Taghard bounce

New Deliverability Resource

The nice folks over at Postmark shared a new deliverability resource last week. The SMTP Field Manual. This is a collection of SMTP responses they’ve seen in the wild. This is a useful resource. They’re also collecting responses from other senders, meaning we can crowdsource a useful resource for email deliverability folks.

What’s a bounce?

Bounces and bounce handling is one of those topics I’ve avoided writing about for a long time. Part of my avoidance is because there are decades of confusing terminology that hasn’t ever been really defined. Untangling that terminology is the first step to being able to talk sensibly about what to do. Instead of writing a giant long post, I can break it into smaller, more focused...

Spike in Yahoo error codes

A number of people have mentioned over the last couple weeks that they’re seeing a spike in Yahoo rejecting mail with
554    delivery error: dd Requested mail action aborted
Discussions on various mailing lists indicate these messages are related to inactive accounts. Addresses that bounce at Yahoo with these codes should be handled as inactive addresses and removed from future mailings.

Why is bounce handling so hard

It should be easy, right? Except it’s not. So why is it so hard? With one-on-one or one-to-few email it’s pretty simple. The rejections typically go back to a human who reads the text part of the rejection message and adapt and makes the decision about future messages. The software handles what to do with the undeliverable message based on the SMTP response code. In the case of a 5xy...

Relaying Denied

I’ve got multiple clients right now looking for insights about bounce handling. This means I’m doing a lot of thought work about bounces and what they mean and how they match up and how different ISPs manage delivery and how different ESPs manage delivery and how it all fits together. One thing I’ve been trying to do is contextualize bounces based on what the reason is. Despite...

Bounce handling is hard

Sometimes I find it hard to find a new topic to write about. I decide I’m going to write about X and then realize I did, often more than once. Other times I think I can blog about some issue only to realize that it’s too complex to handle in a quick post. There are concepts or issues that need background or I have to work a little harder to explain them. One thing I haven’t...

Asynchronous Bounces

There are three ways that an email can fail to be delivered: immediate rejection timeout asynchronous bounce Rejection A rejection is any delivery attempt where the sending smarthost can tell immediately that the mail can’t be delivered. That will often be when the receiving machine accepts a connection but returns a “hard bounce” or “5xx” error at some point in...

Thoughts on bounce handling

This week’s Wednesday question comes from D. What are your thoughts on bounce handling There’s no specific standard for bounce handling as we often talk about it. While a lot of people will mention the RFCs, the RFCs only say what to do with a single email that gets a 4xy or a 5xy during the SMTP transaction. If the message gets a 5xy during the SMTP transaction, then the email MUST...

Broken record…

The Return Path In the Know blog listed 4 reasons mailing those old addresses is a bad idea. Ashley, the author, is completely right and I endorse everything she said. (Although I’d really like to hear what happened to the customer that added back all those addresses. What was the effect on that campaign and future email marketing?) As I was reading the article though, I realized how many...

Charter hard bounces valid addresses

Last week Charter had a technical problem that caused them to respond with “user unknown” to email sent to valid users.
I recommend re-activating any address to Charter that was disabled July 14 or 15.

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