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Gmail changes make email authentication even more critical

What changed?

Google rolled out a change to its popular Gmail interface that now shows the true sender of an email message. It basically takes the message headers and uses that to display the actual sender of the email (often a third party marketing solution). While consumers may not be phased by this when receiving bulk email from a large brand, imagine how it looks when nurturing emails sent on behalf of sales reps show up as being sent by your third-party email vendor. Many recipients may not notice the extra information, but to the ones that do, it makes the message appear to be a lot less genuine.

Gmail Starts Showing 3rd Party Sender Info

Why did Google make this change?

According to their help site, if you receive an email with a “via” link at the top, it means that “Gmail detected that the email was sent via another mail service. This means that the sender may be using a third-party email service to generate this message. For example, the message may have been sent through a social networking site which offers an email service or sent through a mailing list that you’re subscribed to.

Gmail displays this information because many of the services that send emails on behalf of others don’t verify that the name that the sender gives matches that email address. We want to protect you against misleading messages from people pretending to be someone you know.”

Impact on B2B

You may argue that Gmail is primarily a B2C client so the change will have a limited impact on B2C marketing automation. Not so fast — Google Enterprise (Google Apps) has been steadily gaining steam (we use it at Pardot!) and is becoming more and more of a factor in B2B everyday.

How can I prevent my recipients from seeing the “via” link?

Pardot allows you to set up SPF, SenderID, and DKIM email authentication, which let ISPs like Google know that you have authorized us to send email on your behalf. According to their documentation, “Gmail checks whether emails are correctly authenticated. If your messages are sent by a bulk mailing vendor or by third-party affiliates, please publish an SPF record that includes the IPs of the vendor or affiliates which send your messages. Or, you may consider signing your messages with a DKIM signature that is associated with your domain.” To check to see if you have already enabled email authentication for your Pardot account, simply go to Administration. If you haven’t and need help, please do not hesitate to contact our support team.

Read the full article from Gmail Help