Why the change? 

Protecting user inboxes from unwanted emails is an ongoing challenge for major inbox providers like Gmail and Yahoo. As Yahoo’s Marcel Becker stated, a core mission is “to deliver messages that consumers want to receive and filter out the messages they don’t.” The persistent issue of spammers and malicious senders remains.

In their latest effort to better safeguard inboxes, Gmail and Yahoo have unveiled a new set of requirements that all senders must meet by February 2024 to ensure proper email deliverability to subscribers. Failing to comply by the deadline will first result in temporary errors affecting a small percentage of non-compliant emails sent to Google recipients. Starting in April 2024, that same small percentage will face rejections, which will gradually increase over time. The requirement for enabling one-click unsubscribe capabilities won’t be enforced until June 2024.

To illustrate how they will enforce these rules, Google provided this example: “If 75% of a sender’s traffic meets our requirements, we’ll start rejecting a percentage of the remaining 25% of non-compliant traffic.”

Now that this list of new email requirements has been released, let’s take a closer look at each one and what senders need to do to become fully compliant.


The requirements mostly formalize existing email best practices related to authentication, formatting, forwarding protocols, unsubscribe capabilities, and secure transmission. If senders don’t meet the requirements, they’ll face temporary errors and eventual rejection of non-compliant emails.

The key requirements include implementing SPF, DKIM, and DMARC authentication; maintaining valid DNS records; keeping spam complaint rates below 0.3%; adhering to email formatting standards; not impersonating Gmail headers; using ARC for forwarding; enabling one-click unsubscribe; and transmitting over a secure TLS connection.

While many of these are already standard for responsible senders, the new mandate makes them mandatory requirements rather than just recommendations. Senders should review their authentication, complaints, formatting, forwarding, and unsubscribe processes to ensure compliance ahead of the deadlines.

Meeting these requirements demonstrates a commitment to inbox safety and preserving a good sender reputation. Maintaining strong authentication and following best practices has always been important for deliverability – now Gmail and Yahoo are formally enforcing it.

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