Why You Shouldn’t Use a Free Email Domain to Send Messages to Subscribers

Your emails may go undelivered if you use a freebie address from Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL, Gmail, or MSN. Here’s what to use instead

Want your emails to land in subscribers’ inboxes instead of their spam folders? Then don’t send your messages from a Yahoo!, Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, MSN, Outlook, rocketmail.com, ymail.com, Zendesk or any other free Internet service provider (ISP).

The reason: Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance, a.k.a. DMARC.

DMARC is the current policy for email authentication. Basically, it’s an ISP’s way to protect itself from spammers pretending to send emails from their network. Any unauthenticated email — no matter how legitimate the content — could end up in a subscriber’s spam folder.

Say you’re sending a bulk message to your subscribers from your Yahoo! address through AWeber (which has its own servers). If Yahoo! can’t verify your email was actually sent through one of their own servers, the email is rejected.

Note: This is not an AWeber-specific issue — it will happen from any Email Service Provider you choose.

How AWeber Handles DMARC

As a work-around to DMARC, AWeber changes your “From” address. This rewriting process is automatic, so you don’t need to take any action for it to happen. Most of your subscribers won’t even notice the update and you can use your free domain address without any issues moving forward.

For example, if you are using:

Then it will automatically be rewritten as:

(Your Reply-To address will still be shown as testerjones@yahoo.com.)

Why You Should Use a Custom Domain

However, we recommend taking things a step further and signing up for a custom domain name to send your messages.

It not only improves long-term deliverability, but it also looks professional, builds authority and creates brand awareness. For instance, a new subscriber will be more likely to open an email from a custom domain name like Tony@AnthonysAutoRepair.com than from TonyLuvsCars73@hotmail.com.

Need more help with deliverability? Contact AWeber’s award-winning customer solutions team, 24/7 via live chat and email, or by phone Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.

This post was updated to reflect the most recent changes to DMARC policy on 06/23/2020. 


  1. Neil @ CoffeeMoney

    4/8/2014 12:56 pm

    I’ve thought this was the case for a while – anyhow, why would you want a free email address for your reply to email? crazy. (and very poor branding) 🙂

  2. Kelly Rudolph

    4/9/2014 4:29 pm

    I’m with Ryan. I use my domain email address although it’s conveniently delivered into my gmail inbox and is sent via gmail as me at my domain name.com.

    Not a fan of free-looking things for business anyway like WordPress.org blogs or business cards that read, “Free business cards at VistaPrint.com” on the back because the business person declined the extra $9.99 or whatever it is now to remove that line.

    It’s VERY important to look professional and only requires a small investment usually to do so. It also helps business people FEEL more professional and that increases confidence, self-esteem and vibration to attract more business.

    I’ve been with AWeber for 6 years and am always proud of the professional way my emails and forms look and feel while I see many entrepreneurs seeking the cheapest and ending up looking that way. Thanks, AWeber! You guys and gals ROCK! 🙂

  3. Thriving Elite

    6/25/2014 7:09 pm

    I can definitely understand how this can affect branding, and delivery rates and more, it seems like aweber is actually trying to help as opposed to just producing a service and forgetting about their customers, well done Aweber, cheers.