Details about the Microsoft email blocking

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What does the block mean?

We have received several questions about what it means to be blocked by Microsoft and what emails are not going out.  Any emails sent from our service to any of the email services owned by Microsoft are being rejected.  This means that emails to hotmail.com, live.com, msn.com, outlook.com and microsoft.com are all being rejected as well as other country variations such as .co.uk etc.   This includes all automatic notifications, newsletters and any email sent manually (if you use our email services).   If you use the StoreSecured email services you will receive a bounce back message stating that the email was rejected.  If you use an outside email service the bounce back cannot sent.

 

When did the block start?

The email blocking began on 4/18 at 15:25pm Pacific time.

 

When will the issue be resolved?

We had several good emails back and forth with Microsoft yesterday regarding the block and getting it removed.  Unfortunately we have to rely on Microsoft to communicate with us and then unblock us and they have only email support.   Getting a block removed takes lots of time, effort, research and patience.  We were hoping for resolution today but have received no response since last evening, which is probably be due to the Easter holiday, we are probably looking at Monday at the earliest now.   Please be patient with us as we work to remove the block as quickly as possible.

 

How can I send these emails in the meantime?

The only alternatives are to send emails by using an external email service, ie one not hosted by StoreSecured or by waiting until the block is removed and then resending.

 

 

Can I still receive emails from these domains?

Yes, all email is arriving as normal from the Microsoft domains.

 

 

Why were we blocked?

This is a complicated question to answer since there are many factors but basically the percentage of failed emails to successful emails exceeded some internal Microsoft threshold making them think that some of our users were doing some bad things (from our research nothing was malicious).  This was caused by a variety of factors occurring simultaneously including:

  • several of our users sent out emails to large lists that included a very high percentage of undeliverables
  • several of our users were setup to forward email to Microsoft domain names which no longer exist causing many undeliverables
  • a couple of our users were rate limited by Microsoft for exceeding normal thresholds (ie they sent high quantities of mail than normal) and the emails kept trying to be sent causing many undeliverables
  • a Yahoo policy change was put in place which no longer allows other email providers to send email using a yahoo.com domain name unless they are in fact Yahoo.  This has caused all of these emails to be undeliverable.  More on this shortly but note that due to a change at Yahoo, we can no longer send email using a from address from Yahoo.  This is internet wide and not restricted to StoreSecured, please see the following article for more information http://blog.returnpath.com/blog/christine-borgia/all-about-yahoos-dmarc-reject-policy

 

Why are you now not allowing automatic email forwarding to Microsoft domain names?

Please see above in the why were we blocked area and note that a large part of the reason that we were blocked by Microsoft is due to these email forwards to Microsoft domain names.  Additionally it is against Microsoft’s email policy best practices to forward email automatically from another service.

 

What can I do to help ensure this does not happen again?

  • Make sure that your email list is clean, promptly remove emails which are returned as undeliverable from marketing and newsletter lists
  • Send bulk emails using approved list methods such as the newsletter function and the built in Smartermail list management and sending
  • Use a strong password for email, ie at least 7 characters long including numbers, special characters and upper and lower case characters
  • Do not automatically forward email to an outside service, especially with spam emails included
  • Never buy email lists, only include people who have actually subscribed
  • Immediately remove people who request to be removed from marketing lists
  • Include a privacy policy on your website
  • If you receive a message that you are rate limited by a service do not continue to send out large volumes of emails until the rate limit is removed
  • Do not use a Yahoo.com email address as your store’s email.  All of your emails will be undeliverable.  For more information see: http://blog.returnpath.com/blog/christine-borgia/all-about-yahoos-dmarc-reject-policy
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