Overview

Email services don’t trust emails spoofed emails from yahoo.com. Send it from your own domain instead and add a reply-to header in your notification email.

The Problem

In the last year, we’ve been getting a lot of reports from our customers that they’re not getting any leads from their website from @yahoo.com or @aol.com addresses. It’s not that the emails were going to the spam folder. Precious leads simply disappeared as if going into a black hole, never to be seen again.

This issue affects any forms that send emails “from” certain email addresses. So far we’ve seen yahoo.com and aol.com domains affected, but there are likely more as email providers try to combat spam. An example email header below:

From: Yahoo Guy <abc123@yahoo.com>
To: Sales Manager <sales_guy@yourdomain.com>
Subject: I’m interested in your product!

This is because email providers have started to reject emails “from” Yahoo and others who have updated to DMARC authentication policy to deny emails that did not actually originate from their servers. In other words, if you didn’t actually send it from your Yahoo.com email account, the email won’t be received.

This is because many publicly accessible contact forms would be filled out by bots and spammers with made up @yahoo.com emails, causing many false positives for spam prevention systems and ruining the reputation of the yahoo.com domain. There was nothing stopping “John” sending nasty emails from his enemy “Matt” by submitting forms online with Matt’s yahoo.com email address, and so many email services simply block those emails now. However, if Matt were to log into his yahoo.com account and send an email to sales_guy@yourdomain.com, it would get there with no problems.

The Solution (Part 1)

The solution for website owners is quite simple, but it introduces a minor inconvenience.

When configuring email notifications from your lead forms, don’t use the submitter’s email address for the “from” address. Use something from your own domain name, such as “noreply@gaslampmedia.com” or “notifications@gaslampmedia.com”, and include the submitter’s email address as part of the subject or body of the email. This gets around the DMARC policy.

Now your email will look something like this:

From: noreply@yourdomain.com
To: Sales Manager <sales_guy@yourdomain.com>
Subject: I’m interested in your product!
Body: Yahoo Guy (abc123@yahoo.com) is interested in your product.

However, now you have the inconvenience of having to copy and paste the email address from the body into a new email. If you’re like most people, your natural inclination is to hit the “reply” button and start writing up an awesome response email right away. But then you realize you’re now replying to “noreply@yourdomain.com” instead of the prospect’s email, or you don’t and you get a bounced email error immediately after hitting send to a non-existent address.

The Solution (Part 2)

Make life a little easier for your sales team by introducing the “Reply-To” email header and set that to the submitter’s email. Now your email notifications will look like this:

From: noreply@yourdomain.com
Reply-To: Yahoo Guy <abc123@yahoo.com>
To: Sales Manager <sales_guy@yourdomain.com>
Subject: I’m interested in your product!
Body: Yahoo Guy (abc123@yahoo.com) is interested in your product.

Now when you click on “reply”, it will go to the specified “Reply-To” address instead of the “From” address.

No more lost leads and the convenience of replying in one click. Winner, winner.

Reply-To Headers for select platforms

WordPress

  • Contact Form 7  Add the following to the “Additional Headers” field:
    • Reply-to: [your-name] <[your-email]>
  • Formidable – Settings > Form Actions > Email Notifications, fill in the “Reply to” field

Drupal

  • Webform: Install the Webform Reply To module to enable the field in your webform emails.

 

One Response to “The Case of the Disappearing Yahoo.com leads”

  1. jgh

    nice post

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