E-Mail Facts and Fiction, Problems and Solutions

May 24, 2012

Not a day goes by without my e-mail inbox receiving a number of questions and comments. Many times one e-mail alone does not make for a very informative blog post. Yet combining a few of them together can have many valuable nuggets of information. Thus I am going to start a new label called “Foster’s Mailbag” and I’ll occasionally discuss some topics of interest. We’ll start the mailbag out with several issues in regards to e-mail itself.

First up is the all important subject of spam. I don’t know of anyone who likes it. I suppose the criminals sending it like it, but most of us hate it. On the average day, I waste at least 30 minutes fighting spam. Sure, I could turn up my filters to block more, but then I’d miss a few “good” e-mails. Yesterday I was trying to have an e-mail conversation with a vendor with whom we regularly do business. Every message I sent, no matter the content, was bounced with the accusation of the messages being spam. There is also a huge difference between true spam and e-mail you simply aren’t interested in reading. Legitimate senders give you the option to unsubscribe. One of the things you must do is whitelist (tell your spam filter to let e-mail through) people with whom you do wish to communicate! I covered a lot more about the plague of spam and whitelisting in the post last year entitled I Hate Regular Spam and Facebook Spam. I encourage you all to read it. If nothing else, can you please whitelist the two addresses shown in the graphic above right?

Another problem I see on a regular basis is people entering known wrong e-mail addresses when they create accounts. Then they are frustrated when they don’t receive the product they expected. If you don’t give us a proper address, we can’t send it to you! Of course there is also the dreaded typo. A customer makes a mistake typing their own address and then is frustrated when they don’t get a response. We are all guilty of these typos so I can only encourage you to check and double-check what you’ve typed anytime you are including important information.

The last thing for today was a very interesting problem. A customer wrote above some frustrations with links to videos I had included in an e-mail. Only one problem, I hadn’t included any links to videos. This customer was using a yahoo.com address so I suspected Yahoo was trying to be helpful by adding all the extra junk. As a test, I sent an e-mail to my own rarely used Yahoo address. Sure enough, it added all kinds of extra junk. It was using the small icon (with link to the Graphics Unleashed YouTube Channel) and grabbing links to all the videos in our channel and adding them to the e-mail. I have included a screenshot from the bottom of the Yahoo e-mail below. Note that I’ve added yellow shading over the stuff that Yahoo added. Ah, another day with the joys of e-mail.

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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