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Getting your IP whitelisted with Yahoo (solving the deferred 451 problem)

Discussion in 'SmarterMail' started by ilovecats, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. ilovecats

    ilovecats New Member

    It seems many mail server admins are having some major trouble with Yahoo lately. Basically mails to Yahoo often get "deferred" during most hours. Some of them eventually do not go through after multiple tries and end up returned.

    Here I'd like to share some of my experience on getting your email servers whitelisted with Yahoo.

    First of all, the regular checkups and guidelines apply. Make sure your mail server IPs are not blacklisted by any spam database. Make sure your domains have proper SPF records (http://www.openspf.org/) set up. Make sure the IPs have reverse DNS (PTR) records set up that match the names of the mail servers. Etc etc.

    Secondly, I strongly recommend that you deploy domainkey and DKIM with the free smartermail plugin DKeyEvent. Yahoo explictly checks domainkey and there is another reason that I'll explain later in this post.

    Now don't bother filling out any forms on Yahoo's online help. You'll end up getting automated responses that direct you to further communications. Instead go straight forward and send an email to:


    This is the most imporant part to your success. Read carefully.

    1. IMPORTANT: This email MUST BE in PLAIN TEXT only. NO HTML or anything alike.

    2. Send email to the above address from your formal website/organization/company address, preferrably the a domain that uses your mail server. For example if you run a server named mail.yourcompany.com, then send from something like admin@yourcompany.com
    3. Make sure that this email itself reflects a good demonstration of your mail server setup. (as stated above clean IP, reverse dns, SPF, domainkey if possible)

    4. The subject of the email should be something like this: " Request To Accept Emails From My Mail Server Into Yahoo User's Inbox". Or "Request To Prevent My Emails From Being Delivered To Yahoo Bulk Mail Folder"
    (For some reason titles like this work better than "request to whitelist my server IP". To prevent the emails from being treated as "bulk email", Yahoo will whitelist your IP and your "deferred" problem will also go away")

    5. The first paragraph of your email body is a very brief self introduction like this:

    Please note the domainkey I mentioned in my earlier text. If you have it set up, mention it asap to prove that your mail servers are in full accordance with Yahoo's policy.

    6. Here comes the long and boring part. The rest of your email is your answer to Yahoo's 17-question mail server admin's questionnaire. You need to answer each and every one of them briefly and precisely, to the best of your effort.
    Plesae note that since you are not allowed to use HTML, make sure you format your text in a way that is very easy to read. For example, separate each question into deviders like this:


    7. Whew it's long isn't it. But you'll have to make Yahoo happy. =P. So think carefully when you answer each question. Think about the kind of answer that Yahoo want's to hear. This is not to tell you to lie, but you know what I mean.
    Note that Yahoo keeps asking about your "mail list". If you do not even have a email list (like some email news letter ), you can explictly tell Yahoo so. You can tell them that your emails are sent only for essential communications such as a web site membership/billing/business related etc. Obviously, if you can answer "Yes, I've already utilized domainkey on my server. You may check my domain DNS record or this email itself for proof" to question number 12 " Are you planning on utilizing DomainKeys" you'll be at an advantage.

    Question 10 is where you list all your mail server IPs that you wish to be white listed.
    Question 9 is where you should copy and paste (including full headers) a sample email that got deferred by Yahoo. Make sure the content of this email is not advertising related. =)

    That's about it. The only thing you can do next is to wait and pray. If Yahoo likes you, you may receive a response in a few business days like this:

    Of course there is no guarantee that you'll succeed when dealing with such a gigantic operation. Think about how many emails Yahoo has to handle every day. But if you follow these instructions carefully your chances at being accepted should be better.

    Hope this post helps. Good luck!
  2. ST-JLance

    ST-JLance New Member

    Thank you for this excellent post. I have made it sticky for now.
  3. trevnet

    trevnet New Member

    Excellent post! Thank you!

    I have a couple questions:

    1) What is the response time you experienced? If I don't get a response within a certain amount of time, should I resend it the email?

    2) Also, I have set up the DomainKeys using the free plugin for SmarterMail (DKeyEvent). Their user guide was VERY vague as to how to implement the domain key in your DNS. I use MS DNS. Can you shed any light as to the proper way to do it. I hope I did it right, but just wanted to verify from someone who has experienced sucess. It also seems there are 2 keys to implement, did you do both or just one?

    Also, has anyone else been having problems with Hotmail lateley? I think they might be doing something similar to yahoo. I've been getting lots of emails returned from hotmail. I'm not on any blacklists, I have SPF setup and DomainKeys.
  4. someone_else

    someone_else New Member

    There is a video tutorial, you know...
  5. rhyno

    rhyno New Member

    It's easy enough to show someone in a video, but it also is helpful to have documentation/instructions as to what the fields you are filling in, actually do.
  6. someone_else

    someone_else New Member

    Yes, you're right, but as you know, management of DNS records is very software specific - the specifics might not actually be the same even for different versions of the same software. So adding software specific guides in the main documentation can actually cause more confusion that it's worth. This is why I thought that specific guides are best suited for forum topics or direct support enquiries. And as for explaining things like DNS records, I don't know... many people only shy away when they see (what they perceive to be) long and complicated details. I think that for most, what you need to know is really sufficient; what you might like to know is, after all, available elsewhere.
  7. fileitup

    fileitup New Member

    We had the problem for about 2 weeks. Contacting Yahoo is like banging your head against the wall (not suggested).

    After reading this tutorial we did install DomainKeys and boom, within 24 hours mail was flowing.

    Im not sure if that was it because we only set up signature on several accounts but I guess that helped whitelist our IP.

    We figured it was DK since Yahoo is its father, can this be true?

    In any case installing DK wasnt that hard and the manual did an ok job, watch out for the funny menu in the setup...it looks like an image but its really a menu (that threw me of in the beginning)
  8. KevinB

    KevinB New Member

    I went ahead and followed your suggestions and got this reply from Yahoo:


    Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Mail.

    While we cannot fully exempt your mail server from our SpamGuard technology, we have however, made appropriate changes to this IP address in our database. This should help with delivering mail to the appropriate Yahoo! folders. Let us know, if we can be any further assistance.

    Please be aware that Yahoo! Mail users are able to set their own preferences for the manner in which they receive your mailings. If the recipients of your messages want to ensure they receive your emails in their Inbox, you may want to ask them to set up a filter in Yahoo! Mail specifically for your emails, or have them add your email address(es) to their Yahoo! Address Book.

    Please refer to the Help page below for more information on our recommended best practices for bulk mailers.


    If you significantly change your policies, please feel free to contact us again to submit a questionnaire in 6 months, and we will re-evaluate your answers and mailing practices at that time.

    Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.

    On the form that I submitted to them I put in one IP to get "whitelisted" yet anything from that IP still gets tossed into the Bulk folder. Did you notice that this "whitelisting" allowed you to get into the inbox?
  9. ilovecats

    ilovecats New Member

    In my case, yes my emails do get into inboxes. However just like the email said, "we cannot fully exempt your mail server from our SpamGuard technology".

    Somehow your emails probably scored poorly against Yahoo's internal spam filter. I guess it has something to do with the type of email. Are you running some sort of mai list/news letter? Also is the rest of your mail server setup in full compliance to the standards I described (proper reverse dns, blacklist free, spf, domain key etc)?

    On the brighter side, getting into the bulk email folder is much better than not being delivered at all. I have figured in the recent years that no matter how well you do, it's just impossible to guarantee that all your emails won't get labeled "spam" by the various filters/providers, especially the huge free providers like yahoo/hotmail. As a matter of fact many of the users of these services have already got used to "looking for what they are missing in the bulk email folder".
  10. bryanthrasher

    bryanthrasher New Member

    Thank you for this post. I have installed DomainKeys and it seemed to work for a few weeks, then email from yahoo stopped again. So I am trying this route as well.

    I am wrorking through the email but I don't know how to answer these questions because I can't figure out how SmarterMail handles them:

    6. Please specify your policies pertaining to both soft (4xx) and hard
    (5xx) SMTP response codes or bounce messages.

    a. Do you remove email addresses from your mail server or list if
    emails to them bounce?

    b. How many bounced emails are required before you consider an email
    address to be inactive and subject to removal from your list?

    i. After an email address reaches your bounce limit, how long
    (i.e., minutes, hours, etc.) does it typically take to remove the email
    address from your list?

    Any information / advice would be appreciated.

  11. slalomdrew

    slalomdrew Active Member

    SM doesn't automatically make changes to a ListServ based on bounces. I wish it did, but it doesn't. So the info above would be based on what you would do.
  12. cseverance

    cseverance New Member

    I would like some assistance getting DKIM plugin setup on my mail server. Can anyone help me with this?

  13. S&M user

    S&M user New Member

    get whitelisted without reverse DNS

    from time to time i have problems with 451 and it's never been as bad as this time because now msgs are not getting delivered at all. the only parts missing from my server are domain keys and reverse DNS. before i go thru the trouble of installing domainkeys,has ANYONE been able to get whitelisted when the only part missing in their setup is having reverse DNS for every domain?

    i am a consultant who provides hosting for some of my clients. how can reverse DNS be mandatory when so many hosting companies use multiple domains per IP for their shared hosting clients?
  14. S&M user

    S&M user New Member

    Re: get whitelisted without reverse DNS

    i guess installing DomainKeys without proper reverse DNS won't help help, since you get a rejection before
    you even present the name of your host. The only thing yahoo has at that point is the reverse DNS of your IP address, which may
    not be the domain that your domain key is on. what they can do is keep
    track of which IP addresses presented "signed" email in the past... anyone has a clue if this is the case?
  15. S&M user

    S&M user New Member

    Re: get whitelisted without reverse DNS

    a lot of help here:
    from what i gather DomainKeys do help, it seems that yahoo does indeed keep tabs on IP that successfully sign at least once.
  16. LeaUK

    LeaUK Member

    do shared domains need public key DNS entries also?

    An excellent post, many thanks.

    Our mail server SM4.0x is configured to run with Plesk 8.1.1 a control panel for shared hosting purposes.

    And have a question before implementing Domain keys, am I correct to assume I need to ensure that all shared domains using the SM mail server have a _domainkeys.clientdomain.com txt DNS public key entry, is this correct?

    Or should one simply add the public key to the rDNS address of the mail server?

    I suspect it's a requirement for all shared domains, as reading through http://antispam.yahoo.com/domainkeys#a1 this explanation <EM>"The DomainKeys-enabled receiving email system extracts the signature and claimed From: domain from the email headers and fetches the public key from DNS for the claimed From: domain. "</EM> specifically points to this.

    It's not a real problem, but that's a lot of DNSs to be updated if my suspicion is true :(

    Your comments are welcomed.

  17. someone_else

    someone_else New Member

    Re: do shared domains need public key DNS entries also?

    You need to publish a DNS key for each domain whose (outgoing) messages are to be signed with DomainKeys signatures.
  18. LJ710

    LJ710 New Member

    Thanks for the walk through. We sent them the questionnaire and they sent back the reply that was posted (we have made appropriate changes to your mail server's IP addresses in our database.) However, the deferred messages have become much more frequent. We are getting way more bounce back messages than we were before they said they had made the changes.

    Does anyone know the pay per call support number for this problem. I have read posts about it. At this point my boss would be willing to pay anything even though it is ethically disturbing.
  19. Jack4you

    Jack4you New Member

    Thanks for such an excellent writeup, I have followed each and every step and also got the same reply from Yahoo, but still I m facing a problem, still mails from my domain goes to the yahoo bulk folder,
    Can you please suggest wht should I do?

  20. RubalJ

    RubalJ Member

    How the headers of email in bulkfolder looks like?