Feedback Loop Archives - DeliverNow

Gmail – Feedback Loop and postmaster: Settings and step-by-step tutorial

As of several years, Google Gmail’s Webmail has nailed its place as the leader in innovation. This big boy from Mountain View highlighted from the others by providing high-quality spam processing, as well as by developing a successive line of innovations in terms of ergonomics, including labels, email-organization through tabs, interface-built-in unsubscribing button, etc.

However, deliverability professionals and advertisers have experienced poor long-lasting tools, especially when compared to other Webmails, and specifically compared to Microsoft’s Hotmail. Lack of Feedback loops and lack of data from reputation, among others, have been the standard up until a little more than a year from now, when this situation changed dramatically.

Gmail’s Feedback loop, which has been tested as of late 2013 by certain ESPs and announced to be launched – still at a beta level and upon prior invitation- during the MAAWG held in February 2014, has been opened as of several weeks from now to all advertisers through its brand new ‘Postmaster’ site.

As many other similar platforms of the kind, postmaster.google.com offers email senders the possibility of receiving sending-related technical data as well as data from reputation. Within this article, we will guide you step by step to set up and become familiar with these new tools.

Background: SPF, DKIM and ReverseDNS.

It is important to remember that properly setting up your email at the authentication stage is highly relevant for you, and not only for the Google Postmatser tool. It is an imperative step, otherwise your email steam risks not to be taken into account by Google when generating data available in the postmaster. The aforesaid can be understood as:

  • You own a valid SPF record referencing all your email-sending IPs.
  • Your emails have been duly DKIM-signed with a given domain name under your management (access to DNS server).
  • Your IPs hold a valid ReverseDNS (PTR record) using— in priority— a domain name attached to a DKIM signature.

Adding a domain name to the Postmaster’s interface.

In order to add a domain name, it will be necessary to login to postmaster.google.com and click on the ‘+’ bottom-right on the screen: the pop-up screen will now display:

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Enter the domain name to be set, and then click next. On the following screen Google will ask you to prove that you own the domain by adding a DNS TXT or a DNS record.

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The update of specific DNS servers may require up to 24 hours. It is possible that you are required to await before being able to click on the ‘Verify’ button — it is of course possible to switch windows and going back to it later on—.

If you use several subdomains for each one of your different e-marketing campaigns, you will entitled to embed every single one of them, as well as the main domain name. This will empower you on one hand to monitor the performance of your domain names, and on the other, to have an overall view of the main domain.

Important: The here mentioned TXT embedding operations on your DNS have to be repeated for each Google user willing to access this data. If several users require access and that you run several subdomains, the creation of a new Google account reserved to your colleagues is likely to be the better solution.

Setting your emails in order to supply the Feedback loop.

The set up of your Google’s Feedback loop is done separately from the Postmaster interface. Data upload is done through the email header.

The Feedback-ID: line should be embedded in the email header. This Feedback-id is composed of 3 changing fields separated by the character ‘:’, as well as of a SenderId, which shall remain consistent across your email sending activity. The SenderId should count between 5 and 15 characters.

See the example here below:
Feedback-ID : VarA:VarB:VarC:MyBrand

Feedback-changing fields may be used to reference your mail stream into the following categories:

  • Marketing campaign name.
  • Mail type (newsletter, update, operational).
  • Database segmentation.
  • Other.

Within the Postmaster interface, you will be empowered to follow-up the complaint rate per field when one of this displays an unusual rate.

Here below a brief list of examples used by well-known advertisers:

  • LinkedIn – Feedback-ID: accept_invite_04:linkedin
  • Twitter – Feedback-ID: 0040162518f58f41d1f0:15491f3b2ee48656f8e7fb2fac:none:twitterESP
  • Amazon.com : Feedback-ID: 1.eu-west-1.kjoQSiqb8G+7lWWiDVsxjM2m0ynYd4I6yEFlfoox6aY=:AmazonSES

Important: Google does not aim to provide identification of whoever is reporting your campaigns, but to enhance you with an indicator useful to detect untruthfully campaigns, programs, etc.
However, if you attempt to identify the source of your complaints from the Feedback-Id, Google may simply cut you off from its data stream.

Google is against spammers.

Before discussing any further about the many features available in the Postmaster interface, it is important to point out that Google’s aim is not to help spammers. All data offered in this platform is only available to good-reputation senders respectful of Gmail’s rightful guidelines https://support.google.com/mail/answer/81126.

Different dashboards available.

Spam rate.

It is one of the most relevant indicators offered by Google’s Postmmaster tool. You will be empowered to follow up completely the spam-rate percentage per domain name or subdomains on a daily basis.

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IPs reputation.

Gmail categorizes the reputation of IPs into 4 different levels: Bad, Low, Medium et High.

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By clicking on the colored area on the graph—for instance: the orange field ‘Medium’ on August 31st— You will see a pop-up list containing all IPS at this reputation level.

Domain reputation.

Just as for the reputation of IPs, domains fall as well into 4 different categories: Bad, Low, Medium and High.

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Feedback Loop.

If you have properly set up your Feedback-Ids, you should be able to see data on this dashboard. It is important to remember that the main goal is to segment the many different email programs in order to easily identify your email marketing complaint sources. For instance, by using an ID of the acquisition source for your addresses, you will be empowered to verify in no time your acquisition partners who are generating full amounts of spam.

Authentication.

This graph represents the percentage of emails validating the many different authentication technologies:

  • SPF: Percentage of emails having validated the SPF on the domain itself according to the overall email stream sent for this domain.
  • DKIM: Percentage of emails having validated the DKIM on the domain itself according to the overall email stream sent for this domain, carrying a DKIM signature.
  • DMARC: Percentage of emails having implemented the DMARC procedure according to the emails having validated both SPF and DKIM on the domain.

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Encryption.

It represents the percentage of incoming and outgoing emails running a TLS encrypted protocol.

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Delivery errors.

This graph shows the percentage of the traffic having being rejected— temporarily or for good— at the threshold of Gmail’s SMPT servers. This dashboard is highly important especially at the stage of warm-up, or when you are reached by a technical failure.

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Yahoo!’s feedback loop transition due on June the 29th

yahoo-emailLast Tuesday, Yahoo! announced all of its feedback loop’s users the upcoming change of its infrastructure (June 29). As of 2009, such infrastructure was handled by Return Path, and it will be from now on managed directly by Yahoo!

In the email, Yahoo! offers its feedback loop’s users to back-up the existing data saved in the Return Path’s platform, including set up domains, selectors, feedback addresses and confirmation addresses.

The service shall remain working as usual, and if you are currently receiving spam complaints from Yahoo!, it is likely that you will keep on receiving them in the same format and to the same addresses.

Nonetheless, we consider that there is one question that has not been yet answered: Will Yahoo! keep on operating by Return Path’s certification program? DeliverNow will keep you updated on the topic the sooner we get further information.

More information on Yahoo!s Feedback loop available at postmaster.yahoo.com

Orange’s spamtraps number per IP address now available via SignalSpam

Orange_logoAs of February this year, it is now possible to receive Orange’s spamtraps number by IP address and by day. After last September’s feedback loop implementation, this is a new hand-in-hand effort between Signal Spam and Orange in order to enable more data to email senders.

So, what exactly are spamtraps?

A spamtrap is an email address used by ISP and spam-fighting organizations in order to detect blacklisted senders and spammers. There are two kind of spamtraps.

Recycled spamtraps.

These are email addresses which have been created by real users. They have remained active during a certain amount of time for then being closed by the ISPs or Webmail.

After their closing, these email addresses kept on sending for a while a SMPT error code specifying that the actual address was invalid. Then, these addresses are reactivated and used as spamtraps.

Webmail and ISPs consider that it is the duty of email senders to clean up their database on a regular basis. Recycled Spam Traps employment is therefore a good option to point out senders using a bad quality address and do not process bounces correctly.

Premise spamtraps or honeypots.

To the contrary of recycled spamtraps, these email addresses have never been transmitted to anyone, and they have been utterly created to detect spammers. They may be also created through the main ISPs or Webmail, but it may also be the case of domaine names devoted to spam gathering. Let’s imagine this scenario: bot/spammers who may generate all the info@ and contact@ addresses from all the domain’s names existing; these addresses would be detected by this kind of spamtraps.

Why does Orange want to share this information?

Regarding the information given by Orange, we are talking exclusively of the ‘recycled’ spamtraps category. However, spamtraps are not subject to identification.
Orange aims to supply ESP with information so that they can detect bad senders. By knowing how many Orange’s spamtraps will be targeted by an IP address, ESPs will be able to control more efficiently their customer’s activity.

feedbackloop_spamtraps_orange-EN

In practical terms, how does it work ?

Information regarding Orange’s spamtraps affected by day and by IP address is available within the same file of aggregated complaint feedback loop. If you already receive the complaints, you just need to do a simple request to Signal Spam and an additional column will be added to your CSV file.

This information is only available for the Signal Spam members. Click here for more information about becoming a Signal Spam member.

Signal Spam: Following Orange’s footsteps, SFR releases its feedback loop

logo_SFRLast September on this blog we announced Orange’s Aggregated Complaint Feedback Loop implementation. Ever since, SFR have decided to join the team and allow access via Signal Spam to the complaint rate from your IP addresses.

The two of them Orange and SFR, count up for more than half the webmail French market. This means that email senders as well as the routing platforms have now the possibility of having a broad view of their email traffic quality in France.

By adding the data available through the main American webmails feedback loops (Outlook.com, Yahoo! and AOL), we are talking about between 50% and 80% of the email traffic (according to your email listing contents), which may be subtle to supervision.

In practical terms

Information available on SFR feedback’s loop is exactly the same as Orange’s; this means the daily aggregated complaint amount regarding IP addresses. It is not widely known that SFR manages not only its domain name @sfr.fr, but also the domain names of many other companies bought up in the past (@neuf.fr, @9online.fr…) and even addresses of partners such as @fnac.net.

Bottom line, this feedback loop gathers the aggregated complaints from eleven different domains:
@sfr.fr, @neuf.fr, @9online.fr, @9business.fr, @cegetel.net, @club-internet.fr, @cario.fr, @guideo.fr, @mageos.com, @fnac.net and @waika9.com

feedbackloop_SFR_signal_spam-EN

In order to take advantage of SFR and Orange’s retroactive feedback loops, do not hesitate to become a Signal Spam member.

The importance of knowing the aggregated complaint amount regarding your IP addresses

Email services operator’s goal has always been to satisfy their customers. Nowadays the main indicator allowing measuring this satisfaction scale is still the number of  complaints regarding a campaign or an IP address. Complaints are then the indicator that will allow webmails to determine an IP address quality and whether to filter or not the incoming traffic from it.

On the sender’s side, the amount of complaints is also a good indicator, since it allows measuring satisfaction and more to the point the annoyance coming from the emailing campaign. Regarding the router, it is also a reliable asset detecting and pointing out the active spammers on its platform.

SFR deliverability specifications

On top of the complaint rates, SFR works with many different techniques in order to filter the incoming emails into their customer’s inbox. The first of these: an inbox-oriented technique employing the Vade-Retro-developed filtering technology. This is actually used by most of the French ISP. Concerning SFR, this means for instance, automatic incoming email classification, therefore advertising is visually screened. Vade Retro user can unsubscribe for good through a shortcut button available on the SFR webmail interface, more operable than through the conventional link proposed by the advertiser.

Regarding its email gateway, SFR has developed its own filtering technology in partnership with Atos, and working with Spamhaus in order to shield preventively sent emails from this black-listed-referenced IP addresses.

Currently, SFR does not come with a Postmaster interface, nor with an email deliverability failure procedure. But in case of trouble, do not hesitate to contact DeliverNow, we will grant you the most suitable solution for you at all time.

Want to get advantage of this service? Apply to become a Signal Spam member here:
https://www.signal-spam.fr/english

Orange releases its aggregated complaint feedback loop in cooperation with Signal Spam

Orange_logoUp until now, none of the French ISP would share the user’s spam pieces of reporting automatically; it was then necessary to use their abuse desk. As of September 2013, things will change. Orange is determined to work hand-in-hand with Signal Spam in order to set an automated feedback loop.

What is a feedback loop?

A feedback loop is a technical processing allowing the email sender to collect the spam complaints received by webmails and ISP. This data is then used in order to optimize the deliverability settings and to regulate marketing activity when giving rise to an important spam-reporting volume.

Signal Spam first-of-a-king agreement

Since 2002 Signal Spam unifies the French email sphere. As a founding member right from the start, Orange demonstrates its determination to cooperate even more with this structure by conveying the aggregated complaint data to the Signal Spam members.

DeliverNow, who has contributed to this feedback loop technical implementation, welcomes this email-community cooperation initiative unique in France.

In practical terms: the aggregated complaint feedback loop

Everyday Signal Spam members will be able to collect the aggregated complaint amount regarding their IP addresses (CSV File format). Only Signal Spam members will be able to receive the Orange spam-reporting data.

Data included in Orange’s feedback loop:

  • Date
  • Internet access provider denomination (in this case Orange)
  • Involved IP address
  • Spam-reporting figures.

feedbackloop_orange_signal_spam_EN

As you may know, at Orange it is not the spam complaint rate what triggers a possible blocking of your emailing campaigns, but the total amount of received complaints. With the implementation of this new processing, email senders using a dedicated IP address would be able to measure the spam reporting coming from their e-marketing campaigns allowing them to properly react.

Shortly within the framework of its development, Signal Spam will make available to their members the aggregated complaint data from other French ISP. DeliverNow will keep you informed about this progress.

About Orange: Orange is the main Internet Service Provider in France counting over 40% of the market (Source: JDN.) Orange is also the most popular webmail in France just behind Hotmail/Outlook.com.

About Signal Spam: Signal Spam is a non-profit organization comprising the emailing professionals but also some institutional contributors. It aims to develop a trustworthy network in order to fight against spam.

To become a Signal Spam partner and subscribe to this feedback loop, click here :
https://www.signal-spam.fr/english