Podcast interview with Matthew Vernhout

Podcast interview with Matthew Vernhout

Matthew Vernhout (@emailkarma) is the Principal Email Advisor with Email Industries, where he offers guidance, advice and consulting to clients. With a deep commitment to combating email-related challenges, Matthew holds the role of Secretary at the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE.org).

In addition to his leadership roles, Matthew holds influential positions as the Communications Chair at the AuthIndicators Working Group (BIMIGroup.org) and the Training Vice Chair of the Messaging, Malware, Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG). He also serves as Chairperson Emeritus at the ANA’s Email Experience Council and as a Board member for the Video Games Ethics Trust and Safety group (VGETS), showcasing his broad industry involvement.

Matthew is the visionary founder of the Canadian Email Summit (emailsummit.ca), co-founder of Privacy Summit North (privacysummitnorth.ca) and the EmailDojo (emaildojo.io). Recognized as the 2019 EEC Thought Leader of the Year, he holds the distinction of being a Certified International Privacy Professional (Canada) (CIPP/C), underscoring his expertise in privacy matters.

As a sought-after speaker, Matthew frequently addresses audiences at global email marketing and technology conferences, sharing his invaluable insights on industry trends and developments. His celebrated blog, EmailKarma.net, serves as a platform for thought leadership and expert commentary.

Video from the podcast:


00:00 Introduction and Importance of Domain Reputation

06:41 Matthew’s Background and Journey into Email

12:13 Deliverability Confusion and Email Sender Knowledge

18:14 Roles of Email Platforms and Technology Providers

23:11 Yahoo and Google’s Authentication Enforcement Announcement

27:41 BIMI and the Benefits of Brand Indicators

30:51 Unsubscription Tools and Header Changes Implementation

33:34 Subscription Centers and AI Consultants in Deliverability

35:44 The Potential of AI in Email Delivery

37:48 Speaker 2’s Experience and Knowledge in Email Marketing

40:13 Understanding Data and Privacy in Deliverability

41:45 Speaker 2’s Online Handles and Upcoming Events


email deliverability, domain reputation, email lists, email service providers, Yahoo subscription center, global email senders, startups, network engineering, software development, email company, network operations, deliverability issues, rate limiting, blocking, ISP relations, understanding deliverability, campaign performance, data team collaboration, consent, implied consent, expressed consent, data regulations, data collection, data source, invest in deliverability consulting, prevention, resolution, email platforms, roles of platforms and email senders, ESP guidelines, MOG best practices, ESP handbook, authentication enforcement, SPF, DKIM, DMARC, TLS, accuracy in filtering mail, domain reputation, Yahoo feedback loops, Google postmaster data, acceptable threshold for complaints, support policies, mailbox providers, BIMI, brand indicators, authentication through DKIM and DMARC, VMC, trademark ownership, logo display, generic certificate, self-asserted logos, easy unsubscription, AI consultants, confirmed opt-in, DMARC implementation, domain reputation management, DMARC reporting, BIMI Group, header changes, list unsubscribe, mailbox provider requirements, Google image profiles, Mark Certificate (MMC), trademark approval, adoption period, Google profiles, sender avatars, email authentication, enforcement with DMARC, BIMI implementation, VMC pricing, logo display in email clients, BIMI adoption, updating logos, mailbox provider support, AI in email delivery, audience management, GDPR, privacy legislation, data management, AI and delivery professionals, privacy and data in delivery, AI training, Matthew Bernhout, deliverability week, email delivery professionals, deliverability blogs, #DeliverabilityWeek

Key Points & Insights

Understanding email deliverability is crucial for email marketers to ensure their messages reach the inbox.

Data quality is a significant factor in email deliverability, including permission practices, data sources, and proper tracking.

ESPs handle the technical aspects of email delivery, while senders are responsible for data management and content.

Yahoo and Gmail’s joint sender guidelines emphasize authentication, list-unsubscribe headers, and low spam complaint thresholds.

BIMI allows senders to display their logos in email clients, but requires proper authentication and trademarked logos.

AI may assist in areas like throttling, rate limiting, and audience segmentation, but human expertise is still needed for nuanced deliverability issues.

Deliverability professionals must have a broad understanding of various industries, privacy regulations, and best practices.

Key Findings

Email deliverability is a complex process involving technical, data, and content factors.

Proper authentication (SPF, DKIM, DMARC) and domain reputation are essential for inbox placement.

Yahoo and Gmail’s guidelines aim to improve the email experience for their users by enforcing authentication and easy unsubscribe options.

BIMI adoption is growing slowly, but it offers branding opportunities for senders with trademarked logos.

AI can augment deliverability efforts but is unlikely to replace human expertise in the near future.

Deliverability professionals must stay updated on industry best practices, regulations, and evolving technologies.


“If you don’t have at least a baseline of some deliverability understanding and the process that gets a message from point A to point B and all the steps in between, you have to have at least a basic understanding of that.” – Matthew Vernhout


M3AAWG (Messaging, Malware, Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group) Sender Best Practices

Yahoo/Gmail Sender Guidelines Announcement

BIMI Group (Brand Indicators for Message Identification)

Email Deliverability Week (Mid-June) #deliverabilityweek


the transcript is AI-generated. expect some typos

This podcast is brought to you by Data Media, email deliverability and email marketing consulting services. If you

[00:00:17.00] – Sella Yoffe
a poor domain reputation, you won’t see a list unsubscribe header. They’re they’re not building these tools to enable you to sort of wash your list. For good senders, they wanna make it really easy for their customers to manage their profile. And, like, in Yahoo, they have a subscription center. So you can actually go into your Yahoo mail and look at the subscription center and see every message you’re subscribed to that has a list on subscribe and click on unsubscribe button even if you haven’t got the email in your inbox.

[00:00:42.00] – Sella Yoffe
Hello and welcome to episode number five of email geeks dot show. The podcast where once a month, the leading email experts share their knowledge about email marketing, email deliverability, and marketing. My name is Sala Iofe, and I’m an email deliverability consultant. I’m working with global email senders, startups, and email service providers on improving their email deliverability, email authentication, and email strategy. I’m the host of this podcast. Hello to Matthew Verhnhout. You’re a founder, an author, a podcast host, a public speaker, a digital marketing and privacy advocate. This is, what, your LinkedIn headline said, But can you tell us, more about your background and how did you got into email?

[00:01:36.79] – Matthew Vernhout
Yeah. So like many people, I tripped and fell into email by mistake.

[00:01:43.29] – Sella Yoffe
Everyone tells that.

[00:01:44.59] – Matthew Vernhout
Yeah. It’s not that career path that came up with. No one

[00:01:47.90] – Sella Yoffe
intentionally got into email.

[00:01:49.50] – Matthew Vernhout
That kind of was. So I went I went to school for network engineering and and software development. And, my first job at a college didn’t last very long. There was, some communication issues, etcetera, that happened. And then I got this job working with my sister’s roommate, and, he worked for this little email company here in Toronto. And I started in the network operations because that’s what I went to school for was, you know, networking and and such. So, throughout working at that, eventually I became in charge of systems and making sure that the systems were were operating. And when mail queues get full, guess what? It becomes a systems issue. And then it became my issue to solve. So I got really good at solving deliverability issues with rate limiting and blocking, etcetera. And that sort of evolved into, at the time, what was called ISP relations, which, you know, over the last twenty years has evolved into deliverability. And, you know, I’ve done it currently, I think, like, five different ESPs plus two different consulting companies, plus some of my stuff on my own on my own time. So over that time, that’s kinda how I got into deliverability. But, you know, really by mistake and through, opportunity, I would say.

[00:03:19.19] – Sella Yoffe
Deliverability is kind of confusing. What do you think that, email senders should know about deliverability? Sometimes it’s even confusing delivery. I got it.

[00:03:30.40] – Matthew Vernhout
Great delivery. Delivery is definitely confusing for a lot of people. You know, even there’s still days twenty something years later that I get confused about deliverability. Yeah. You know, so I think why people should at least know a little bit about deliverability. Right? As an email marketer, what’s your number one goal? To get a message to your consumer in their inbox so that they can open, click, engage, complete whatever your call to action is. And if you don’t have at least a a baseline of some deliverability understanding and the process that, you know, gets a message from point a to point b and all the sort of steps in between, you have to have at least a basic understanding of that so that you can watch, first off, you know, is my campaign performing right? Secondly, am I getting the results I should be? And if you have a problem, you know, what are some simple things you could start with, in order to resolve those problems? Now the other piece as a deliverability professional that people need to understand is make friends with your data team because your data is typically the thing that’s gonna cause the problems with your delivery. So, you know, in in a roundabout way, I’ve actually even become a bit of a data scientist in regards to fixing delivery issues. So all those pieces are tied together, and that’s that piece that you need to understand when it comes to delivery. First, First, the technical, then the data

[00:05:03.50] – Sella Yoffe
side. By by data issues, it’s it’s quite, generic. Can you get more deep in into this, topic?

[00:05:11.30] – Matthew Vernhout
Data quality for sure. So, you know, where are the addresses you’re getting coming from? Right? That’s a big one. You know, are they properly permissioned? Do people understand they’re going to be receiving email? Are you tracking that permission, properly? So, you know, thinking about from the Canadian anti spam legislation. Right? We have, in theory, two levels of consent. An implied consent, meaning you have a business relationship with the company, you’ve purchased, you’ve subscribed, you’ve subscribed, you’ve done something to engage in a relationship with that company. The second one is an expressed consent, which is a higher level of consent, but they have different data regulations associated with them. And applied consent only lasts for twenty four months from the last interaction or last qualifying action of an existing business for which so twenty four months from your last purchase, for example.

[00:06:00.39] – Sella Yoffe
Got it.

[00:06:03.30] – Matthew Vernhout
So first off, being able to track the difference between whether it’s an applied consent or an expressed consent. Understanding, did it come through a contest? Did it come through a specific web form? Did it come through a specific partner potentially that you’ve been working with? When you look at data from those points of view and you’re able to track back and say, why is this dataset performing significantly better or significantly worse? Because I’ve seen both. Then you can make intelligent decisions on is that data something you want to continue using? Maybe invest more in, if it’s really good, or invest less in, if it’s not performing the way you want it to. So understanding your data and understanding how the stream of inbound to outbound to the customer works also helps fix delivery issues.

[00:06:55.10] – Sella Yoffe
How do you convince, email senders to to invest in deliverability consulting? Because it’s something very vague sometimes.

[00:07:04.80] – Matthew Vernhout
Yeah. So, there’s sort of there’s sort of two opportunities major opportunities. The first one is, you know, they do something wrong and get block listed. Right? That’s a really easy sell. Right? I can’t deliver mail. I need help. Right? That’s your easy option. The harder option is the idea of, you know, an ounce of prevention that you spend the time working

[00:07:31.69] – Sella Yoffe

[00:07:31.80] – Matthew Vernhout
prevent an issue is significantly cheaper than trying to resolve the issue. Right? So and and I say that because when you’re trying to resolve the issue, you’re probably not making money because you’re not delivering mail, and you’re paying a consultant at the same time to help you fix it. So you have a double sort of decline in revenue. You’re paying somebody and you’re not making money. If you prevent, you know, a little bit with a little bit of consulting and figure out where your problem areas are and address those, you prevent those periods where you’re not able to send mail or you’re not able to spend, make money through email.

[00:08:15.10] – Sella Yoffe
You know, there are many many email platforms, out there. Everyone has a different approach to email deliverability, you know, managing their servers, preventing abuse, assigning, IP space to sender, etcetera. From deliverability standpoint, and I just wrote an article for the OI blog about the topic, can can you highlight the roles of the platforms and the roles, you know, of the senders, the email senders, the platform users?

[00:08:45.39] – Matthew Vernhout
Sure. So high level from the platform point of view, you know, they’re in charge of what I would call the technology part of it. Right? Database management, MTA management, IP management, authentication. So it’s the the platform’s job to do sort of all the heavy lifting from a technology point of view of targeting, segmentation, you know, obviously with input from the client, but all of the the technology part of actually sending the message. The client’s responsibility is the data the data. Where is the data coming from? Data management. So how are they they, enforcing, you know, whether it’s expiry or suppression or things like that. The content being sent in regards to, you know, is it content that’s gonna run it resonate with their subscribers. And so that’s really sort of the the split. Right? Is the the technology piece, let the technology vendor deal with that. The actual marketing efforts and the data behind the marketing efforts, that’s the brand. And and majority of the responsibility for delivery sits on the brand side. Very rarely do you end up with delivery issues as a result of something your technology provider is doing. Other than, you know, maybe other clients are influencing that, that’s also a possibility. But again, that’s a technology provider issue. They need to police their clients to make sure that they’re not seeing bleed over in reputation or, you know, excessive blocking as a result of other client action. You know, so that would be where I would say that another responsibility is is keeping your network clean. That’s a network owner responsibility from the technology side. But, you know, the data is really the client responsibility and the targeting and the actual marketing.

[00:10:38.50] – Sella Yoffe
In a minute, we will talk about senders guidelines. Are there any ESP guidelines? Because I see different ESPs with totally different approach on how to manage their MTAs, their clients vetting processes, and so on.

[00:10:55.29] – Matthew Vernhout
Yeah. There there actually is an ESP sort of handbook, if you will. Okay. Or best practice document. So, the Mobile Messaging Malware Anti Abuse Working Group, or MOG, as people refer to it. MOG. Mhmm. Has a living document that’s been iterated probably five or six times, written by the community, mostly by ESPs working, working together to come up with best practices around vetting clients, network management, authentication solutions, and how you manage them. And these are updated every every eighteen to twenty four months. They get looked at. They’re available on the the Mog website, as well. So if you’re an ESP out there or if you’re a sender and you wanna see what ESPs think sort of a baseline should be, you can go and find the MOG sender best practices documents.

[00:11:51.70] – Sella Yoffe
You see, we’re we’re always learning. I I wasn’t aware of that, document, and I believe that, the local ESPs here are unaware of that document. So Yeah.

[00:12:04.89] – Matthew Vernhout
Absolutely. And I think, you know, it’s it’s certainly something it’s like I said, it’s been a living document at least fifteen years. So it’s it’s been around. It’s been iterated, and it really does target ESPs. They call it sender best practices, so maybe people think it’s for marketers, but it’s actually for networks. It’s for ESPs.

[00:12:27.00] – Sella Yoffe
Jim Ellingau said in a joint, announcement that they have a new sender’s guidelines. Even before that, change that got the funny name, Yahooge, Gmail said that they can filter emails and spam with an impressive ninety nine point nine accuracy. So my question is, why change and why now?

[00:12:51.60] – Matthew Vernhout
Yeah. So let’s let’s, like, take two seconds. So, back in October of twenty twenty three, Yahoo and Google jointly announced that they were going to enforce, authentication on sender. So SPF, DKIM, DMARC, in regards to any email being sent to their network for a bulk sender. So, you know, the number turned around was over five thousand messages. Mhmm. And those changes were scheduled to come into force starting in February, and then there was another benchmark in April, and then there’s another benchmark in May. So over time, they’re basically going to say, you know, we’re starting this, and we’re tightening down the screws as we go, so it’s not an overnight change, give people time to adjust and adapt. On top of that, they also said one click list unsubscribe present. And there was a few other sort of technical things, TLS and and and such that needed to be implemented. But again, that’s a technology thing I think that lives with your ESP. It’s not something a brand necessarily needs to work. But is it TLS? I don’t know. Right? Your ESP should take care of that. So those changes have come into play. And like you said, Google has announced, you know, ninety nine point nine nine percent accuracy. So the one thing there, like, when you’re talking billions of messages, and I don’t remember exactly, you know, the number, but for, you know, it’s somewhere north of ten billion messages. Right? So if you’re looking at ninety nine point nine nine percent accuracy on ten billion, you’re still letting a lot of mail through. Now you can make that ninety nine point nine nine nine percent. You make a huge difference in regards to the quality of traffic that you’re allowing into the network. So, you know, moving the needle from eighty five percent to eighty seven percent is a lot easier than moving the needle from ninety nine point nine nine percent to ninety nine point nine nine nine percent. So every little incremental step you can take, such as authentication, is something you, you know, is gonna be a huge difference for them. The other side is domain reputation is such a big piece of the Yahoo and Google infrastructure. Right? Yahoo bases their feedback loops on it. Mhmm. Google faces pay, their Google postmaster, all that data from Google postmaster is based on DKIM keys. And it was really a way to enforce inbound mail to their needs in regards to how do we build reputation, how do we maintain reputation, and how do we sort of implement that piece? And I think by slowly rolling out the requirement to say you must do this, it allows them to gather the data they need and and enforce their policies just this much better.

[00:15:33.20] – Sella Yoffe
Yeah. They have another requirement, also not so new regarding, very low spam threshold. And they got the the number out. Can can you tell us more about it?

[00:15:47.70] – Matthew Vernhout
Yeah. So, you know, a lot of times and and it’s been sort of, you know, as a deliverability professional, we used to say one per thousand. Right? One complaint per thousand was sort of acceptable. When you started to approach that three complaints per thousand or or more, that’s when you start to see delivery issues. And as part of this sort of announcement, Google and Yahoo sort of drew a line in the sand and said, okay, you know, point three percent is our threshold. We’re not gonna allow you to go above that. And if you do go above that, then, you know, you’re looking at you’re likely going to have delivery issues. To the other side of that, they also said, you know, if you’re not following these best practices, if you’re getting too many complaints, if you’re not authenticating them, we’re not gonna help you with support tickets. Right? So they basically said, you must be this tall to ride. If you’re not this tall, we’re not gonna help. And and I think that’s that’s a pretty bold move from both of them. Because Yahoo historically has been one of the best your mailbox providers to work with in regards to getting support, getting clarity of information, getting access to feedback data. And Google, on the other hand, has been remarkably silent when you open support tickets. But they’ve also said, you know, if you meet the requirements, they will offer you support, which is a huge change for them as well. So I think, you know, all around good things from that point of view. And I think putting a a line in the sand so senders know if I’m getting a one percent complaint right, I’m doing something very wrong. If I’m getting a point one percent complaint right, I’m probably in through that average because people complain about everything. Right? Whether they’ve opted in or not, I’ve seen complaints on confirmed opt in mail. So, you know, certainly, you’re gonna get a few complaints. It’s when you get too many complaints that’s the problem.

[00:17:36.29] – Sella Yoffe
That, joint, announcement and approach is, very rare in the industry. Do you think that, other mailbox providers will join? I know the they did ask other mailbox provider to join, but, are are there are they joining?

[00:17:55.29] – Matthew Vernhout
Publicly, I don’t I don’t know of necessarily any announcements that they publicly joined the list, if you will. But I think when you see that, you know, two of the three largest mailbox providers on the planet basically say you must do this. Everyone does. Right? So I don’t think someone like Comcast or, Geomass needs to come out and say you must do this because they just see the benefit of it. Right? Yeah. So there there is that rising tide lifts all boats theory. And, yeah, I think others are gonna reap the benefits of it, whether they publicly say they’re gonna support it or not. And I I think that’s a good thing.

[00:18:39.29] – Sella Yoffe
You know, we we’re always saying that, deliverability has some, pillars. The IP space, the IP reputation, maybe the second major pillar is domain reputation. I do see some email platforms even after that, Yahooagle announcement still suggesting, you know, senders don’t get complicated with email sending. Do everything under our domain. I see platforms like I think that I’ve seen Substack and Beehive and the especially platform that are focusing on newsletters Uh-huh. Suggesting use our domain. It’s fully authenticated obviously, but it’s also sharing the the reputation. What’s your opinion about it?

[00:19:32.90] – Matthew Vernhout
Yeah. I think for, you know, for really small senders, you know, maybe individual creators, it might be beneficial to use a shared network as long as it’s fully authenticated and such. And there are opportunities for SaaS providers to at least enable custom send subdomains for their clients in cases like that. And I’ve worked with, you know, I’ve worked with several SaaS providers to set up that exact, you know, customer dot SaaS provider dot com. Right?

[00:20:06.50] – Sella Yoffe

[00:20:07.20] – Matthew Vernhout
As their their mailing domain. So they at least get a subdomain reputation. But with that, you do run the risk of group reputation as well. Yeah. And it only takes a few bad actors to really sort of drive a reputation in a negative space. So I would say proceed with caution. If you’re really small, it might make sense. If you’re, you know, becoming that sort of, you know, if you’re, if you’re hitting five thousand subscribers a day, it’s time to invest the ten dollars a year to buy a domain. It’s time to invest in, you know, a proper website, a proper domain name, a proper email. You know, if you’re conducting business and you’re sending five thousand messages a day and hotmail dot com is your primary email address, you know, you’re probably making enough money to spend ten dollars a year to buy a domain, at least for email.

[00:21:04.00] – Sella Yoffe
Another part of Yahoo Girl, sender guidelines is, to add the demark policy, but I do see many email platforms suggest, that, senders should add, what we call a useless DMARC policy without, the r RUA, without reporting. For for me, it’s, absurd, but, you know

[00:21:28.90] – Matthew Vernhout
Why do why do it halfway? Right? There are there are lots of services to help get you started that offer free tiers for small senders. Mhmm. And, you know, if you’re if you’re a big enough company, you can find a vendor that’s not gonna charge you so much money that doing DMARC is is not relevant. You know, I own several very small personal domains that send, you know, several hundred email a month. Not even. Right? Some of them said no email. But I’ve implemented DMARC with reporting on all of them. And one just the, just this yeah. Just yesterday, I got my weekly status report from my DMARC vendor. And one domain that I’ve not sent any email from in the last week had about a thousand messages all blocked because of theme park failures. And you know, it just proves to me time and time again that no matter how small you are, you can be targeted for spoofing, your domain can be abused, which can impact your reputation. And I would much rather want to know that it’s happening than be in the dark with a a useless none policy that basically says take no action, but I checked the box. Right? At least tell me if there’s a problem.

[00:22:43.40] – Sella Yoffe

[00:22:43.79] – Matthew Vernhout
And, you know, there’s nothing saying that six months from now, Google and Yahoo come out and say, now you have to have an RUA. It’s already a recommended setting. It’s just not a required setting. Honestly, the other part to it is I think ESPs kinda need to stay out of the DMARC space and telling their customers how to set it up. Because I’ve seen cases where an ESP says set it up, and then it causes problems because now you have two records. Because the device is copy and paste. Or, you know, the record gets removed. They might have had a none policy record, and they go back or sorry. A reject policy record or quarantine, and they go back and they update it to a none policy. Right. So advise, yes. Stick your head in and say, set this record up. It’s confusing the customers when they already do demark.

[00:23:37.40] – Sella Yoffe
Let’s talk about, it’s like, SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and we always ask what’s above and, by that I mean, BIMI. And I know you have some interesting, another role, at, the BIMI Group. Can you tell us more of what’s BIMI, what’s BIMI Group? And, especially why, senders should invest in, BIMI.

[00:24:07.00] – Matthew Vernhout
Yeah. So what BIMI allows you to do so the brand indicators for message identification, BIMI. Mhmm. What it allows you to do is when you’ve properly authenticated your mail and and really focusing on on DKIM and DMARC authentication. Right? SPF is is nice to have, but honestly, DKIM if you if you could DKIM and DMARC, you can do BIMI. And what it basically says is you’ve taken the time to authenticate your mail. You’ve taken the opportunity to move to a enforcement policy with TMARK. So you have to be at least quarantined.

[00:24:43.50] – Sella Yoffe

[00:24:43.79] – Matthew Vernhout
And you can then have the opportunity to put your logo in the email client. So it’ll show up next to your your email name. It’ll have your branded logo. There are sort of two different levels of that currently as well. There is a self assorted logo, which means you did not buy a VMC, and you basically said, here’s my logo. I’ve done demark the way I need to. Some mailbox providers will show that logo in certain situations. So Yahoo will show it on commercial mail, but not personal mail. For example, without a VMC. Whereas providers like Google and Apple require a VMC to basically say we’re going to show your logo. And in order to get a VMC, you have to have a trademark. You have to prove you have the trademark. You have to buy a certificate, which is, you know, anywhere from again, this price might change. I have no influence on the price. Even as a member of the gaming group, we can’t influence the price because it’s done by the providers. You know, they run anywhere from a thousand to fifteen hundred dollars a year US. So Mhmm. It’s not cheap, but at the same time, if you’re a big brand and you want your logo to display, a hundred bucks a month probably isn’t gonna break your bank. But, again, you know, as more providers come on board, as more certs get, issued, prices may also decrease over time. But, yeah, once you’ve done that, you can put your logo in the email client. People will see that logo in, you know, in the mobile list next to the name, you’ll be able to see the logos. So if you think about your Yahoo mailbox on Yahoo mobile, you see the the sort of avatar with maybe an initial of the sender, that would be replaced with the sender’s logo. Same with Google, when you open the email next to your name, you know, I’m looking at the email you sent me, yesterday. It just has an s next to your name. But if you had gone and done the demark and the VMC and all of that, it would put your brand logo next to it. So there there’s opportunity there. And, yeah, we are absolutely seeing sort of a very slow but steady growth in brands implementing BIMI and brands implementing BIMI within VMC.

[00:26:50.70] – Sella Yoffe
I tell you what I would do, but that’s me. I would open the gates for, you know, an adoption period. You got everyone, you know, due to the journey, more domains will got, well authenticated, got into enforcement with DMARC, And, VMC might be the end goal, you know, for every brand, but, let’s allow everyone that, because I I I now can do fake it until you make it, sort of thing with, a Google account.

[00:27:28.90] – Matthew Vernhout
Well, and that’s changing. Lots of people have recently said that’s no longer working. Right? And I would expect that to continue to decline in in support over time. So, you know, Google profiles no longer exist from the Google plus pages. Right? Mhmm. So updating those logos becomes a little more complicated. And support for that, because it’s easily spoofable, is also becoming a much bigger challenge. So Google is actually putting up additional roadblocks for Google image profile.

[00:27:57.90] – Sella Yoffe
You know, know,

[00:27:58.09] – Matthew Vernhout
know, know, it’s certainly something that’s been talked about in the email geek Slack, time and time again that, oh, I used to see my logo, now I don’t. What happened? But what the BIMI group is actually working on is, you know, where VMCs are sort of that pinnacle, trademark logo VMC, you know. Yeah. It it was always our plan to look at different tiers. So, you know, right now, there is a a beta test of of, mark certificates, MMC is I think what we’re calling them. And what that basically is. So like my logo here, right? My Emacarma logo, I don’t technically own a trademark. I own a copyright on it. Okay. And I’ve been able I could prove that for the last seventeen years, I’ve used this logo exclusively for my brand, Email Karma, and, I could qualify for an MMC based on the the copyright because I have extended use that’s uncontested, etcetera. Right?

[00:29:01.40] – Sella Yoffe
And this is without the VMC?

[00:29:03.00] – Matthew Vernhout
This this yes. But it would be an MMC is what it would be. So the the mark certificate would then enable, like a a second tier. And it could also be good for someone who’s, you know, a new business that’s waiting for their trademark to be approved. They can get an MMC while they’re waiting for their trademark to be approved, and then they could upgrade to a VMC. The third option that, you know, could be in the future, again, if you start with security solutions at the bottom, getting people to move up is always hard. But if you start at the top and relax as you go, it’s a lot easier to get people to adopt. And so start at the top with BMC, then MMC, and then maybe we move to sort of a generic cert. So like a restaurant could say, I wanna put a little, you know, hamburger soft drink icon because I’m a restaurant, but I don’t own a trademark. I don’t own our logo, like, that kind of thing. So there’s the possibility in the future of a generic logo mark that would be a classification of a type of business as opposed to a specific logo.

[00:30:10.90] – Sella Yoffe

[00:30:12.09] – Matthew Vernhout
And that’s even where where self asserted logos come in. Right? Like if I if you were to go and look up the the BIMI record for email karma dot net, you would see it’s a self asserted logo. Right?

[00:30:23.50] – Sella Yoffe

[00:30:24.09] – Matthew Vernhout
And it’s basically me saying, yep. Here’s my logo. Some places may display it, other places won’t. But it’s me putting sort of that stake in the ground of this is my logo. If you wanna display it, display it.

[00:30:37.50] – Sella Yoffe
To cover one, one more, important thing that, is basically part of that, news Yahoo, new sender guidelines is the easy unsubscription. And, as we’re recording, this podcast, I think that, you know, they it got delayed and now it’s, you know, ESPs should, finish, implementing all the header changes. I think it’s tomorrow, two days from now. At the beginning of, Yeah.

[00:31:12.40] – Matthew Vernhout
June June first. Yeah.

[00:31:14.09] – Sella Yoffe
June first. Yeah.

[00:31:16.59] – Matthew Vernhout
And again, is that a hard deadline? We’ll see We’ll see if mail starts bouncing, if it’s not there, June first. So list unsubscribe, there is an RFC for list unsubscribe, but there’s also an RFC, which is an internet standard, if you don’t know what RFC stands for. That basically says, if you build the header in this manner with these tags, the mailbox provider can offer it unsubscribe button and enable a very quick unsubscribe for consumers. And actually Google has been using the list on subscribe for quite some time before even in this announcement. So the one click wasn’t required at the time, but now it is. You know, if someone had reported a message to spam, it would say, do you also wanna unsubscribe? So it would give the consumer the option to say, unsubscribe me from this or just report it to spam. And as a delivery professional, you know, I will take a thousand unsubscribes over one complaint every day. Right? We want people that are no longer interested in mail to unsubscribe. So making it easy, is is definitely the way to go. And, you know, having talked with the team at Google and having talked with the team at Yahoo for for several years, their main function is customer satisfaction. Their customer. And it’s how do they make it easier for their customers to interact with mail and stop the stuff they don’t want, but keep getting the stuff they do want. So they don’t wanna block Mhmm. Good marketing. They wanna, you know, make it easy for consumers to stop good marketing and block bad marketing.

[00:32:58.40] – Sella Yoffe
Obviously, you have to have a deking on on that, header, but, also it related to the domain reputation. So abusers, spammers are very good in email authentication. So as we know, so, if your domain reputation is not so well, you can’t go get away with the the easy unsubscription.

[00:33:21.50] – Matthew Vernhout
Oh, yeah. Absolutely. It’s very

[00:33:23.00] – Sella Yoffe
it’s very interesting approach.

[00:33:25.20] – Matthew Vernhout
Yeah. If if you have a poor domain reputation, you won’t see a list on subscribe header. Right? They’re they’re not building these tools to enable you to sort of wash your list. They want to make it like I said, for good senders, they wanna make it really easy for their customers to, manage their profile. And, like, in Yahoo, they have a subscription center. So you can actually go into your Yahoo mail and look at the subscription center and see every message you’re subscribed to that has a list on subscribe and click on unsubscribe button, even if you haven’t got the email in your inbox. Google is coming out with a subscription center as well to make it easy to see all the newsletters you’re subscribed to. And in one place, you can go unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe if you want. And, again, that’s a a response to consumers requesting better tools to manage subscriptions.

[00:34:15.19] – Sella Yoffe
You know, the rumor is, that, AI is coming to take everyone’s jobs, you know. Do you think, there is a risk for us in, the deliverability space for, with almighty deliverability AI consultant or something like that?

[00:34:34.00] – Matthew Vernhout
I mean, no. I I at this moment, no. I’m not gonna say never. I’m not gonna say never, but at this moment, no. So, you know, having done this job long enough, you see repeated issues. Mhmm. But each time each time the issue is repeated, the fix is different. So there’s no formula that you can go through really that says take these six steps and the problem goes away. Right? Right. You could say, you know, just reconfirm your list every time you have delivery issue, confirmed opt in only, like, it’s gonna reduce the chance. But it’s never gonna stop things completely.

[00:35:11.09] – Sella Yoffe

[00:35:11.80] – Matthew Vernhout
There is a nuance to correcting delivery issues that I don’t know if you could train an AI to do that. I think where we will see AI and deliverability will be things around adjusting throttling, adjusting rate limits.

[00:35:29.40] – Sella Yoffe

[00:35:30.09] – Matthew Vernhout
Amalgamating sort of the MX behind the scenes of, you know, Al Iverson, I think, said, you know, Google manages, like, five hundred thousand domains in Google Workspace. Right? As a deliverability professional, I don’t know which all five hundred thousand of those are, but I do know the MX records that Google uses. So I can target the MX records. Well, AI could, in the future, say, all these domains are the same. It doesn’t necessarily need me to go and do that, but I could then work with that AI to say, okay. When you see these patterns, take these actions. The same with Microsoft, same with Yahoo, etcetera. You could then take those and use AI to do smarter, adjustment of delivery from a technical point of view without necessarily the need of human. But human would still need to write the prompts and write the rules behind how the AI should think about those things, at least to start with.

[00:36:31.69] – Sella Yoffe
Yeah. And I I think that, also, some some platforms would would probably make it easier, you know, for in terms of audience management and, you know, choosing the right audience and the dynamic segments. But, Yeah.

[00:36:48.09] – Matthew Vernhout
I think AI to do delivery segments and and better targeting of consumers and better understanding of, the right like we said, the right message at the right time. If you have a million subscribers, you might have a million variations you need to think about. No person can figure that out, but an AI probably could.

[00:37:08.00] – Sella Yoffe
You know, everyone who works with clients, like you and me, it’s it’s gotten to a place that, email marketing is like, you know, doctors and lawyers. There is the expert for every vertical. So I don’t I know enough to understand that, there is email marketing for ecommerce, but I’m not the expert on the topic. Right. So Yeah.

[00:37:33.90] – Matthew Vernhout
You know, email delivery people tend to be a bit more of a generalist role in regards to I know enough about, you know, b to b mailing, enough about b to c mailing, enough about, interacting with different sort of automations and things like that. I I don’t consider myself a marketer, but I’ve been around marketers long enough that I’ve absorbed, you know, policies, procedures, thoughts, programs that have worked really well, programs that have failed remarkably well at the same time. Yeah. So, yeah, I I think, you know, you have to be a bit of a generalist, but, you know, I still focus a lot on that technology piece, having an ESP background. Right? It’s the pieces that I can influence as the vendor, which is the piece between my network and the recipient network. That’s the piece I’m really most interested in. It’d be like saying, you know, I know enough about GDPR to understand the rules, but I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not gonna be able to give advice around legal or around, exact program requirements for these are the ten data points you need to store. But I could talk about it, and my advice is always gonna be run this all past your counsel to make sure it’s kosher with them. Right? And it’s because I have to know enough to talk intelligently about it, which is also why I went and got privacy certified because I wanted to have that background and that education around being, you know, understanding privacy legislation at its core, but understanding privacy legislation slightly better than your average person as well. You know, and it enables me to talk in a way that, is confident, is educated. And most often, because I’ve seen this this from many different viewpoints, a well thought out response to, but how do I deal with this as GDPR? Or how do I deal with this under Canadian anti spam legislation? Or how do I deal with this under CASL? Or under CAN SPAN? Right? Yeah. You have to have that bit of a generalist rule because you’re gonna get those questions as that delivery professional. Is this illegal under whatever law that I’m doing or, you know, responsible for? Yeah. I can’t always answer that question, but I can give some general advice and best practices around remaining compliant. You know, privacy and data management and all of that, that goes back to like my question way at the beginning, right? Mhmm. Of how do you solve delivery issues? You need to understand the data.

[00:40:14.90] – Sella Yoffe

[00:40:15.09] – Matthew Vernhout
And to understand the data, you have to have the privacy part. So it’s all sort of connected.

[00:40:21.40] – Sella Yoffe
It’s an enabler.

[00:40:22.50] – Matthew Vernhout
But not one piece is going to solve all the problems. So I think as a delivery professional, and you might agree with this, you have to tease out the pieces and figure out this piece is causing the problem this time. Whereas with another client, it might be this piece over here is causing the problem. And that’s where, you know, like you said, AI. Is it gonna steal my job? Not not today. Not tomorrow. Ten years from now, maybe. But again, you have to train it to understand which piece in the puzzle is causing the problem.

[00:40:53.90] – Sella Yoffe
I always say say that I can talk with deliverability people two hours, but we all have a hard stop as you said. So I’m curious to know, how people can follow you to learn more from you. You’re, one of the top voices, on the topic of female marketing and deliverability. So how how people can follow you?

[00:41:17.00] – Matthew Vernhout
Yeah. So I I pretty much use the handle email karma everywhere. I’m on, Twitter or x. I’m on YouTube. I don’t have much YouTube content, but I’m there. On Blue Sky. LinkedIn, you can find me under my name, Matthew Bernhout. My website, Emot Karma dot net. Otherwise, I’m kinda I kinda try to use the same handle everywhere. So if you search for Ema Karma, that’s where I’m gonna be, all one word. Right. And, yeah, I can, you know, I’ll give you a note a link for the show notes if you want, where the people Sure.

[00:41:52.40] – Sella Yoffe
Sure. I’ll do that, obviously. Great. Matthew, it’s been a quite a journey and, I’m always, glad to to talk to you. Same on. You have

[00:42:02.09] – Matthew Vernhout
one connect to teach. One one other thing, you know, this year in in end of or mid June, June seventeenth, we’re gonna do deliverability week. So people like you and I are gonna write about deliverability, And there’s, at least, you know, a dozen or so, email delivery professionals from across the spectrum going to be writing about things. So, you know, check out, email delivery week when it happens. And, you know, like you said, it’s gonna be that opportunity to get that baseline

[00:42:39.40] – Sella Yoffe
a website, that, or

[00:42:41.80] – Matthew Vernhout
It’s gonna be a bunch of websites. So I’m gonna, like, follow on social media for for delivery week. I believe that’s the

[00:42:48.19] – Sella Yoffe
hashtag. Deliverability

[00:42:49.50] – Matthew Vernhout
week. Deliverability week. I think that’s the hashtag we’re gonna use. And yeah. So there’s like I said, there’s at least a dozen people that are gonna be writing, and you’ll probably write for the OI blog, or your own blog. I’m gonna write on Email Karma. I know that, Spam Resource, Word to the Wise, and a bunch of other bloggers are also going to be writing about it. So, it’s gonna be a great opportunity to get a ton of delivery knowledge in one week, with Amazing. Like I said, a dozen different viewpoints on on deliverability.

[00:43:21.00] – Sella Yoffe
Amazing. Thanks a lot, Matthew.

[00:43:24.19] – Matthew Vernhout
Thanks very much for having me. Thanks very much.

[00:43:26.59] – Sella Yoffe
Sure. My pleasure.

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