Why am I seeing a “dmarc-request” email address for a Corgi-L member?

Earlier this year Yahoo! made a change to how they handle email. One unintended side-effect of that change was that a bunch of people on Corgi-L were UNsubscribed through no fault of their own – and they weren’t even Yahoo! subscribers themselves. We posted about it here.

The issue is simply that when listserv sends email to a list that email comes from the listserv server, even though the “From:” address in the email might say it’s from a yahoo.com email address. Yahoo! basically told the world “if it’s from a Yahoo! email address but not sent by an actual Yahoo server, then you can assume it’s spam”. And yes, this breaks mailing lists like Corgi-L (and many, MANY others). Unfortunately AOL and other email providers followed suit.

Listserv apparently made a change that if the mail is being sent from a yahoo.com address (or any other service that makes the same statement, like AOL) then it actually replaces the “From:” email address with something along the lines of what you see: random-number-dmarc-request@LISTSERV.TAMU.EDU. The random number presumably lets listserv track the actual sending email address, but it completely sidesteps this rule that Yahoo! and others put into place and allows the email to actually be delivered. (“dmarc”, by the way, is the set of rules that mailing providers pay attention to about how to treat email and is where Yahoo! made its change.)

It appears that sending email directly to that obscure email address does NOT work.

I can think of a few ways to get the “real” email address:

  • in some email programs you can Reply to an email sent by this person, and the correct email address will appear. You may need to do Reply-All. You’ll also want to then remove corgi-L from the recipients unless you do want that message to go to Corgi-L.
  • If you can access the full headers for an email message from this sender there may be a “Reply-to:” header that includes the real email address. A recent message from Lynda had: Reply-To: “Welsh Corgi (Cardigan and Pembroke) Dog List” <CORGI-L@LISTSERV.TAMU.EDU>, tifflynldm@AOL.COM
  • check the archive for messages sent before all this happened (April, 2014)
  • Ask an admin. We can usually figure it out. 🙂

We apologize for the confusion and that it’s as complex as it is. Ultimately we can blame spammers for causing Yahoo! and other email services to take such draconian measures that in turn forced mailing list providers to have to take obscure measures to keep their services working.