Google Changed Cold Email…Again

The June 1st Update to Gmail SPAM filters

Another month went by in 2024.

Which means Google and the major email platforms are back at it again… messing with our cold emails.

It’s tough to keep up with all the changes and what you need to know.

So, I found an email deliverability expert and asked him all the questions I had.

Let’s dive in. 👇️ 

Q: What changed with email on June 1st?

A: Since February of 2024, the main mailbox providers covering 85%+ of the market (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft), joined forces to fight against bad email users, spammers, and scammers. The email providers began enforcing it in February with different iterations, with the last update being in June of 2024, and more coming soon. Google is now using AI to understand if emails are spam or legit and Microsoft has changed their email-receiving policies to be more strict. This sounds good on paper, but the problem is that people who send business/cold emails (like us) are being affected because unless they have all their domain documentation (DNS) in place, they'll be considered spammers or bad users.

Q: What is a domain blacklist?

A: Domain blacklists happen when big internet databases of emails consider your emails to be suspicious and/or malicious. They are there to protect the internet, but of course, they make mistakes. Sometimes, innocent email senders get sent to blacklists. This typically happens when you’re flagged as spam too many times. Once you’re on a blacklist, it’s hard to get off, but not impossible. Also note, you can be blacklisted in two different ways: with your domain, but also your IP.

Q: I work for a big company. Do I need to worry about sending a lot of emails from my work email?

A: Yes, that's even more important. Business communication stems from the company domain. So, let's say that you work for and you send cold emails. And because you send cold emails, you get taken to spam jail, which affects your domain, hence your CEO's emails might go to spam too. Invoices, calendar invites, password reset, transactional emails, and everything else. All goes to spam. This is an extreme case of course, but I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

Q: What do SPF, DKIM, and DMARC actually do and mean?

A: DKIM, SPF, and DMARC are email authentication configurations. They help the internet know that you are a legit email sender, and have all the necessary documentation in place. Without these authentications, you're considered a risky sender, therefore your emails will be labeled as non-compliant and may be rejected from most email servers. Think of them as having your driver's license. You could drive without one, but it’s not worth the risk.

Q: Other than SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, what else should I be looking for when setting up or fixing my domain?

A: Those 3 are the main ones, but it's important to set them up the right way. Not all DMARC records are the same, no SPFs are the same, and it all depends on how you intend to use them. For example, if it’s your main domain, I suggest a quarantine DMARC policy. But if you're sending cold emails and you're using a secondary domain then I'd suggest you set a "None" DMARC policy instead. And if this is all too confusing, I would recommend using a professional domain service like Outbound Bueno.

Q: If I find out my emails are going to spam, is there anything I can do?

A: Yes, you can monitor your sending patterns and find the reason you're going to spam. Review blacklists first, then move to your DNS configuration (including CNAME and pixel tracking), and then review your sending software (Is it sending all at once? Do you have identical emails or do they rotate? Do you have a gap in between each email that goes out?).

You can also see how many emails you're sending if you're warming up, and how many are landing in spam. Make sure you’re adding profile pictures to your emails, using personalized copy, and rotating inboxes and copy.

Q: How can I monitor my domain? 

A: You should be getting your DMARC report from your email receivers and using tools like Google Postmaster (if you use Gmail), but keep in mind that to gather data you need to send a high volume of emails per month. But the best way is to get a dedicated domain monitoring service to monitor it for you and make fixes where needed.

And use this free checklist to check your domain health.

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