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  • Writer's pictureArial Software

When you send out an email and something goes wrong with it being delivered it is usually returned to you or "bounced". Bounced emails can happen for various reasons, some of them being permanent and some of them being temporary.

Hard Bounces - Hard bounces happen when any of the SMTP servers down that the email address you used to send will just never work. One of the first reasons an email will not reach it's destination is that the domain name does not exist. The second reason is that the mailbox on the mail server for that domain just does not exist. Hard bounces are usually characterized by a 500-series error. When an email is returned with a 500 series error inside, Campaign Enterprise and Email Marketing Director will categorize these as hard bounces. Usually when a hard bounce like this occurs, you mark a hard bounce field in the corresponding database record, and then when you send using that list again you filter out any email records that have this hard bounce field marked. Since it is a permanent failure, there is no reason to try sending to that address again. Aside from other information you want to keep in that record, the email address is virtually useless.

Soft Bounces - When a returned email not a 500-series return code, it is assumed to be a temporary or soft bounce. These types of bounces usually mean the domain is good and the email box is valid but for some reason the email server is not accepting any emails for this address at the present time. The reasons can range from the mail box is full, the server is too busy, or the person has marked his account as being on holiday. In the case of soft bounces, it is ok to try again the next time you send using that list. There will come a time though when maybe too many soft bounces really means a hard bounce...where an email box is always full (maybe not in use). In this case, you many not want to filter soft bounces out until a certain point, say, you get 20 soft bounces for that email address. In that case, you can filter the email list to exclude any records that have over 20 soft bounces. Now this is very arbitrary so you will have to set the number of times a record can soft bounce before you remove it from the list. Many times, sending emails to these addresses over and over is ok because the destination mail server does see the email box as valid, just not reachable, and that is not a bad mark on you.

So, for many, they just worry about hard bounces because those are the ones they can get in trouble with concerning the big mail providers. I would recommend just ignoring the soft bounce recording but it is up to your companies conventions.

BTW: Hotmail just got transformed to a new mail service called OUTLOOK.COM. We will be following this change to see how it affects our customer's deliver ability so check back over the next few weeks.

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  • Writer's pictureArial Software

Did you know that the timing of your email campaign has a big difference on how the emails are viewed? Depending on the audience you are reaching, you should time sending your email campaigns when you feel that the recipients are on the computer. When a user first logs onto his computer and checks email they will get a list of emails since the last time they were on. Usually they view the emails from the most recent emails to the oldest. If your email is one of the oldest n the list the user may have already grown tired of reading emails and may just glance over yours. There are exceptions, but if your recipients are business oriented, try sending your campaign just after noon, and if they are mostly home users, send them just after they get home from work. With varied time zones and sending speed it may be hard to time exactly but these are just general rules to more effective email campaigns.

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  • Writer's pictureArial Software

Here are Arial we get many instances where clients send email perfectly for long time and then bamm! things start falling apart. Many times a software is, like ours, is blamed for the issues because it is a logical thing to look at first. The truth of the matter is that Campaign Enterprise, Email Marketing Director, or any other emailing software does not change...but the circumstances around it do. Sometimes a dreaded OS update happens overnight and introduce new "support files" that your emailing software requires that causes a difference in functionality than before. You might have a corruption of some of the email software files, but this is rare.

The #1 culprit of these "it just started happening" scenarios is Blacklisting. The internet is a dynamic place. New technologies to protect the general public from SPAMers, Phishers and the like come online unknowingly and what was working great before all of a sudden just falls apart. Email distribution management is not a noun but a verb. It is an active thing that requires monitoring and maintenance. Part of your maintenance schedule to make sure everything is working well should include a scan to see if your SMTP server system is on any blacklists. We recommend using a website called With using this website, you can find out in an instant if you are being blacklisted by many blacklist sites. It only take a few problems with your SMTP server or a few complaints from cranky recipients to be blacklisted so check it at least weekly or before you send out any major email blasts.

As email distribution professionals, we need to play by the rules and be good internet citizens even if the rules changes. Remember, it is not IF the rules change, it is WHEN, so stay diligent.

Also, with visiting a free analysis tool like MXToolBox, be sure to visit a few of their advertiser and support their effort.

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