honey pot or gets reported as spam by enough email recipients. In addition, many companies use 3rd party emailers with large IP address blocks. These mass emailers rotate through the IP addresses when sending email for all their clients. Not only could your email be sent from the same IP address as many other businesses, but that IP address could be blacklisted because of the other companies’ content. Inbox Providers know the limitations to blacklisting and the benefits of DMARC and their proprietary algorithms reflect this, making DMARC adoption a business requirement. Even if you are blacklisted, DMARC can help you reach the inbox.
How does DMARC work?
Adopting DMARC gives you the ability to do three important things:
- Get feedback on how much of your email is passing SPF, DKIM and DMARC checks
- Get forensic examples of failed emails
- Set a policy for how Inbox Providers handle email that fails DMARC checks
Feedback on email allows you to identify SPF and DKIM configuration issues with legitimate senders, improve these configurations and identify illegitimate senders which may be fraud or phishing threats. Once you have corrected your configuration issues for legitimate email senders, you can change your DMARC policy to instruct Inbox Providers to Reject email that fails SPF, DKIM and DMARC checks. DMARC Reject policies give Inbox Providers comfort that you are actively managing your outbound email.
MxToolbox Delivery Center
To maintain the highest levels of email deliverability, businesses like yours need a proven Email Delivery management system like MxToolbox Delivery Center. Delivery Center provides you with valuable insight into your email delivery posture and the ongoing maintenance necessary to maintain peak performance:
- Manage SPF, DKIM, and DMARC (and BIMI) to improve compliance and reduce the threat of fraud and phishing using your domain.
- Review daily volume and SPF, DKIM, and DMARC compliance rates to ensure the best email deliverability.
- Implement Feedback Loops to gain unique information on how your recipients view your emails and when they mark you as spam.
- Gradually move your DMARC policy to Reject to enable better inbox placement opportunities.