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Is Email reliable any more?

© October 2003 Tony Lawrence

First: email never was and never will be 100% reliable. However, until very recently, you had every expectation that email would arrive at its intended destination, probably with even more reliability than a letter sent by postal mail.

That's changed. With all the spam, and all the spam filtering, I am experiencing far too much unreliability: mail I never get from people, and mail I send that never gets to them. Email is no longer a safe method of communication.

Just this weekend, someone sent me seven separate emails, of which only four reached me. I don't know where the others went to: the worst part is that my own web server generated them, and I can see in the web logs that they really were sent. But I only got four, and the rest are not even in the spam folders. They are just gone.

I sent email to my daughter, and got back a bounce "We don't accept UCE" (that's Unsolicited Commercial Email). So her ISP thinks my server is a spammer. Unfortunately, for a vendor I do business with that's the only server I can use to send mail: they think my other server is a spammer. They don't send bounce messages either, and the recipient doesn't get told of that my mail to them was silently deleted.

At the gym this morning, a friend asked why I hadn't responded to his mail. I never got it. A customer complained that I wasn't responding to his mail - I got no bounces, and finally had to call him and read my response!

This is NOT good.

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Sun Oct 4 15:38:21 2009: 7063   TonyLawrence

It's only gotten worse.

When I have really important, heads will roll if this doesn't get through stuff , I send it email AND postal mail.

Even then it's discouraging how much just disappears.

Sun Oct 4 16:13:09 2009: 7065   BigDumbDInosaur

If it's truly important and loss or failure to deliver are not acceptable options I send it via FedEx, recipient signature requested. As with all human endeavors, FedEx is not 100 percent reliable but is about as close as one is likely to get. The only other alternative would be for me to personally hand-deliver the whatever, but if the other person is the Wild Man from Borneo, I'd have to settle for FedEx. <Grin>


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