Tips: Email Troubleshooting

SMTP Servers:

  • Mail Server IP Address:
    • Primary SMTP Server: 209.15.205.180
    • Transactional SMTP Server: 198.21.7.99
  • Reverse DNS (PTR):
    • Primary SMTP Server: outbound.volunteer2mail.com
    • Transactional SMTP Server: o2.trans.volunteer2mail.com
  • Forward DNS (A):
    • Primary SMTP Server: outbound.volunteer2mail.com
    • Transactional SMTP Server: o2.trans.volunteer2mail.com

IMPORTANT:

  • volunteer2mail.com is a dedicated domain used to send emails from the Better Impact family of products
  • We fully support SPF, Sender ID, DKIM and DomainKeys for email being sent from the volunteer2mail.com domain
  • Our mail server is white-listed and registered in feedback loops with major providers such as Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL and Comcast
  • Messages are sent with a “Return-Path” header value of bounce@volunteer2mail.com
  • We utilize a custom service to process and send notifications of bounces that are received at bounce@volunteer2mail.com to notify the original sender of the bounce; this is done in accordance with recommended SPF guidelines

General Troubleshooting Tips

  • Make sure the email address is entered properly in the recipient’s profile. For example, is the domain (e.g. @gmail.com) spelled properly? Are you missing a period (.) or underscore (_) in the email address?
  • Have you received a bounce notification from postmaster@volunteer2mail.com? If so, what did the message say? Typical messages that indicate the email address has not been entered properly (or no longer exists) will usually include messages such as: “no such user”, “unable to relay for user”, “this mailbox does not exist”, “email address could not be found, or was misspelled”, etc.
  • Has the recipient checked their junk or spam folder? If the message is ending up here, you may want to read the “Tips for keeping emails to your recipients from getting trashed or spam filtered” section of this article (next section).

 

Tips for keeping emails to your recipients from getting trashed or spam filtered

Only send mail to the people that ought to receive it 

    1. Yahoo’s mail service reminds us that spammers write to many people who don’t want their mail, so their anti-spam filters are designed to identify that behavior.  One of the patterns they consider in identifying a spammer is too high a percentage of respondents that choose to move the email to the spam folder.

      To avoid being perceived as a spammer, don’t send out one email to all people containing many different messages intended for different groups of people. Filter that list to send only the pertinent information out to the right people in each email. Recipients would rather receive two emails with separate messages where both pertain to them, than one long email with a mishmash of information, some of which has nothing to do with them.

       

    Avoid spam-triggering words and phrases

      1. One of our clients had an email treated as spam by more than one of the large internet mail providers because she included the phrase “Free tickets”. It was a totally legitimate offer she was making to her people, but too many spammers have used similar wording.

        Sendgrid.com tells us that “Unfortunately, there is no complete list of spam trigger words. Further, it is not always the case that your email will end up in the spam filter simply by using a so-called trigger word. The key thing to remember is that a spam filter is trying to remove commercial advertisements and promotions. So generally, words that are common in such emails should be avoided or used sparingly.” There are a variety of sites that detail spam trigger words and phishing phrases to avoid in subject lines.

         

      Use subject lines that let the recipient know what the email is about

        1. So, if your email gets past the spam filters, you still have to prevent it from being mistaken for spam or unnecessary information and deleted without so much as a glance.

          Mindtools.com suggests that we treat subject lines a little like newspaper headlines. “A newspaper headline has two functions: it grabs your attention, and it tells you what the article is about, so that you can decide if you want to read further. Email subject lines need to do exactly the same thing! Use a few well-chosen words, so that the recipient knows at a glance what the email is about. Of course, just as it would be ridiculous to publish a newspaper without headlines, never leave the subject line blank. Emails with blank subject lines are usually spam!”

          Mail Chimp analyzed over 40 million emails sent from customers and found that 9 of the top 10 highest open rates had the company name in it

          Examples:

          • Really Bad – Subject: Free donuts
          • Bad – Subject: Free donuts at orientation
          • Good – Subject: Applicant orientation 10:00 this Thursday
          • Very Good – Subject: Anytown Museum applicant orientation 10:00 this Thursday

           

        Avoid Large Attachments and Certain Attachment Types

          1. In general, .jpg, .gif, .png and .pdf attachments are safe to send, provided you include some content in the email as well. However, executable attachments such as .exe, .zip, .swf, etc. should be avoided entirely.

            TechRepublic.com suggests “Don’t attach large files to an e-mail; anything over one or two megabytes shouldn’t be sent via e-mail. E-mail attachments consume inordinate amounts of e-mail server space and network bandwidth and are often the culprits behind virus outbreaks.” Because of their link to viruses, emails containing attachments can have a greater chance of being treated as spam if other elements of the email are similar to spam. Many sources online agreed with limiting the file size of attachments, not only in a single attachment but as a total as well. Some email inboxes have limits to their capacity; emails with large attachments can claim too much space to be kept.

             

          Remove bad addresses from your database

            1. Spammers list typically have a larger percentage of bad email addresses than legitimate lists. One great way to look like a spammer is to include bad email address in your bulk emails, especially when you keep sending to that address.

            Technical details for your IT staff about how email is sent through our system

            Our outbound SMTP servers:

            • Standard emails are sent from: 209.15.205.180 (outbound.volunteer2mail.com)
            • Transactional emails (password resets, system notifications, etc.) are sent from: 198.21.7.99 (o2.trans.volunteer2mail.com)

            These servers are whitelisted and registered in feedback loops with major providers such as Hotmail, Yahoo and AOL in accordance with bulk-sending best practices. We also continuously monitor the sending reputation of these servers to ensure optimal delivery.

            If possible, it is recommended that you whitelist our outbound mail servers to ensure deliverability. These are both dedicated IP addresses that are used for the sole purpose of sending mail from our application (we do not send any form of advertising or marketing mails from these servers).

            We send all email using opportunistic TLS encryption, meaning it will be sent using TLS if the recipient’s email server supports it. Otherwise, it will be sent in plan text to ensure deliverability.

             

            When we send mail through our service, the headers are as follows:

            Return-Path: <bounce@volunteer2mail.com>

            From: “Your Name” <you@yourdomain.com>

            To: “Recipient Name” <recipient@theirdomain.com>

             

            Under some circumstances, to ensure deliverability, we need to use the following headers to send the mail instead (note the addition of the “Reply-To” header and the use of “message@volunteer2mail.com” in the “From” header):

            Return-Path: <bounce@volunteer2mail.com>

            From: “Your Name” <message@volunteer2mail.com>

            Reply-To: “Your Name” <you@yourdomain.com>

            To: “Recipient Name” <recipient@theirdomain.com>

             

            Reasons why this is done are as follows:

            • The sender’s domain contains a DMARC (link to: https://dmarc.org/) record with a policy of either: “reject” or “quarantine”.
            • We detect (via an MX lookup) that the sender’s email is being hosted in Office 365. This is done to avoid message such as “This Sender Failed Our Fraud Detection Checks and May Not Be Who They Appear to Be” from showing to your recipients.
            • We detect a TXT record in the sender’s domain with the value of “_betterimpact-rewrite-sender”. Note: this can be used to force the use of a “Reply-To” header for your domain in circumstances where the “From” header would cause issues with fraud detection / spoofing in your email environment.

            Typical Email Headers (for reference purposes)

            Return-Path: <bounce@volunteer2mail.com>
            Received: from [209.15.205.180] ([209.15.205.180:65508]
            helo=outbound.volunteer2mail.com) by smtp51.gate.dfw1a.rsapps.net
            (envelope-from <bounce@volunteer2mail.com>) (ecelerity 2.2.3.46 r(37554))
            with ESMTP id 2F/94-09431-B184BFD4; Fri, 17 Jun 2011 08:27:07 -0400
            DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha1; c=relaxed/relaxed;
            s=s1024;d=volunteer2mail.com;
            h=from:to:sender:date:subject:mime-version:content-type:message-id;
            bh=wixYDQhFU6dOc6HhkA2YYmdhV0s=;
            b=lapra2B3liMDpfGSzY5TNbXuPIOb8Ep+98dp8+uDLjPmZxElgAo4o5IvdsDbBXfdsLKIMoHf
            bHFKiFmugrV/DnRlTi4RMOK3l+xvtPR8dfrXqcnERQdOKSDNaU6XUnqRFEDj0xNg8s5DsnAW
            WGnVAETTXAYtaraReENUgITtWtY=
            DomainKey-Signature: a=rsa-sha1; q=dns; c=nofws;
            s=s1024;d=volunteer2mail.com;
            h=from:to:sender:date:subject:mime-version:content-type:message-id;
            b=GGLkdKj1hCa8HE8MS0WLcOONj3IzyfwP7cm8uAbNa1OU762gusqtHlNHI4/XleIv1fwqn2vU
            XoGJa/ElYw691XsDYTlPoyJ0nhnS24CwP6MNa8tUtJQmXmaoEx8+FWRpv3nxfgZK4FFshpF3
            73tj2e15C8Nk04d3jnMO6ieq5eQ=
            Received: from mail pickup service by outbound.volunteer2mail.com with Microsoft SMTPSVC;
            Fri, 17 Jun 2011 08:27:06 -0400
            From: <johndoe@example.com>
            To: <janedoe@example.com>
            Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2011 08:24:46 -0400
            Subject: Subject
            MIME-Version: 1.0
            Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
            boundary=”_=aspNetEmail=_d6ef38fc43584694bd897c3367f0c448″
            X-Mailer: aspNetEmail ver 3.7.0.10
            Message-ID: <vol2web1697b83fd01bc4e819c576c84dfeccf4e@vol2web1>

            Contacting Support

            • If you encounter a bounce message contains information related to spamming, blacklisting, etc. (or other problems you are unable to solve directly), please contact us.

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