I was hoping to have a detailed post up today about the conditions where gmail presents the user with a “via” but time seems to have gotten away from me. But I can give you the conclusions.
- A via is presented to the user when you have a DKIM pass and the domain in the d= does not match the domain in the visible from address. In this case the interface shows via the d= domain.
- A via is presented to the user when you have a SPF pass, no valid DKIM (either a fail or no signature at all) and the domain in the return path is different than the domain in the visible from address. In this case the interface shows via the SPF domain.
This is an issue for ESP customers who are letting ESPs sign on their behalf. If your ESP is signing with their own domain, or their own domain is present in the return path, then all your mail will be displayed with “via” in the gmail interface.
In order to not have a via showing, you need to have either the return path or the d= value within the same domain as your visible from address. There are two ways to do this. Probably the easiest is to delegate a subdomain to your ESP so they can manage the signing and keys for you. Alternatively, you can manage DKIM keys yourself and just have your ESP sign with the private key you give them.
I have heard that recipients can remove the via by replying to a message or by adding the sender to their address books. My testing did not show that either method was effective in removing the “via” from the display.
Tomorrow, the work that went into these rather simple recommendations.