2024 Changes to Email. Are You Compliant? - Sender Requirements

2024 is upon us. And with a new year, come new sender requirements for email, mainly spearheaded by Google and Yahoo. In October 2023, they announced sender requirement changes to protect their users against spam and generally improve the UX. This is a good thing for everyone involved, but it requires a bit of work to stay compliant. These changes will go into effect as of February 1, 2024.

IMPORTANT: If you have contacts that use an @gmail or @yahoo email address, this change will impact you. It will also impact you if they use Google Workspace emails, which are harder to spot. And in any case, other providers will probably follow suit in due course. Best to get ahead of the changes now. Also, don’t send from @gmail.com & @yahoo.com, or in the future, other domains that you don’t own (like @outlook.com, …). Inboxes will start to refuse these emails if they are used for programmatic email sending in the near future.

Here’s all you need to know and do:

  1. Authenticate your email
  2. Make unsubscribing easier (in the header)
  3. Stay below the spam threshold

Let’s dive into what Plunk has done to adhere to these changes, and to what you can do to stay in the inbox’s good graces.

1) Authenticate Your Email

Let’s get the technical stuff out of the way first. This is by far the biggest headache of a step. So, eat the frog and get on with it!

You are now responsible for confirming DNS records with DKIM, DMARC, and SPF protocols. If you haven’t done this, it’ll take a bit of work but here’s how you do this:

Step 1: Confirm Domain Ownership

  1. Check if You Have a Registered Domain:
    • If you have a website, that's likely your registered domain.
    • If you use an @gmail or @yahoo email, you will need to purchase a domain.
  2. Purchasing a Domain (if needed):
    • Domains must be registered for at least 30 days before they are considered reputable.
      • This also means that having a new domain sort of limits you from sending emails right away. Some email providers take into account the age of your domain when verifying the legitimacy of an email, others do not.

Step 2: Configure DNS for Sending Domain

  1. Locate DNS Management:
    • In your domain registrar, find the section to manage DNS records.
  2. Add DNS Records:
    • DKIM & SPF Records: In Plunk, go to ‘Project Settings’ → ‘Verified Domain’. If you verify your domain in Plunk, you are automatically compliant, we generate DKIM and SPF records for you. All you need to do is add them.
    • DMARC Record: To add DMARC records, please check our documentation here.
    • If you don’t use Plunk, check your email provided and domain registrar how to get these records and update them.
  3. Save Records:
    • After adding each record, don’t forget to save the changes in your domain registrar.

Step 3: Check Plunk

Once you have updated your DNS records, it could take up to 15 minutes for them to register. After we have confirmed your identity, we will tag your domain as verified and it will show up green in Plunk.

How your Plunk Dashboard should look like.

Step 4: Match Sender Name to Your Domain

Your sender name or friendly name is equally important to the domain you are sending from. The sender name is how email clients will display your profile. You can easily change your sender name in the domain settings of your Plunk dashboard. The main question you should be asking yourself is: “Do my recipients know who I am?”. Recipients will try to identify who an email is coming from based on the domain, sender name and appropriate branding in your emails.

2) Make Unsubscribing Easier

Google now requires an unsubscribe link in the header of the email, whereas prior this was typically only found in the footer. Savvy senders sometimes would but a million enters to put that link all the way down. Those wild days are coming to an end. And it’s probably for the better.

Your content and connection to your audience have never become more valuable. Join the Plunk community on Discord to find people like yourself working on their own products and services. It’s our way of providing extra value to our customers.

Luckily, you don’t have to take any steps here. We have already fixed this for you! By using Plunk, you’re automatically compliant :)

Special shoutout to TryPile.com

3) Stay Below the Spam Threshold

0.3% is the new magic number. If you go above, inboxes will start to penalize you. This may seem easy, but it can get tricky. Spam rates on transactional emails are generally very low to almost non-existent. But spam rates on newsletters and similar campaigns can be higher.

In the Plunk Analytics dashboard, you can easily see your spam rate in the top right:

The Plunk Analytics Dashboard

This will likely not be an issue for smaller accounts that don’t send a lot of emails or have massive email campaigns. For heavy senders, it might be trickier…

Again, the only way to combat this in my view is to work on your content and email strategy. All these measures are put in place for a reason. Make sure your audience doesn’t have a reason to click that ‘Mark as Spam’ button.

So, it’s time to trim the fat and see which emails are really necessary and which aren’t. What copy can you write better, and which flows need optimization?

4) Improve your Customer Experience

Here are some other tips to improve the CX through your emails:

  • Always think of expectations and try to match them
  • Respect unsubscribe requests
  • Make sure your emails are well-branded
  • Use a normal frequency
  • Stay consistent & relevant
  • Customize and personalize messaging
  • Sunset bounced email accounts
    • If an email address bounces, Plunk will automatically put it on the suppression list and make sure that no other emails are sent to this address. Thus protecting your reputation as a sender.


To sum up, here are the 3 things you need to take care of:

  1. Authenticate your email: through DNS verification in Plunk
  2. Make unsubscribing easier with the unsubscribe header: we’ve done this for you
  3. Stay below the spam threshold: streamline your strategy and content

As always, at Plunk we aim to be at the forefront of these changes. It’s our promise to you that we implement these measures as soon as possible when they are announced, and that we communicate these changes to you. By using Plunk, you are safe to keep sending away!

If you do have any questions or concerns with these measures, reach out for support in the Plunk Discord Community or by reading the documentation.

Carlo D'Agnolo
CarloFounder & Head of Growth at Plunk