I’ve been recently dealing with a client who is looking at implementing authentication on their domains. He’s done a lot of background research into the schemes and has a relatively firm grasp on the issue. At this point we’re working out what policies he wants to set and how to correctly implement those policies.
His questions were well informed for the most part. A few of them were completely out of left field, so I asked him for some of his references. One of those references was the EEC Email Authentication Whitepaper.
My client was doing the best he could to inform himself and relies on industry groups like the EEC to provide him with accurate information. In this case, their information was incomplete and incorrect.
We all have our perspectives and biases (yes, even me!) but there are objective facts that can be independently verified. For instance, the EEC Authentication whitepaper claimed that Yahoo requires DKIM signing for access to their whitelist program. This is incorrect, a sender does not have to sign with DKIM in order to apply for the Yahoo whitelist program. A bulk sender does have to sign with DKIM for a Y! FBL, but ISPs are given access to an IP based FBL by Yahoo. I am shocked that none of the experts that contributed to the document caught that error.
Independent verification is one reason I publish the Delivery Wiki. It’s a resource for everyone and a way to share my knowledge and thought processes. But other experts can “check my work” as it were and provide corrections if my information is outdated or faulty. All too often, senders end up blaming delivery problems on evil spirits, or using “dear” in the subject line or using too much pink in the design.
Delivery isn’t that esoteric or difficult if you have a clear understanding of the policy and technical decisions at a range of ESPs and ISPs, the history and reasoning behind those decisions, and enough experience to predict the implications when they collide.
Many senders do face delivery challenges and there is considerable demand for delivery experts to provide delivery facts. That niche has been filled by a mix of people, of all levels of experience, expertise and technical knowledge, leading to the difficult task of working out which of those “experts” are experts, and which of those “facts” are facts.