December 5, 2023

Google’s New Rules May Direct Your Emails to a Spam Folder

Avoid the spam folder: Bulk emailers must adopt SPF, DKIM, DMARC, correct DNS, and 1-click unsubscribe by Feb 2024 to comply with Google's new Gmail rules.

Google’s New Rules May Direct Your Emails to a Spam Folder

New Rules May Direct Your Emails to the Yahoo and Gmail Spam Folder

In light of a recent Google announcement, companies that direct bulk email to Gmail addresses will soon need to follow strict new rules to avoid having their communications shunted to a Gmail spam folder, and the same rules will apply to emails directed to Yahoo emails.

The new requirements for bulk email senders are being described as a “tune-up for the email world” and are designed to address deficiencies in the configuration and security of bulk email systems, which help perpetuate phishing attacks. This marks the first time an email service provider has enacted such requirements.

Essential Protocols to Avoid Gmail Spam Folder Placement

Effective February 2024, companies disseminating over 5,000 messages to Gmail users daily must comply with the following stipulations, which will also be enforced by Yahoo:

  1. Implementation of SPF, DKIM, and DMARC: These protocols are integral for robust email authentication.

    SPF (Sender Policy Framework):
    SPF is a pivotal email authentication technique that validates the authority of the sending mail server to transmit emails on behalf of the sender's domain. This validation pertains exclusively to the sender listed in the initial SMTP connection's "envelope from" field. SPF is instrumental in safeguarding your domain against unauthorized use and ensuring your emails are not erroneously classified as spam by recipient servers.

    DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail):DKIM is another vital authentication method, devised to identify and counteract forged sender addresses in emails, a common tactic in phishing and spam operations. It empowers the recipient to verify the authenticity of emails purportedly sent from a specific domain.

    DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance): DMARC is an advanced protocol that enhances the functionalities of SPF and DKIM. It necessitates that each email displays a visible 'From' domain, aligning with either the SPF or DKIM domain, with a preference for the latter. The term 'alignment' in this context is derived from DMARC protocol terminology, signifying that the domains are either identical or share an organizational domain.
  2. Valid Forward and Reverse DNS: To avoid placement in the Gmail spam folder, companies must utilize IP addresses with corresponding PTR records (utilized for IP to host name mapping). Furthermore, Google mandates that the PTR record must resolve to a hostname, which in turn must resolve back to the initial IP address.
  3. One-Click Unsubscribe Feature: This requirement, also stipulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has been elaborated upon in a preceding article: CAN-SPAM VIOLATION FOR $650,000 - FTC VS. EXPERIAN CONSUMER SERVICES
  4. Maintain a Low Spam Folder Rate: While specific numerical values have not been publicly disclosed, the intent behind this rule is unequivocal. Domain owners must exclusively send desired emails to recipients who have expressed interest in receiving them, as evidenced by their engagement with the communications. Failure to comply will result in the revocation of the domain owner's email-sending privileges to Gmail users.
Google’s New Rules May Direct Your Emails to a Spam Folder


While the aforementioned requirements may seem elementary for seasoned email senders, they are often overlooked or neglected by malicious actors. Adherence to the new rules will not only facilitate compliance but also bolster the confidence of Gmail users in the legitimacy of the emails they receive, ensuring that they surpass basic email authentication and delivery standards. Companies are advised to conduct a thorough review and modification of their current email sending and authentication practices to ensure alignment with these newly established requirements.


Q: What is the SPF in email?

A: SPF, or Sender Policy Framework, is an email authentication method designed to prevent spammers from sending emails on behalf of your domain.

Q: What is the difference between SPF and DKIM?

A: While SPF verifies the sender’s IP address, DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) uses a digital signature to validate the email’s authenticity.

Q: How do I know if my email is SPF enabled?

A: You can use an SPF record checker tool online to verify if your domain has a valid SPF record.

Q: What is the difference between SPF and DMARC email?

A: SPF authenticates the sender’s IP, while DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) builds on SPF and DKIM, providing additional features like reporting and policy enforcement.

Q: Are both SPF and DKIM required?

A: It’s highly recommended to implement both for enhanced email security and deliverability, as they provide complementary protection mechanisms.

Q: What is DKIM?

A: DKIM allows senders to associate a domain name with an email, thereby vouching for its authenticity. It uses cryptographic signatures to verify that an email hasn’t been altered in transit.

Q: What is DKIM used for in email?

A: DKIM is used for authenticating emails, ensuring that they haven’t been tampered with during transmission, and improving deliverability by building trust with recipients.

Q: Do I need DKIM?

A: DKIM provides a way to verify the integrity and origin of emails, protecting recipients from phishing and spam, and improving the sender’s email deliverability.

Q: What is the difference between DKIM and a domain key?

A: A domain key is a predecessor to DKIM. While both are used for email authentication, DKIM offers enhanced security features and is more widely adopted.

Q: What is DMARC in email?

A: DMARC is an email authentication protocol that uses SPF and DKIM to protect email domains from being used for phishing and spam.

Q: How does DMARC work?

A: DMARC aligns the ‘From’ domain with the domains validated by SPF and DKIM, provides reporting to domain owners, and applies policies on messages that fail authentication.

Q: Do I need DMARC?

A: DMARC is crucial for organizations looking to secure their email communications, protect their brand reputation, and ensure deliverability of legitimate emails.

Q: Why do I keep getting DMARC emails?

A: You receive DMARC reports because your domain is publishing a DMARC record. These reports provide insights into your email channel’s health and security.

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