The Beacon email agent
Beacon uses a commercial email agent called SendGrid to dispatch messages and to provide details about progress.
Beacon has a dedicated IP address so that messages are not rejected because of misuse of the system by another party. However, all U3As using Beacon share this dedicated IP address, and a transgression by a user of one U3A could still affect everyone else.
Therefore all U3As must ensure that the system is used responsibly and in particular ensure that messages that could be construed as spam are not sent. Click for tips about sending and receiving emails.
Recognising emails sent by Beacon
All messages sent by Beacon have a 'From' address of email@example.com and recipients will see them as having come from (for example) John Smith via MyTown U3A.
Replying to emails sent by Beacon
Ordinarily, recipients can reply directly to the sender (such as by pressing a 'Reply' button) as the 'Reply-To' header in the email is set to the user's own address. However, a few mail programs may not do this.
Monitoring delivery progress
The progress of messages can be monitored by clicking Email Delivery on the Beacon Home page.
In addition, where messages are bounced, dropped or are the subject of spam reports, an email will be sent to the sender and to the Site Administrator naming the offending email address and describing why the address has been blacklisted.
All message failure reports should be treated seriously. Rejected email addresses should be verified, (most of them are simple spelling errors) and corrected or removed from Beacon as soon as possible if not proven to be valid.
Rejected addresses are added to a Blacklist and any further attempt to send to these addresses will be rejected (with a 'dropped' error). Your Site Administrator is able to remove an email address from the blacklist once it has been demonstrated to be a genuine address.
You can check upon the progress of emails sent, to see if they have been delivered. If the recipient views images in their emails, you can also see if and when the message was accessed by the recipient.
Particularly when sending a message to many members, a check should be made that they have not bounced due to invalid email addresses that do not comply with the SMTP format of userid@domain and top level domain. Common causes are:
- Userid - no userid, userid too long, userid uses unsupported special characters or the rules for the use of special characters have been broken.
- No '@' separating userid and domain.
- Domain - No Domain, no top level domain or missing separator '.' between domain and top level domain.
Delivery statuses explained
Despatched by Beacon
The message has been sent to our email agent.
The message has been received by our email agent but not yet forwarded on.
Our email agent is unable to establish communication with the recipient's email provider in order to forward the message on. The sending of Deferred messages is automatically retried at intervals over a day or more until repeated failures cause the message to be rejected.
The message has been rejected by our email agent. This is either because the email address was in an invalid format, or because a previous email to this address was Bounced or Reported as Spam. Such an email address is blocked (blacklisted) by our email agent and can only be unblocked by your Site Administrator.
The message has been accepted by the recipient's email provider, though it may have gone to the recipient’s spam folder rather than their inbox. Note that some email providers may silently bin the email without delivering it to a spam folder if the software guesses it is probably spam. Hotmail is particularly fierce in this regard.
Our email agent distinguishes two sorts of delivery error. One it calls ‘Bounced’ and the other ‘Blocked’. Bounced means that the message has been rejected by the recipient's email provider, usually because the address is incorrect, disabled or no longer valid. The error message returned is displayed in red and should be examined. Invalid email addresses should be removed from Beacon.
Also called "Soft Bounce" by many people. For example MailChimp says:
Soft bounces typically indicate a temporary delivery issue to an address and are handled differently than hard bounces. While there are many reasons an email address may soft bounce, below are some common reasons this could happen:
- Mailbox is full (over quota).
- Recipient email server is down or offline (an example is orange.net which is no longer an active mail system)
- Email message is too large.
Our email agent thinks that a ‘Block’ may be only temporary and does not add the recipient's address to the blacklist, so the email unblocker does not work these emails. Beacon doesn't email the sender and the Site Administrator about blocked emails but does flag them up in the email delivery log.
The message has been received by the recipient who has downloaded it onto his/her computer. Note that the method by which our mail agent detects this is by the automatic inclusion of a tiny image in the message. If the user has a setting where they don’t view images in emails this Opened status will not be set, even though the recipient has read the text of the message. Therefore more recipients will have opened an email than is indicated by this status.
A website link within the message has been clicked on by the recipient. The link clicked is indicated. In distinction to the ‘opened’ status the Clicked status should always be true if the user has clicked on the link in your message.
The message (or perhaps an attachment associated with it) has been rejected as spam. This is a serious situation that should be investigated immediately. An isolated spam report is not a disaster but repeated spam reports will damage Beacon's reputation and could adversely affect all users.
|v2||2020-11-07||Graeme Bunting||Examples of invalid email format added.|