DMARC Policy Requirements April 2024: What You Need to Know

Google and Yahoo are tightening up their restrictions on bulk email sending and domain authentication. If you send bulk emails via your email platform, email marketing platform, invoicing software or other methods, you need to be aware of the new requirements.

There have been some key changes to the DMARC policy requirements, and understanding what they mean is important for business owners.

Never heard of DMARC? Don’t worry, this guide will break it down simply, and outline what actions you need to take before April 1st, 2024 or as soon as you can.

What is DMARC?

Imagine your email address like your home address. DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) acts like a security system for your email domain. It tells the world that emails claiming to be from your address are actually sent by you, preventing scammers from impersonating you.

Have you ever received a suspicious email that appears to be from your bank or a trusted company? These “phishing” attempts can be a nightmare, and as a business owner, you don’t want your email address used for such scams.

Here’s where DMARC comes in. It’s a powerful tool to fight email spoofing and protect your brand reputation.

What’s changed?

Major email providers like Google and Yahoo have gotten stricter! Since February 1st, 2024, for businesses sending over 5,000 emails daily, a DMARC policy with quarantine (p=quarantine) or reject (p=reject) is mandatory.

Who do these new requirements affect?

If you send email marketing or bulk emails to your customers or clients, you need to authenticate your domain (or hire someone to do it for you).

With DMARC becoming more widely enforced, it’s essential to ensure marketing emails are sent from authorised sources to maintain good deliverability and avoid ending up in spam folders. This means using email addresses that are specifically linked to your company domain (eg. [email protected]).

Free email addresses (like Gmail or Yahoo) won’t be considered authorised by DMARC. This will help ensure your emails get delivered to your subscribers and don’t get sent to their spam folders.

How does DMARC work?

In simple terms, DMARC acts like a security guard for your emails. It tells internet services how to treat emails that claim to be from your business but aren’t legit.

With DMARC, you get reports about every email sent from your domain. These reports are like a map showing where your emails go and if they’re behaving properly.

In short, DMARC helps you spot and stop spammy emails that try to sneakily use your business’s identity. It’s like having a bouncer at your digital door, keeping the bad stuff out.

DMARC and your emails

Setting Up DMARC

You are required to add a special record to your Domain Name System (DNS) via your domain name registrar (eg. GoDaddy, NameCheap etc). DNS records are kind of like the phonebook for the internet. This record tells email providers what to do with emails that fail authentication (don’t match your authorised senders).

The DMARC Policy

This record specifies what action to take on unauthenticated emails that are sent from your domain. There are three options:

  • None (p=none): This is like having no security system. Emails are delivered regardless of authentication. (Not recommended!)
  • Quarantine (p=quarantine): Suspicious emails go to a spam folder for review, but aren’t automatically rejected.
  • Reject (p=reject): Unauthenticated emails bounce back, never reaching inboxes. (The strongest protection)

Why does this matter to my business? (regardless of email volume)

Having a DMARC policy in place (especially p=quarantine or p=reject) is essential for businesses of all sizes to ensure email deliverability and protect their brand reputation. Here’s why you should care about DMARC:

  1. Scammers won’t be able to use your email address to trick customers, protecting your brand image.
  2. Legitimate emails from you are less likely to be marked as spam.
  3. Customers feel secure knowing your emails are genuine.

What do I need to do before April 1st? (or asap)

Here’s your action plan:

  1. Check Your Current DMARC Policy: Many businesses haven’t set one up yet. There are free online tools to check your domain’s DMARC record. TOOL: dmarcian’s DMARC Inspector.
  2. Implement a DMARC Policy: If you don’t have one, start with “p=quarantine” to monitor suspicious emails. Talk to your web developer or email provider for help with this step.
  3. Monitor DMARC Reports: Expect email reports about your policy. DMARC sends reports on authentication failures. These reports identify unauthorised senders and adjust your policy accordingly.

Deadline: The deadline for large email senders has passed, but implementing DMARC is still highly recommended for all businesses. Don’t wait for a spoofing incident to damage your reputation.

DMARC and free email providers

Some email marketing platforms will be cracking down on the use of free email addresses for the sending of bulk emails.

DMARC is about protecting your brand and ensuring legitimate emails reach your customers. Using a free email address undermines these goals. By using a professional email address ([email protected]), you gain control, security, and better deliverability for your business communication.

Since free email addresses aren’t set up for business email sending, emails from these addresses will likely fail DMARC authentication.

Consequences of using a free email address in 2024

It’s worth investing in a professional email address. Using a free email address for business can result in:

Low Deliverability: Newsletters may end up in spam folders or even get rejected entirely. This significantly reduces the reach of your campaign.

Reduced Brand Trust: Using a free email address for business communication looks unprofessional and can damage your brand image.

Potential Security Concerns: Free email providers may have weaker security protocols compared to dedicated business email solutions.

Link: Google’s documentation on rolling out DMARC policies.

Graceful Design domain authentication service options

If this is out of your range of tech know-how, get in touch with me so I can help assess and set up your DMARC changes to meet the 2024 requirements.

I offer currently offer two options to help with domain authentication: (with ongoing management options available upon request)

  1. FREE domain check to see if your DMARC records are set up.
  2. Basic domain authentication set-up with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records. Complete with a checklist of further ways you can maintain your email reputation through your email content – $97