Gmail Postmaster Tools – what you need to know

In the last year Google has started offering more support to qualified bulk senders by providing them more insight into their traffic to Gmail, the biggest element of this support is the release of Gmail Postmaster Tools.

The official Gmail blog states: “The Gmail Postmaster Tools help qualified high-volume senders analyze their email, including data on delivery errors, spam reports, and reputation. This way they can diagnose any hiccups, study best practices, and help Gmail route their messages to the right place”

Google frequently refers to “Gmail’s best practices” and how it expects volume senders to behave, as well as offering insight into complaints and why senders might be getting junked, alongside authentication and security checks.

Google provides dashboards, with data on authenticated traffic to Gmail, including:
Spam Rate, Domain Reputation, IP Reputation and your Feedback Loop – if you are on it.

If you are a qualified bulk sender this is a great tool for you to register for. Your ESP cannot do all of this for you as work has to be done on the DNS side to verify yourself, this however isn’t too difficult. If you are with a reputable ESP then they will of course help you out.

The Baby of the Bunch

Google is the youngest of the largest free consumer inbox hosts, with Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL having many years on them.

The original big 3 have evolved their own internal reputation systems from the old Spam Assassin Style content filters and IP blacklists, with historically large in house postmaster teams, to mainly automated, complex algorithms assigning real time reputations to make each sender’s delivery allowance as personalised as possible. Those postmaster teams are now tiny, if they are even postmaster teams at all. It is often noticeable when the more experienced of the two AOL postmasters goes in holiday…

Being so much younger than the other three, Google has had the the chance to benefit from the others’ experience and more importantly, having the best content algorithms means Google’s content filters could be as good or even better from a least day two.

Bearing in mind that Gmail evolved from one Google’s staff projects, it only lost it’s beta status in 2009 after 5 years in public use, being drip fed out through the classic Google invite method.

Now with the well established Google Apps, and Android users needing a Gmail account, Litmus’ gives the GMail email apps 25% of the market share, and that doesn’t include the Google Apps customers using email clients such as Outlook.

AOL and Hotmail have had their own feedback loop for a long time, and Yahoo initially jumped on Return Path’s not too long ago and are now putting us through a hazy transition to their own. Yahoo and AOL have had whitelists for a while, AOL have a reputation lookup tool and Hotmail has the universally loved SNDS, plus the not so adored SRD. All the while Gmail has offered nothing apart from the little explanation in the junk folder as to why the email was there and that’s fairly new.

Google has recently upped their game, offering a Feedback loop and year ago, to revealing more about their reputation algorithm alongside Hotmail, AOL & Comcast at the EEC’s EEC this year, and now they have released the Gmail Postmaster Tools.

Google has since added more information on how their famed machine learning has evolved into using what they are referring to as an artificial neural network to make everything better and faster, including how they qualify and file your emails.

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