Just give it up already


I have a mail system totally separate from my inbox to use when I’m testing signup forms. Some of them are client, some of them are vendors my clients are thinking about using. In any case, it’s mail I’m seriously concerned won’t stop just by me opting out of it.
The server hosting that mail system has been flakey lately, and needs to be hard power cycled to make it come back. We had a major power glitch this morning and so ended up down at the colo and power cycled that box while we were there.
This box was last working February 4th. It’s been off the internet for almost 2 months now. It wasn’t answering on port 25. It was dead. No mail here. And, yet, a bunch of legitimate email marketers are still attempting to send those addresses mail.
Really. Dead for 2 months and the senders keep trying to mail to those addresses. The server came back about 2 1/2 hours ago. I already have 6 emails from two different senders.
Seriously. If you can’t deliver a mail to someone for TWO MONTHS just give it up already. I am sad that even companies that get the best advice I can give them still can’t get the simple things right.
And, really, don’t argue “but it came back! Clearly we should keep trying!” Yes, it came back. But in all the years I’ve had this disposable email system I have not opened a single image. I’ve not purchased a single thing. I’ve never shown any sign of life on any of those addresses. The mailserver has been down for months at a time. There is no value to continuing to send mail to those addresses. And, yet, people still do it.
Why? WHY!?

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  • I had a similar experience with a domain I used to own and let lapse. After around 5 years, I registered it once more and immediately started to get the weekly newsletter from a well-known UK online retailer. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised but still *boggle*.

  • Hope springs eternal; the more foolish the hope, the more doggedly it keeps on springing.
    Add a profit motive, and the spring gets automated.

  • For those who are dense, the following is sarcasm, also know as humour.
    Well the emails did arrive in your inbox eventually when you brought the server back to life. So their persistence did pay off in the end. It’s nice that there still are people who go above and beyond the redundancy built into smtp and don’t just blindly give up after one or two silly 5xx errors or being unable to reach the destination for more than a few days.
    I bow to thee.

  • There is obviously no financial incentive to cleaning lists, because that’s the only kind of incentive that bulk mailers understand.
    I have an address at a domain that I kept deliberately invalid (as in “550 5.1.1 No such user” for years at a time. The domain itself, which is not mine, has been answering all the time, but the specific address was offline from 1-7-2004 to 3-15-2007 (three years and two months), and again from 8-1-2007 to 9-29-2009 (two years and nearly two months). Even today, I get up to 500 messages per week to it.
    On 8-31-2009, a local business discontinued the use of a domain name they had. The ccTLD registry required at the time that abandoned domains go into a quarantine for three months before reassignment. On 12-29-2009 (almost four months afterwards), I claimed the domain for myself and promptly started receiving mail attempts addressed to the employees of the business that previously owned the domain name. I kept them 550 5.1.1 for a few months more and frequently wrote to the mailers (the ones that looked like local / mainstream as opposed to bot spam, of course) telling them the domain name had changed owners, please clean your lists. Some did. Sometime during 3-2010 I started accepting mail for the formerly 550 5.1.1 addresses, but I still tried to notify the legit-looking mainsleazers from time to time.
    It is now the end of March 2011 and I still get mail to those addresses from local mainsleazers, sometimes via international ESPs, from operations that I have politely told the domain name has changed hands many, many times.
    There is no financial incentive to fix things.

By laura

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