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What to Know When Sending From Free Email Addresses

CTCT Employee

Sending From Free Email Addresses

 

A lot of people believe that delivering an email is as simple as clicking “send” and waiting a couple seconds for it to go to the inbox (or maybe the junk folder if it looks like spam).  In reality, there are a lot of checks and balances that an email campaign needs to go through before it can be successfully delivered. Every part of your message, be it the footer, body, images, subject line, and so on can affect delivery.  One aspect that is often overlooked is the “from” email address. In this post, I’ll go over how using a free email address as the “from” address can affect your delivery.

 

What Are “Free Email Addresses”?

 

Free email addresses are usually obtained from your Internet provider (Such as Comcast or Verizon) or created on a web site that offers email as a service (Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, Apple, etc.).

 

Some free email providers try to restrict how their customers use their emails addresses.  For example, they may implement what’s called “email authentication” to prevent you from sending through 3rd party services like Constant Contact.  To further explain why sending from one of these addresses is not recommended; first I need to go over Authentication and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance). 

 

What is Authentication?

 

Email Authentication is a series of methods that let ISPs know the origins of a message.  All messages sent through Constant Contact are given a form of basic authentication that allows you to be considered a safe sender using our online reputation.  If you want to set yourself apart (and possibly get a boost in delivery) you can also choose to enable Constant Contact authentication or self-authentication.  A more in-depth explanation, along with a description of the different forms of Authentication can be found here.

 

What is DMARC?

 

DMARC is a policy used by a sending domain. It tells the receiving ISP which forms of authentication an email “from” them needs to pass.  It also dictates what to do with the messages that fail, which usually falls into three main categories:

 

  • Accept – The message is delivered regardless of failing DMARC
  • Quarantine – The message is delivered to the spam/junk folder
  • Reject – The message is bounced and not delivered.

 

More and more ISPs and mailbox providers are setting their policies to either quarantine or reject mail that fails DMARC.  This is an effort to combat malicious mail such as scams and spoofing, but it affects legitimate email marketers as well.

DMARCgraphic.png

How Does DMARC Affect Free Addresses?

 

Let's say you are using a Yahoo email address as your “from” address.  A DMARC check will see that @yahoo.com requires all mail "from" them to pass an authentication check for their domain.  While all Constant Contact mail is authenticated, it is done under a CTCT domain, NOT Yahoo's domain.  This means any email from a Yahoo domain will fail the DMARC check and either bounce or go directly to the spam/junk folder.

 

**Please note, this isn’t specific to Yahoo, many domains implement DMARC**

 

Yikes! Does Constant Contact Do Anything to Help With This?

 

We do! For domains we know to be affected by DMARC, we automatically rewrite the “from” address to match ours.  For example, CTCT@yahoo.com would be rewritten as CTCT+yahoo@ccsend.com.  Since we own the domain “ccsend.com”, the mail passes DMARC and can be delivered. 

 

Great! So What’s The Problem?

 

Although rewriting the domain helps, this is really more of a work-around than a solution. As technology evolves and more ISPs implement DMARC, we can’t guarantee that this will solve all potential DMARC delivery issues down the line.  We also have no way of knowing EVERY domain that does and will use DMARC.

 

Is there a better solution?

 

You may have guessed by now, but the best solution is to obtain your own domain.  Not only does this look more professional, but you’ll also have far more control over your own email security and sending reputation. Constant Contact provides domains and getting set up is quick and easy. Then all you need to do is verify an address at that domain within your account.


Once this is done, you can even enable self-authentication within your account.  With self-authentication, ISPs you send mail to will no longer use Constant Contact’s information for DMARC checks, they will use yours, ensuring you always pass!

Robb_P

Hello, I'm Robb, your friendly neighborhood Compliance Representative. I've worked for the Constant Contact Compliance Team in some capacity since September 2008. I'm happy to use my experience to help educate and inform the Community on various Compliance and Delivery-related topics. In my spare time, I'm usually spending time with my wife, son and dog OR engaged in some sort of hockey/football discussion.

4 Comments
Occasional Contributor

Hello, This was very informative thank you. I have a question about links inside the email. For instance, on our most recent newsletter that we sent out, among others, I have a "Contact Us Today!" Link. Checked it multiple times prior to sending out, manually and with the Constant Contact error checker and it worked fine each time. Today, one of my coworkers recieved the newsletter and clicked on the "Contact Us Today!" link, however they received an error message instead of being sent to our Contact page. The error message said (you are attempting to access a forbidden site. Contact your system administrator for details. Side note they work for another company and were at that office when they opened the newsletter. My question is, is this something we are able to help fix so it's not happening to other subscribers as well? Or is this something that this particular office (potentially others) have in place so that their employees are restricted from going on certain websites? Hope that that makes sense! Any information would be helpful.

 

Thank you for your help in advance and look forward to hearing what you have to say.

 

Savannah Brown

9ºNorth Digital Marketing

CTCT Employee

@9dNorthDigMarketing 

Hello! Thank you for reaching out to the Community! I am sorry your “Contact Us Today” link returned an error for some of your co-workers! We certainly do know it is important to have your links work the way you expect.  After testing, it does appear it is an issue with that co-worker’s particular office network. Nothing within Constant Contact would forbid a person from any other sites.

 

One thing you can offer your co-worker is to whitelist Constant Contact as a safesender so they would have a better experience receiving your campaigns.

Occasional Visitor

I want to be sending an email out from my blog and I am lost in the process please I want this community to provide possible answers to my question.

CTCT Employee

Hello @user36908,

 

We would love to send you some information about how to get started! You will want to start by picking a template that you like the most, and then you can insert a read more block that will help you talk about your blog in a professional and visually appealing way. Please make sure you take a look at our article about how designing works within your favorite template. Always remember you can post in here with specific questions and you can also call us so you can have a one on one conversation with a support agent that can walk through exactly how to create your first newsletter. Thank you!