FAQ: Oath migration and Certification impact

This FAQ document gives you an in-depth look into Oath and how the company is changing AOL and Yahoo infrastructure. You will also learn about how the company’s infrastructure migration will impact Return Path’s Certification program and participants.

Important: We’d like to note the Return Path Certification team receives regular updates from Oath and monitors AOL's MX migration and corresponding data changes. Oath’s approach to their infrastructure changes and the information found below is subject to change based on new updates.

Oath migration overview

What is Oath?

Oath Inc is a Verizon company that owns AOL and Yahoo. Oath acquired AOL in June 2015 and then acquired Yahoo in June 2017.

Oath is the new brand name under which AOL and Yahoo will operate.

What changes are Oath making?

The main changes being worked on are related to infrastructure. In February 2018, Oath indicated that it is beginning to consolidate its Yahoo and AOL infrastructures.

AOL traffic will be routed through Yahoo MXs. However, Oath will continue to offer and manage existing Yahoo and AOL branded mailboxes, which means the email user interfaces will not change.

When will Oath complete the infrastructure migration?

Because of the migration’s complexity, Oath shared with Return Path that it does not have an official completion date set. The completion date is dependent on their testing success and client impact.

How will Oath impact filtering at AOL branded mailboxes, the AOL feedback loop, and DMARC?

  • AOL branded mailboxes: AOL domains will become subject to Yahoo’s filtering and processing as they are migrated to Oath MXs.
  • AOL feedback loop: While AOL mailboxes are still served by the AOL infrastructure, AOL FBL reports will continue to come from AOL. However, once mailboxes have migrated, those reports will come from Yahoo. Oath recommends subscribing to both FBLs while they consolidate their infrastructure. 
  • DMARC: DMARC report data will shift from being reported by AOL to being reported by Yahoo as AOL domains migrate to Oath MX records. This means 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.

Oath’s impact on Certification

How does the Oath migration affect my Certification data?

During the infrastructure migration period, Oath will start combining Certification’s Yahoo and AOL data into a single, indistinguishable feed. In the Certification user interface, Daily Performance Report (DPR), and API you will notice a steady decrease in AOL data alongside a steady increase in Yahoo data. The changing data will be reflected in metrics such as volume and complaints.

During this period, you will see Yahoo and AOL in your Certification account until Oath confirms the two separate feeds have been successfully merged into one.

How does Oath affect my Certification benefits?

Any email you send to Yahoo and AOL inboxes will receive the same deliverability benefits. In relationship to how Certification works, Oath will consume and deliver benefits to a single Return Path whitelist.

How will Return Path enforce AOL and Yahoo compliance during and after the migration?

During the migration, we will continue to monitor and enforce the Complaint Rate of 0.60% for Yahoo.

At the same time, Return Path will stop enforcing compliance for AOL. AOL data will still appear in the Certification user interface and DPR even though the AOL data will decrease over time until there is no AOL-specific data left to report. Once this happens, the migration will be considered complete. From then, Return Path will monitor the single Oath feed for 30 days to ensure its reliability and accuracy. Once the feed is stable, we will remove AOL data from all Certification products. Simultaneously, we will rebrand the Yahoo data as Oath (Yahoo + AOL).

After the migration is complete, we will continue to enforce a Complaint Rate of 0.60% for Oath (Yahoo + AOL).

How will Oath impact Smart Compliance?

Once we stop AOL enforcement, the Certification program will have 3 distinct mailbox provider partners with their own data feeds: Microsoft, Oath (Yahoo + AOL), and Global.

However, Smart Compliance will remain the same: if a certified client is suspended at 1 major provider they will continue to receive benefits at the 2 others. This is called a partial suspension. If a client is suspended at 2 major providers they will be suspended from Certification, which is referred to as a full suspension.

Additional questions?

If you have more questions or concerns about Oath and your Certification account, please reach out to your account representative or contact us at

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