A New Year’s Resolution: Monitor Your “From Name” (From Address) Reputation

Lance Hemenway Blog, Delivery

In early- to mid-December, some email senders began having inbox placement issues at Yahoo. Yahoo had started to redirect messages to the bulk folder for some whitelisted email senders. In fact, several email senders who had maintained whitelist status for years also faced this challenge.

After analyzing mailing behavior for over a hundred email senders, we found that this issue mostly impacts senders utilizing multiple “From Names” (the portion before the “@” sign – sometimes called “From Address” – not to be confused with “Friendly From Name”).

What “changed at Yahoo?
We discovered that Yahoo’s reputation requirements have changed. Since December, Yahoo now uses the From Name in addition to the sending domain name and the IP to determine inbox placement. (We were also able to confirm that Friendly From Name does not yet impact inbox placement.)

Reputations for whitelisted segments are now monitored based on the following combination:

From Name + Domain Name + IP
Yahoo is keeping a separate reputation for each combination which could result in different inbox placement, even though the messages are sent from the same sending domain name and IP.

Who should expect shift in inbox placement?
You should if you …
1) Recently changed From Names and have not yet established reputation on the new From Name.
2) Use multiple From Names and the reputation of any combination does not meet Yahoo’s reputation requirements.

In past, if the average reputation of all From Name combinations from the same sending domain name and IP was acceptable, then emails were delivered to the inbox. With this change, if the reputation of any one name within the combination is not acceptable, then your mailing for that combination would no longer be directed to the inbox.

For example, let’s suppose you use the following From Names to deploy emails from the same domain name and IP.

Let’s further suppose the reputations of the first two From Names are acceptable to Yahoo, but that the third From Name is unacceptable. The first two From Names should be delivered to the inbox, while the third From Name is expected to be delivered to the bulk folder.

Would changing the From Name help if the From Name reputation is bad?
It will not help until the new From Name is able to build a positive reputation. If you do not improve your mailing practices, it’s unlikely the new From Name’s reputation will improve. However, if you make positive changes, you should be able to create a new and positive reputation that should improve inbox placement.

Why is Yahoo doing this?
Most senders use different From Names for different segments of their list while mailing off the same IP. Yahoo is rewarding segments that are establishing positive reputations and punishing segments that are not meeting expectations. In the past, if a sender’s average reputation met Yahoo’s requirements, regardless of the From Name, it was acceptable. That is no longer the case.

It’s still early. Yahoo’s reputation requirements just changed. More changes may be coming so it is important to keep a close eye on it. Make a New Year’s Resolution – resolve to monitor your From Name reputation. Resolve to ensure your message gets into the inbox.

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About the Author
Lance Hemenway

Lance Hemenway

Lance is the AdStation Director of Marketing. He's an internet veteran who was a founding member of Intermix Media, the parent company of Myspace.com. Lance serves on the boards of the Bureau of Internet Accessibility and Think Big Kansas City. He's based at the Kansas City headquarters.