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Ankit Prakash in Transactional Emails

DMARC Explained for Volume Email Marketers

Of all marketing mediums, email is perhaps the most flexible and easiest way to reach consumers. It is inexpensive, convenient, measurable and most effective for increasing potential leads and sales figure. However, its pro features give an opportunity to the cyber criminals to misuse its transparency and conduct fraudulent activities. This is a huge concern for volume email marketers.

Email frauds cost billions of dollars to companies. It can destroy a brand reputation, harm consumer trust and bring a business down from its peak, in few minutes. In a quarter of all data breaches, email fraud is implicated and costs about $3.7 billion to a 10,000 employee company. Globally, such fraudulent activities are increasing, and as a result, brands are losing their image. The root of all these crimes is often untraceable, which puts most volume email marketers and companies in a state of utter confusion and chaos. They fail to figure out a perfect solution to address such concerns.

In answer to the phishing and spoofing of cyber criminals, a group of leading email organizations had set the DMARC standard. Ever since its establishment, DMARC system is used as a powerful weapon to combat all sorts of email frauds and cyber crimes.

DMARC has revolutionized email fraud landscape by interrupting the long-standing phishing tactics and forcing the online criminals to stop their targets. It also prevents spoofing activities and restricts emails in the track. Owing to its credible system and technology, DMARC has the power to abolish email frauds and malpractices, in the immediate future.

This post is all about DMARC, how it works, its importance, benefits, latest DMARC statistics and how it can benefit volume email marketers.

DMARC: A Short Brief

Acronym for Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance, DMARC is an open email authentication protocol, established in 2012 by an industry conglomerate including Google, Return Path, and PayPal. It is the first-ever widely deployed technology capable of making the “header from” domain (what users see in their email clients), reliable. The protocol also allows domain-level protection of the email channel and is built on existing standards like SPF and DKIM.

DMARC accounts for a proper authentication process and segregates emails as they reach the inboxes. Only the legitimate messages are delivered to the users, whereas others are rejected or sent into spam folders.

Volume Email Marketers

Source : Postmarkapp.com

 

How DMARC works?

Once an email has been received by the mailbox provider, it checks if DMARC has been activated for “header from” domain. If the answer is yes, it again checks if the email fails DMARC authentication. If it returns a “no,” the mailbox provider runs filters. If email fails DMARC verification, it moves to DMARC control and visibility, and domain owner’s policy is applied. There are three aspects to it:

  1. If its quarantine, it sends email to junk
  2. If its reject, email gets deleted
  3. If it’s neither of these, i.e. none, then the mail is delivered, and the mailbox providers run filters.

After implementing DMARC control and visibility, the delivery report is sent to the sender.

DMARC policy settings define Quarantine as those messages which fail DMARC verification and are moved to the junk folder. The rejected messages don’t get delivered at all. And for ‘none,’ the entire email verification system is supervised for mapping out valid traffic.

Volume Email Marketers
Source : Marketingfacts.com

 

Significance of DMARC

DMARC helps senders to:

  • Regain control by authenticating genuine email messages for their email-sending domains.
  • Increase visibility into who is sending on behalf of the consignor, which emails are authenticating and which are not, and the reasons behind the same.
  • Provide instructions to the email receivers on various ways to handle the mail that does not pass authentication.
  • Block phishing activities and spoofing owned domains, before they hit the consumers’ inboxes.

To put in simple words, DMARC is the keystone of all technical controls. It is highly beneficial in rebuilding trust and retaking email channels for lawful brands and consumers.

DMARC allows receivers to:

  • Differentiate between genuine and malicious senders.
  • Improve trust and loyalty with email users.
  • Protect and enhance the reputation of the email channel.

DMARC has strict policies which means users are safe. Also, due to the strict policies, the online criminals are pushed to a bad position. With DMARC, verified senders can unlock various innovation and advancements for all inboxes.

DMARC Benefits for Volume Email Marketers

Brands will never want their brand image or reputation to get tarnished when they are sending out emails on a huge volume. Thus, the whole responsibility of maintaining the brand loyalty, customer relationship and brand image comes on the volume email marketers. DMARC is the best solution in this scenario. Email marketers who work on sending out huge volumes of emails to a large user base can rely on DMARC for reasons as follows:

  • Protects consumer trust and brand reputation: DMARC prevents email frauds, which increases customer faith and reliability within the brand. As a result, the brand image remains unharmed.
  • Provides immediate insight into threat email background: Senders have no control over what they cannot see. DMARC gives an instant visibility into the potential threats that target businesses. It also throws light on phishing and spoofing attacks which can tarnish the brand image and consumer trust.
  • Enhances email deliverability & engagement: Research confirms that out of five phishing attacks, one reduces deliverability and out of three, one disrupts email engagement. DMARC correctly solves these problems and increases both deliverability and engagement of credible email programs.
  • Lowers customer service costs: As phishing attacks are blocked, it gradually reduces the cost of customer servicing. The perfect example of this can be drawn to a Scandinavian retailer Blocket who saw 70%dip in customer service tickets post-implementation of DMARC protocol.
Volume Email Marketers
Source : Emailmanager.com

 

Can Volume Email Marketers Rely on DMARC?

  • Globally, 70% of consumers are presently enabled by DMARC.
  • Over the years, there has been about 24% DMARC adoption across the top 1,000 global brands.
  • There has been 122% increase in users who have sent 100 or more DMARC reports.
  • Year-over-year, there has been 4145% of growth in the domain numbers with a reject policy.

According to 2016 DMARC Adoption by various industries, social media tops the list with 59% of DMARC adoption, followed by technology (51%), logistics (41%) and payment services (32%). Travel and Banking account for 31% and 27% of DMARC adoption respectively. Gaming, e-commerce, and public sectors have 25% of approval. Telecom is 21%, whereas, healthcare is 16%.

As per 2016 records of DMARC Sender Adoption Growth around the world, Australia, and New Zealand has reported to have a year-on-year increase of 33%, EMEA of 25%, Latin America of 47%, US, and Canada of 42%.

DMARC for Volume Email Marketers as compared to SPF and DKIM

DMARC has Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKM) as its backbone. Both SPF and DKIM are two primary email authentication standards. Therefore, to understand DMARC, it is essential to have a look at the benefits and cons of SPF and DKIM.

SPF (Sender Policy Framework)

Benefits

Through SPF, brands can specify who can send emails on behalf of their domain. Brands can list the IP addresses of all legitimate senders and maintain a DNS record. While sending emails, if the IP address of the sender, who is sending mails on behalf of the brand, is not found in the SPF record, the message fails SPF authentication.

Cons

  • The SPF system finds it difficult to keep updated SPF files and add mail streams as brands change their service providers.
  • In SPF, if any message fails verification, it might not always be blocked from the inbox.
  • When messages are forwarded, SPF breaks.
  • SPF is not equipped with technology to protect brands from cybercriminal activities like spoofing Display Name or “header from” address in their message.

Volume Email Marketers

Source : Marketingfacts.com

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)

Benefits

With DKIM, organisations are accountable for transmitting messages in a way, so that the email providers can verify it. DKIM is installed with cryptographic authentication within the digital signal of the email, which makes the verification possible.

Cons

  • Fewer senders adopt the system since it’s quite difficult to operate.
  • It is not a universally trustworthy system for validating sender’s identity.
  • The spotty adoption means even if there isn’t any DKIM signature, the email might not be fraudulent.
  • DKIM is not suitable for preventing spoofing of the “header from” domain. It is also not visible to the non-technical end consumers.
Volume Email Marketers
Source : Marketingfacts.com

 

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance)

Benefits

DMARC takes responsibility for ensuring that rightful email is well authenticated against already established email verification standards such as SPF and DKIM. It also takes proper measures to restrict fraudulent activities which appears to come from domains controlled by brands, and blocks these emails much before their reach the end user’s inbox.

Cons

  • Although DMARC is much advanced compared to SPF and DMIK, it is not a complete solution.
  • Only 30% of email attacks, that too direct domain threats towards a brand, are protected through DMARC.
  • Fraudulent activities like spoofing and related activities like Display Name spoofing and similar looking domains are not prevented through DMARC.

Also Read: 11 Myths about SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and the Reality.

DMARC Success: Brands

Brands which are early adopters of DMARC are successfully giving a tough fight to all kinds of email frauds and are proactively securing their consumers against cyber crimes. With time, many companies and brands are embracing the newly discovered email verification model. Also, the number of vendors and service providers are increasing. The adoption process has been made simpler by adding required support and other offerings.

On an average, brands have witnessed more than 70% drop in phishing customer service tickets, after conducting DMARC reject policy. This indicates that DMARC helps the service staff of companies to emphasize on providing assistance to customers with inquiries for revenue generation.

Some of the brands who have incorporated DMARC system are Skrill, Visa, HM Revenue & Customs, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland), PCH (Publishers Cleaning House), USAA, FedEx, Delta, and Blocket.

DMARC Success: Mailbox Providers

At present, research confirms that DMARC protects 70% of consumer inboxes across the globe. The most renowned and largest mailbox providers are also for this system. Brands ascertain that with DMARC, they can prevent spammers from damaging the reputation of the senders and maintain a good image. For domains not protected with DMARC, the messages are more likely to be rejected or will directly go to the spam folder.

At one point, some cybercriminals had launched phishing attacks. The emails pretended to have come from Yahoo mail. DMARC stopped these emails in the track before they could hit the inboxes. Many mailbox providers have mostly benefited by DMARC implementation. Some of them are Gmail, Google, Yahoo, Comcast, AoI and Outlook.

DMARC Tags

The DMARC tags are the language of DMARC standard. These tags instruct the receivers to check for DMARC and guide them to deal with messages that fail verification.

How Volume Email Marketers Can Start With DMARC?

Companies can start their DMARC journey in just few simple steps:

#Step 1- The very first step is domain selection. Brands/companies have to select a domain, which can be a primary top-level domain or sub-domains from which lot of emails are going to be sent.
#Step 2- After specifying domain, businesses can generate their record by using DMARC Creation Wizard. Here, the mail receiver policy should be set to “none”.
#Step 3- Now, companies have to work with their respective server administrators to add the DMARC records to DNS.
#Step 4- Next, they shall start receiving DMARC reports about their domains
#Step 5- In the final step, companies need to contact the fraud team of DMARC, who will execute their email authentication process faster. The DMARC team also provides consistent support under any circumstances and ensures safe and hassle-free service to its clients.

For detailed guide, read How to Create DMARC records in 5 Simple Steps.

To sum up, DMARC is a newly discovered email verification system which prevents all kinds of email frauds and cyber crimes from putting a severe impact on brand messages. It is well equipped with modern verification system and appropriately filters all emails after strict authentication. Whether for brands or for mail service providers, it is a boon for volume email marketers. Overall, DMARC is a holistic way of dealing with threats and fraud attacks on email messages. It has changed the face of email verification. The reliable email authentication system is what volume email marketers desperately needs at this hour; and DMARC has it all.

Volume Email Marketers

Source : Postmarkapp.com
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