Industry Updates

More missing Google Postmaster data (UPDATE – it’s back)

6/1/18 UPDATE: And just like that, the data is back. Reports (as well as my own account) indicate the data is currently populated until 5/30. The data typically runs about 2 days behind in my experience, so it seems the issue is likely resolved.

This Monday’s Memorial Day (US) holiday and its extended weekend was accompanied by many reports of missing data in Google’s Postmaster Tools. In my own account (as in most of the reports I’ve seen) the data stopped rolling in on May 24th. Unlike some previous instances, all GPT data appears affected – Spam Rate all the way down through Delivery Errors.

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We’re as confused as this guy. (courtesy Google)

Each time this happens, many of us hope it’s the oft-promised Postmaster Tools update – the one that brings API access, flexible dashboards and other as-yet-unannounced Google Goodness™. Thus far that hope has been unrealized….but there’s always next time. In the meantime, we’ll just stick to hoping Google restores the missing data in a timely fashion.

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Industry Updates

R.I.P. (some) AOL Postmaster tools

AOLrepThough most senders may be trying to pin down why Gmail isn’t displaying their images by default, there are still other mailbox providers out there to worry about. AOL, for instance, recently disabled their reputation checker and rDNS lookup tools while many of us were enjoying the long Easter holiday weekend (thanks to Word to the Wise for the heads up).

Gmail’s Postmaster Tools and Microsoft’s SNDS may have provided more data points, but the AOL reputation check was a great way to see at-a-glance where you stood with one of the major mailbox providers. It may not have been perfect, but I must say I’m a bit sad to see it go. Chalk is up as yet another casualty in the ever-changing email landscape.

– BG

Industry Updates

Return Path will offer Certification for Domain Reputation

ReturnPath-LogoReturn Path has long been a fixture in the email delivery community as a provider of tools for monitoring and improving inbox delivery rates, in addition to their newer data and intelligence products. One of Return Path’s most well-known offerings is their Return Path Certified program (formerly Sender Score Certification), which provides some additional metrics and benefits at certain ISPs for senders who meet the high standards of the program.

Certification has previously been available only to clients on a dedicated IP with an established sending history, but today the company announced their forthcoming Domain Certification – allowing senders on shared IPs and pools to use their domain reputation as the basis for certification.

With so much of the industry moving towards domain-based reputation and the advent of IPv6, this allows many good but small or inconsistent senders to reap the benefits of the program. Over the years I’ve personally worked with many clients who wanted to be certified but didn’t qualify, so I’m sure there’s a sizable market for this service. It will be interesting to see how the benefits at different ISPs play out – are they the same as the IP certification? Given that not all ISPs weigh domain reputation as heavily as IP, it seems there would have to be at least minor changes.

Domain Certification is currently in beta, but senders interested in beta testing can reach out to the Return Path team through the link posted above to get involved.

– BG

Industry Updates

Google Rolls Out ‘Gmail Postmaster Tools’ for Senders, Improved Spam Filters

Google Postmaster Tools

Many in the email industry have a love/hate relationship with Gmail: they love that their opt-in mail usually gets delivered to the inbox without any trouble, but they hate that there seems to be no help from the Gmail team for those times mail doesn’t make it to the inbox. However, an announcement on the Gmail blog today could prompt a change of heart from many senders.

Starting today, Gmail is rolling out a new feature called Gmail Postmaster Tools, which it says will allow senders to “analyze their email, including data on delivery errors, spam reports, and reputation.”  These tools, which are presumably the evolution of Google’s pilot FBL program of 2014, are designed to help senders “do better” at getting mail delivered to the Gmail inbox.

The Gmail team also announced that their spam filtering technologies are becoming even more advanced, including the use of an “artificial neural network” to identify spam that might seem like normal, wanted mail at a glance. In addition, they have made improvements in honoring individual preferences (I like newsletters but my friend doesn’t), as well as sniffing out well-spoofed phishing emails.

Keep your eyes on the WhatCounts blog for an upcoming post with more details on the Postmaster Tools and how they can help get your mail delivered where it belongs.

– BG