Oath to Combine Yahoo and AOL Email Infrastructures

Posted by Tom Bartel 

Oath, Inc., a Verizon company that owns AOL and Yahoo, announced earlier last week that it will gradually merge its Yahoo and AOL email infrastructures. This announcement comes as no surprise given Oath’s formation in April 2017. Specifically, the consolidation process includes MX management, filtering, and data/reporting. Oath will begin by managing AOL traffic using Oath MX records.

Note: Even though AOL traffic will be rerouted to Oath MXs, the user email interfaces will not change for those with Yahoo and AOL addresses.

Oath has not yet committed to a completion date given the size and complexity of this cutover. We are working closely with our AOL and Yahoo partners to ensure Return Path customers receive timely, relevant information to minimize email program disruption.

But what does that mean to senders?

Filtering As AOL Domains are migrated to the Oath MX records and the consolidated infrastructure, it will be subject to Yahoo’s mail filtering and processing.

Feedback loops – As AOL domains migrate onto the new Oath infrastructure FBL reports will change as well. While AOL mailboxes are still served by the AOL infrastructure, FBL reports will continue to come from the AOL side. Once a mailbox has been migrated, FBL reports will come from Yahoo. Oath recommends subscribing to both while they consolidate their infrastructure.

DMARC Reports – As AOL domains migrate to Oath MX records, DMARC report data will shift from being reported by AOL to being reported by Yahoo. This means that domains that are pointing to the Oath MX will stop being included in the AOL reports and will be included in the current Yahoo reports.

What can you do to get ahead of it?

Keep a close eye on deliverability. Panel and seed data are critical to ensuring you have the most accurate view into inbox placement, especially in cases where major mailbox providers merge infrastructure. Panel data provides insight into your real subscribers. Seed data provides insight into headers, which is important information to have if you start seeing shifts in how mail is delivering through the course of the migration.

Certification data will give insight into the migration that you cannot get anywhere else. As Oath gradually consolidates their infrastructure, AOL data will begin to taper off within customers’ Daily Performance Reports and Certification Dashboard data. Yahoo data will show a corresponding uptick as it incorporates the former AOL traffic into an eventual new “Oath” data feed. Certification customers will be able to follow Oath migration, using our data feeds and client communications.

Can Return Path help?
Of course! While we expect the impact to be minimal, we know questions will come up, and some senders may be more impacted than others. Please reach out to your Account Team with questions or use this link to contact us.

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About Tom Bartel

Tom Bartel is Return Path’s Senior Vice President of ThreatWave Data. Tom has more than 20 years of email delivery, email data and privacy experience. He most recently joined Return Path through its acquisition of ThreatWave, where he served as CEO/Co-founder. Prior to that, he has held roles at Return Path, MessageMedia (acquired by DoubleClick), and founded several other startups. Tom is actively involved in key industry organizations, such as OTA and M3AAWG, and advises start-ups and non-profits. Tom has a Bachelor in Speech Communication from Colorado State University.

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