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Puzzled by spike in bouncebacksViews: 565
Mar 03, 2005 2:45 pmPuzzled by spike in bouncebacks#

Jennifer Tribe
I sent out the latest edition of my ezine this morning, and was surprised to see a lot of "message failed" notices in my inbox. Normally I receive a handful of these with every issue -- about 1% of all messages sent. But this time it was a lot more, closer to 4 or 5% of all messages sent.

I have had a lot of new subscribers this past week so I thought maybe that had something to do with it. But amongst the "failed" notices are people who have previously received my newsletter with no problem.

I ran my IP address through a blacklist check this morning and it came through pretty clean. Only one red flag, and that's been there for a while. In other words, if that was the problem, it would have been causing bouncebacks before this.

(BTW, if you want to check to see if your mail server is on one or more blacklists, go to http://www.dnsstuff.com/ and enter the IP address in the first box of the middle column -- the one labeled Spam Database Check.)

I also run every issue through a free service that scans for words that might trigger spam filters (http://www.ezinecheck.com/check.html). As always, I fixed any flagged words before broadcasting, so I don't think THAT's the problem either.

At this point, I'm fresh out of ideas. Can anyone speculate at to what might have caused this spike in delivery problems?

Jennifer Tribe

Private Reply to Jennifer Tribe

Mar 03, 2005 3:07 pmre: Puzzled by spike in bouncebacks#

D Kai Wilson
Couple of things it could be.

ISP's sometimes refuse mailings that are Bcc'd or appear to be - bulk mailing procedures are getting hit hard atm as far as I'm aware.
Your server MIGHT have hiccuped and mistransmitted something.
The spam lists you're checking against haven't been updated - or the ISP isn't using the most recent ones.
The email gods have taken tips from Royal Mail and aren't delivering becuase of bad connections (slightly tounge in cheek - we're having huge problems with our snail mail service atm)

Hope you get it resolved

Kai
http://digitalsteward.com

Private Reply to D Kai Wilson

Mar 03, 2005 3:25 pmre: Puzzled by spike in bouncebacks#

lisa micklin
Hi Jennifer-

Kai certainly brought up a good point. But let's see what else we can uncover for you as well.....

First, were the bounces in any way related? All AOL, MSN, etc?

Second, and most importantly, what do the bounces say? Were they all service refused/denied? Mailbox full? Over Quota? Not accepting email from?

Until we know this we're shootin' in the dark. But, you do bring up a good point. Why are you doing this yourself? Do you have a hosting company sending on your behalf? If so, ask them what's up. If not, take those bounce messages straight to your ISP, assuming that's who you're sending through, and tell 'em they have a problem and ask them what thye're going to do about it.

best,
lisa
~~~~~~~~~

Private Reply to lisa micklin

Mar 03, 2005 3:59 pmre: re: Puzzled by spike in bouncebacks#

Jennifer Tribe
> First, were the bounces in any way related? All AOL, MSN, etc?

> Second, and most importantly, what do the bounces say? Were they all service refused/denied? Mailbox full? Over Quota? Not accepting email from?


There were a few "no such user" messages, which is strange because people have to confirm their subscription by clicking on a link in an email my system sends them. That means there was a valid user there before that successfully received at least one message.

There were also a couple of "denied" messages, including one from a long-standing client that has never "denied" me before.

The bulk of them, however, said "unrouteable mail domain." Five of those were from one ISP but I have more than 20 subscribers from that ISP and the other 15 or so went through just fine. [Much scratching of head.]

I use a system called AutoResponsePlus to send my ezines. It's installed on my server so its my own mail server that sends the messages. I can definitely go to my ISP and ask them what gives -- any pointers on specific questions I should be asking them?

Jennifer Tribe

Private Reply to Jennifer Tribe

Mar 03, 2005 4:54 pmre: re: re: Puzzled by spike in bouncebacks#

lisa micklin
>There were a few "no such user" messages, which is strange because people have to confirm their subscription by clicking on a link in an email my system sends them. That means there was a valid user there before that successfully received at least one message.

Robots can click these links. Scary, eh?

> There were also a couple of "denied" messages, including one from a long-standing client that has never "denied" me before.

People change their minds. Even longstanding clients have been known to click the "this is spam" button rather than unsubscribing. Regardless of why a message was denied by user, it is essential that your management solution removes denials instantly! If the message was denied by an ISP rather than a single user, that's a whole different issue that needs to be taken up with the receiving ISP.

>The bulk of them, however, said "unrouteable mail domain." Five of those were from one ISP but I have more than 20 subscribers from that ISP and the other 15 or so went through just fine. [Much scratching of head.]

It's possible that the domain server may have been down for a spell. To deal with these issues, it is important that your ISP uses a mail program, such as postfix, that will retry a message delivery several times.

>I use a system called AutoResponsePlus to send my ezines. It's installed on my server so its my own mail server that sends the messages.

How does this system keep up with and maintain bounces? In other words, bounces are an ever-morphing phenomena, which need to constantly be dealt with. If the program hasn't been updated since you installed it, that can be part of your problem. (think of it as similar to updating virus definitions in norton- it's on going)

Does this system "reverse DNS" properly? I can't see how it could. Reverse DNS is a big big big factor in deliverability.

These 2 and many other factors could be part of the problem.

Also, you say it is your own mail server, but aren't other clients of your ISP using this same mail server? Who knows what else and who else is sending via your ISP.

> I can definitely go to my ISP and ask them what gives -- any pointers on specific questions I should be asking them?

Well, my feeling is they're gonna balk at you even approaching them, cuz of this 3rd party software. My guess is they're gonna try to blame the issue on it, much as I'm prone to do in this case.

I truly encourage you to look at a hosted solution that specializes in bulk delivery. I don't care if it's EZezine, AWeber, or even Topica for that matter! A publisher should be able to spend their precious ezine time on content and development, rather than on administration. Please, reconsider, Jennifer, I think you'll be glad that you did! (unless of course you dig this stuff ;-) )

hth,
lisa
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Private Reply to lisa micklin

Mar 08, 2005 5:51 pmE-Mail Problems ... re: re: re: re: Puzzled by spike in bouncebacks#

Danish Ahmed

Hi Jennifer,

I definitely feel your pain.

I've been having e-mail problems in general. Over the last month, I notice that I haven't been receiving like 1 out 500 e-mails that I'm supposed to get (yes, I have NO filters set at all).

I thought it might be my mail provider, so I made danish@ordinarywords.com (where my ISP has no filters) forward to both my hotmail account, and my Rogers account (both with no filters set).

I found that 1/500 e-mails would NOT get to my hotmail account, even though it got to my Rogers account. And I found that 1/1000 e-emails would be vise versa.

1/500 is not bad... It's probably better than snail mail. But the scary part is, these are just the ones I NOTICE. What about all the ones (maybe even super-IMPORTANT e-mails) that slip by?

This seems to be a new phenomena, so I'm thinking that someone needs to create a new e-mail system for the Internet.

Love & God Bless,
[)anish /|hmed
Producer of Inspirational Entertainment
+01 (416) 368-1510
http://www.DanishAhmed.com

What is Love?
http://www.TheLoveMovie.com

Director of Communication & Market Development for...
DECIDE - The Urban Musical With Attitude and the After-Party Without.
http://www.decideshow.com

Private Reply to Danish Ahmed

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