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Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot FAQs

Is my committee eligible for the pilot?

The Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot is open to authorized candidate committees, political party committees, and leadership political action committees that are actively registered with the U.S. Federal Election Commission (FEC) during the 2022 U.S. elections.

To be eligible for the Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot, your Committee must meet the eligibility criteria and comply with the pilot policies.

How do I find my Committee's FEC ID, Committee Name, and registered email address?

You can find your Committee’s FEC ID, Committee name, and registered email address at fec.gov

When you apply for the Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot and provide this information, it must exactly match what is listed on the FEC website.

The email address must exactly match the email address provided in FEC Form 1, Statement of Organization, under "Committee’s E-Mail Address."

Why haven't I received my verification code?

After you've applied for the Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot, we'll review your application and send you a unique verification code to verify your affiliation to the FEC committee.

The verification code will be sent to the email address registered with the FEC Form 1, Statement of Organization, under "Committee’s E-Mail Address."

It can take a few days for you to receive the code, which will remain valid for one week. If you need a new code, you have one chance to request one.
How will I know if my Committee is approved for the pilot?

After confirming your verification code, you'll receive an email within a few days to welcome you to the pilot. A Verified Sender Program dashboard will also appear in Postmaster Tools to help you manage your data.

Your application will not be approved if:

  • Your Committee is not eligible for this pilot
  • You haven't registered all domains with a Postmaster Tools account
  • You haven't proven your affiliation with the Committee through the verification code process
How do I add or change the domains registered for the pilot?

If you've already been approved for the Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot, you can register up to 5 domains. If you'd like to add or change domains, please re-submit the application form with the new domain names and their associated Postmaster Tools accounts.

Each domain can only be registered by one Committee for the Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot.

I wasn't approved for the pilot. How do I appeal?

If your Committee’s domain is not approved for the Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot, but you believe you are eligible or should be re-considered, you can contact us to file an appeal. We will review your appeal and get back to you within a week. 

Why was my Committee suspended from the pilot?

To be eligible for the Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot, your Committee must meet the eligibility criteria and comply with the pilot policies.

If you're suspended from the pilot, you must contact us via this form to appeal to be reinstated. You may be suspended up to 3 times before termination from the pilot. We reserve the right to terminate your Committee from the pilot at any time for egregious violations of the pilot policies or Gmail's terms of service.

What is Postmaster Tools?

Postmaster Tools (postmaster.google.com) is a tool provided by Google that helps senders track data on large volumes of emails sent and find data about your sending domain. You can view different dashboards to understand details like Gmail delivery errors, spam reports, feedback loop, and more.

Each domain that you want registered with the Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot will need to have an associated and verified Postmaster Tools account.

As part of the Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot, you'll see a Verified Sender Program dashboard in your Postmaster Tools account. After you've confirmed your verification code, it can take a few days for Postmaster Tools to be updated with the new dashboard.

To get help with Postmaster Tools, start with these resources:

If you're still having issues with Postmaster tools, contact us.
How do I use my Verified Sender Program dashboard?

The Verified Sender Program dashboard provides information on how your domains' emails are filtered within Gmail to provide increased transparency around delivery performance and engagement. The dashboard, and the metrics within it, will only be available to pilot participants and will be removed from Postmaster Tools following the conclusion of, or the sender's removal from, the pilot.

The following metrics are captured exclusively in this dashboard:

  • Messages accepted by Gmail: All messages successfully delivered to Gmail.
  • Accepted messages eligible for program: Messages delivered to Gmail which meet the Verified Sender Program's message-level criteria.
  • Messages filtered as spam: Eligible messages filtered as spam by algorithm.
  • Messages filtered as malicious: Eligible messages filtered as phishing or malware by algorithm.
  • Messages filtered by user preference: Eligible messages filtered as spam explicitly by user's preference (i.e. each individual user had to report it as spam at least once).
  • Messages delivered to inbox: Eligible messages delivered to inbox (i.e. not filtered by algorithm or user's preference).

Note: SPF, DKIM & DMARC and Inbound TLS 1.2 must be configured to view data in the "Inbox rate" table within the Verified Sender Program dashboard.

Note: The changes to Gmail to support the pilot will be rolled out in a phased manner over the first few weeks of the pilot, and may reflect accordingly in Postmaster Tools.

How do I prevent my emails from being sent to spam?

Gmail's filtering capabilities and security protections are built to give users the best overall experience by delivering the emails they want to see. Google's spam filters detect and filter over 99.9% of spam, phishing, and malware from ever reaching users' inboxes. Google’s filtering of spam email is based on user feedback and does not discriminate against any candidate, position, or entity.

If your Committee is approved for the Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot, when following the message-based delivery requirements and Gmail's terms of service, your Committee's emails to Gmail users will not be affected by some forms of spam detection to which you would otherwise be subject.

You can also check the Postmaster Tools dashboard for deliverability metrics that inform how your emails are filtered in Gmail.

To learn more about bulk email best practices, start with these resources:

Will my domain reputation be impacted if I participate in the pilot?

Spam markings during the duration of the pilot will impact domain reputation following the conclusion of, or the sender's removal from, the pilot. We recommend following Gmail's guidelines for bulk senders to ensure email messages are delivered as expected to Gmail users.

Can users unsubscribe or resubscribe to a verified sender's email?

In the official Gmail app/client, a banner will be shown to a user on the first message they read from each pilot participant's domain. The banner will prompt users to choose to continue receiving emails from the sender or to unsubscribe. If they choose to unsubscribe, they may also choose to report as spam.

Pilot participants are required to honor unsubscribe requests within 24 hours. If the user chooses to mark the email as spam, the user will no longer receive emails in their inbox from that domain, but instead in their spam folder. If the user subsequently marks a message as not spam, the user will immediately begin receiving emails from that domain in the inbox going forward. Users will also be able to use Gmail's existing tools to mark a message as spam or unsubscribe.

Can I submit my domain that I'm using for a joint fundraising committee to the pilot?

Joint fundraising committees are not eligible for the pilot, but the committees that make up the joint fundraising committee may be eligible on their own. Each eligible committee interested in participating in the pilot should submit its own application and can submit up to 5 domains to enroll in the pilot. So long as the eligible committee owns the joint fundraising domain in whole or in part, the eligible committee can submit that domain as one of their 5 domains.

As a Gmail user, how can I receive fewer messages through the Verified Sender Program Pilot?

Gmail users are always in control of their inboxes. In the context of the Verified Sender Program Pilot, the choice to report a message as spam or unsubscribe is made particularly clear with a prominent "unsubscribe" banner at the top of the first message received from a domain. If you click "unsubscribe," the committee must remove you from the list within 24 hours.

As a Gmail user, how do I report messages I receive through the Verified Sender Program Pilot as spam?

The Verified Sender Program Pilot includes a prominent "unsubscribe" banner at the top of the first message received from a domain. When the user selects "unsubscribe," they are given the option to mark a message as spam. In addition, messages can be marked as spam in the same way as any other messages in your Gmail account. 

After I report a message sent through the Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot as spam, will I receive more messages from the same domain in my inbox?

If you report a message sent through the Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot as spam, all subsequent messages from the reported domain will be delivered to your spam folder.

Once I unsubscribe from a message, how long will it take to stop receiving email from this sender?

Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot participants are required to honor unsubscribe requests within 24 hours or risk suspension from the program.

Pilot requirements state that verified senders cannot exceed 5% in spam rates. Is this calculated by messages sent or by messages opened?

Spam rates are calculated by messages sent. 

Will pilot participants know who marks their emails as spam?

No. Senders will receive aggregated spam reporting rates via Postmaster Tools. 

Who is considered an authorized representative for purposes of enrollment?

The authorized representative must be able to provide the authorization code sent to the email address disclosed on the Committee's FEC Form and attest that they are authorized.

Why is there a 5% spam rate requirement for senders?

As outlined in our Gmail Verified Sender Program Pilot Policies & Eligibility, eligible participants must follow our policies so we can continue to deliver a positive experience for everyone using Gmail. An integral part of that is keeping a spam rate below the threshold of 5%. Exceeding this rate would have a clear detrimental impact on the user experience. We’re providing participants with clear trend data on Postmaster Tools to help them adjust should they approach this threshold.

How do I get additional help?

If your Committee meets the eligibility criteria for the pilot and you've reviewed the FAQs above, but are still facing issues with the pilot, you can contact us for additional help.

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