Mass Mailing Guidelines

Effective February 2024, Google and a number of other email providers have changed the guidelines for identifying mass mailings as spam. Email accounts that violate these mass mailing guidelines may be suspended by Google. If your account is suspended, you will not be able to access any portion of your Bmail account until the situation has been addressed.

A mass mailing is any message that contains multiple email addresses in the To, CC, or BCC fields. Spam is any message that looks like spam, contains spammy content, or is marked by the recipients as spam.

Examples of Mass Mailings

  • All alumni of an academic department.
  • All supporters or participants in a program.
  • All students in a degree program.
  • Anyone who could enter a contest or win a prize.
  • Any group of people if you want to send them a message, but they didn't ask to receive it.

Bulk Email Requirements

If you do not want your message to be classified as spam, you should follow these guidelines.

  1. The message must be sent from an authenticated system. 
  2. The message must include an option to unsubscribe or opt-out.
  3. The message must be wanted by the recipients and not marked as spam.

NOTE: The number of messages is irrelevant. If the recipients report that a message is spam, then the message will be identified as spam.

Sending Recommendations

Authenticated Bucknell Systems

Only send bulk or mass email messages using one of the following systems. Do not send bulk or mass emails from your personal Bmail account. Do not attempt to change the email address that the system uses. The default sending address is on the campus "Allow List" of approved senders. If you change this, your message will be identified as spam or phishing by Google.

As always, the Message Center is an excellent way to distribute messages, announcements, or information to large portions of the Bucknell population.

Note: There are a number of other university systems that send authenticated email. However, sending email is ancillary to the primary purpose of the system, so those products are not listed here.

Unsubscribe or Opt-out Link

Every message must have a clearly identified unsubscribe link automatically inserted by an authenticated system. You must not hide or obfuscate the opt-out link. If someone opts out, you must stop sending email to them.

Avoid Sending Spam

Messages maybe flagged as spam due to either the content of the messages, the behavior of the sender, or the reaction of the recipients.

Message Content

  • The message sender (that's you!) should be clearly identifiable. 
  • The subject line should accurately describe the contents and purpose of the message.
  • All links should be clearly identified. The recipients should be able to understand what each link will take them to.
  • Use appropriate spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Minimize unnecessary fonts, colors, graphics, and images.

Sender Behavior

  • If you suddenly send a message to a large number of recipients, your message may be flagged as spam. 
  • If you send a message impersonating another user without their permission, your message may be marked as spam.

Recipient Response

If you follow all these guidelines, but the recipients do not want your email, then they can choose to mark the message as spam. If more than 0.1% of the recipients mark a message as spam, it can be classified as spam for all recipients. You may want to send the message, but if the recipients don't want to receive it, it is an unwanted message that can be classified as spam. For example, if you send a message with 100 email addresses in the BCC field and 1 recipient flags the message as spam, the message may be identified as spam to all the recipients.

Unsafe Workarounds

These and similar anti-spam measures are being implemented by a number of email providers. There are no legitimate service providers that will allow you to send spam messages. Do not go looking on the Internet for services that purport to send unsolicited bulk email and never share Bucknell information with an unapproved external product.

Legitimate University Business

Do not mark legitimate university email messages as spam. Real messages may include the following.

  • An invitation from your department chair to attend an event
  • A notification from the Bursar about your bill
  • A message from your professor about a test you missed
  • A notice from the library about your overdue library book
  • A request to participate in a faculty review
  • An update from the Tech Desk on your service request about your broken computer
  • A link that you requested to reset your Bucknell password
  • An alert from the Equipment Desk that the equipment you reserved is in a locker

You may not want to receive a message about your bill or your overdue paper, but that doesn't mean those messages are spam. If you receive a message that you just don't like, do not mark it as spam. 

Consult the Not Spam FAQ for a list of university systems that are sometimes incorrectly marked as spam.

Google Workspace Documentation

Email sender guidelines

New requirements for bulk senders

Email sender guidelines FAQ


Article ID: 677
Wed 1/31/24 9:31 AM
Tue 4/9/24 3:03 PM

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