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Delivery emergencies

There is no such thing as a delivery emergency. They just do not happen.
Delivery is fluid, delivery is changing, delivery is complex.
But when delivery goes bad it is not an emergency. There is no need to call up an ISP person at home on a Saturday afternoon and ask them to remove the filters. (And, BTW, experience indicates if you do this that you may have future delivery issues at that ISP.)
I’m sure that people will provide me with examples of delivery emergencies. And, in some cases I might even concede that the receivers will be happy to receive email immediately when it was sent. However, email as a protocol was designed for store and forward. It was not designed to transmit messages instantaneously from sender to receiver. Sure, it works that way much of the time these days. On the whole the Internet is fairly reliable and major servers are connected 24/7 (which wasn’t always the case).
Among many people, particularly recipients and ISP employees, there isn’t the expectation that bulk email is instantaneous. This leads to the belief that delivery problems are not an emergency. Everyone faces them, they get dealt with, life goes on. Demanding an escalation to deal with a “delivery emergency” may backfire and slow down how long it takes to get a response from an ISP.

5 comments

  1. Chris Wheeler says

    Agreed, from a receiver side. Although there are the exceptions out there who really, genuinely don’t mind you bugging them after hours IFF, in your experience, it is an emergency. You fine folks know who you are! 🙂
    From a sender side, emergencies usually occur when you’re gearing up for a holiday or long etailer centric holiday and folks go on extended leave. If you’re suddenly blocked the Wednesday before Black Friday when folks have taken off and the support is nil, it can come down on your head if you’re responsible for deliverability. Will recipients be aggravated they didn’t receive a last minute coupon? Possibly. Would this be something that could be sent Cyber Monday or Tuesday? Not really since the relevant time frame would’ve passed.
    I think there’s a fine balance, where if it is truly an emergency from a sending perspective that you need someone’s input on at the receiver’s side, use your best judgment and make sure (as always) to do everything you can to ferret the root cause out and eliminate. Or call in the favor, but only when used very judiciously.
    Matter of perspective and judgment. But, 99.9% of the time, you are correct. No emergencies…esp if you keep a clean house to begin with.

  2. Tom O'Leary says

    Great stuff Laura.
    Working for an email marketing software provider, some days sure feel like I’m in an emergency room. I often listen to frustrated senders who are desperate to get their message out – could be for an event that is happening the next day or a class that is being rescheduled – or a reminder for people to come to a grand opening. They are all emergencies to a sender who needs to communicate something in advance of a specific date and runs into delivery issues as time is running out.
    When I was in the Air Force, I had a sign on my desk that read “Poor planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on mine.” Of course, panic can be avoided if you leave yourself enough time to deal with possible obstacles. But sometimes, real ’emergencies’ do happen. Sure, they might not be life or death, but they could mean the difference between a good turnout and a lackluster one.

  3. laura says

    I realize that senders think they are emergencies, but they almost never are. I think that some senders have expectations out of line with the realities of email, and with recipient (both individual end users and ISP reps) email usage. I’ve heard from multiple ISP reps who get bombarded with sender “emergencies” and it not only causes them stress to deal with, but also makes them less likely to help the sender on the sender’s preferred time table.
    That being said, you are right there are occasional emergencies. One emergency that comes to mind is when one of the top 10 ISPs blocked an one of my ESP clients as “dynamic end user space” at 4pm on a Friday. Yeah, I contacted folks at the ISP on the weekend to get them to fix it.
    A lot of the sender emergencies that I deal with, and that the ISP folks deal with, are not that something broke and is blocking mail the ISP doesn’t intend to block. Rather, those are “emergencies” that result from filters and blocking working as intended. Senders hate hearing that, but if they’re getting blocked is very rarely because of a mistake on the ISPs part. Much more often it’s because of a mistake on the sender’s part. Expecting the ISP to jump to fix it because it’s an emergency for the sender is unreasonable and will result in sender disappointment more often than not.

  4. Tom O'Leary says

    WHY IS MY [15mb] MESSAGE [that was designed partially in MS Word, partially in a built-in message editor and partly by copying and pasting content from a website – with a Subject Line in ALL CAPS, a butterfly background and 3 broken links for FREE SPECIAL OFFERS] NOT REACHING MY RECIPIENTS!!!!!!

  5. James Smith says

    “delivery emergency” is really depend on the situation. Some time I sent very heavy mails (with loads of attachment) and some time bulk emails to people for appointment.
    So the emails which are sent for appointment are really “delivery emergency”. They need to be deliver on time.
    Am I wrong ?

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