… and, no, it is NOT the reason you might think!
I’ll let you in on a little secret, the vast majority of us technical types HATE email! Why??? Because it causes more grief than almost any other application out there! And, no, it’s not because email can be the harbinger of “really bad things” (although, as we all know, it certainly can be that). It is because email was never meant to be a “reliable protocol”; in fact it is NOT a reliable protocol – never has been, never will be as long as all email servers follow the rules and protocols set in stone eons ago.
What does it mean when I say it is not a “reliable” protocol? Simple – it means that there is no guarantee that the email you send will actually get to the person you sent it to. There is nothing built in to the email protocols to ensure that delivery actually happens. Yes, you can ask for a “trace” on your email (delivery receipt) but that by and of itself does not guarantee delivery. And then there are all the arcane messages that you can receive when something does go wrong. You know what they are like, cryptic and not truly helpful to you. And that’s the rub, the messages are DESIGNED to be cryptic as the email server is not supposed to give out helpful information to the “bad guys”. Yeesh.
When email fails the wrath of the Almighty tends to rain down on us IT types and we have to explain to all and sundry WHY the blessed email didn’t go through. That’s not easy as we have to decipher all the cryptic messages (No, the cryptic message is NOT meant to be an insult to you, sir, so please don’t take it that way) and then figure out what went wrong. Lots of times it is purely user error although there are many, many things that can screw up that are out of the control of your techies. For instance, we are seeing lots of blacklisting lately on “new” IP’s that Shaw is handing out in Western Canada; the blacklisting is not because customer email servers are doing anything wrong, it is probably due to artefacts in various blacklists tied to where the IP’s used to exist. Who knows but users get mightily exorcised when emails bounce and they get the “nice” terse message form their email server.
So, the next time you get a bounced email and/or the terse message from your email server, please take a second to reflect on things before you rain hell down on your IT staff. It will be appreciated by the techie types, believe me.
Oh, and don’t email me on this, it’ll bounce …