Word to the Wise

We make email better.


We make email better.

Word to the Wise helps email marketers create more effective email messages, programs and infrastructures. We advise you how to skillfully navigate the constant business, technology, and policy challenges so your messages reach your customers.

We can help you with your email strategy, deliverability challenges and many other email issues.

Latest stories

Errors in DKIM records


TXT Records DKIM public keys live in DNS TXT records. A DNS TXT record contains strings of text, and each string is limited to be no more than 255 characters long. Recommended practice for DKIM at the moment is to use 2048 bit keys (1024 bit keys aren’t insecure, but they’re looking a bit weak and 2048 is where folks have mostly decided to move to). But a 2048 bit DKIM key is going to...

One-click unsubscribe


The worst thing about the yahoogle requirements has been their use of the term “one-click unsubscribe”. It’s an overloaded term that’s being used here to mean RFC 8058 in-app unsubscription. That’s a completely different thing to what one-click unsubscription has been used to mean for decades, often in the context of complying with legal requirements around...

Don’t trust Gmail’s Show Original


It’s not always easy to know what the actual headers and body of an email as sent look like. For a long time accepted wisdom was that you could send a copy to your gmail account, and use the Show Original menu option to, well, see the original message as raw text. It turns out that’s not actually something you can trust. I used swaks to send a test message with an extra header to my...

Are you a grown-up sender?


Yes, it’s another yahoogle best practices post. Google divide their requirements for senders into those sending more than 5,000 messages a day, and those sending less. Yahoo divide their requirements into “All Senders” and “Bulk Senders”, and explicitly don’t define that via a volume threshold: “A bulk sender is classified as an email sender sending a...

Answers to your questions about the new Yahoo and Google technical requirements


On January 9th at 6pm GMT, 1pm EST and 10am PST I’ll be speaking with Nout Boctor-Smith of Nine Lives Digital about the new Yahoo and Google technical requirements. In this webinar you’ll: Learn more about what these new email sender guidelines entail and how they differ from the status quo  Understand why you’re being asked to do things that were previously handled by your...

About My Email


Happy 2024, everyone! We’ve released a shiny new tool to let folks self-check a lot of common questions we see about email requirements. Go to AboutMy.email and send an email to the email address it gives you. Once it receives that email it will go through it and do many of the basic checks we’d usually do to check the technical health of a client’s email1AboutMy.email is a...

Tis the Season



I apparently gave chess.com an email address in 2007 – probably due to a client engagement? I don’t know. I unsubscribed from their mail at some point as there has only been one email from them between 2010 and 2021. Maybe this time they’ll actually unsubscribe me.



Email supports TLS (Transport Layer Security), what we used to call SSL. Unlike the web, which split it’s TLS support off into a completely different protocol – https, listening on port 443 vs http listening on port 80 – SMTP implements it inside it’s non-encrypted protocol. A mailserver advertises that it supports this by having the word “STARTTLS” in the...

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