Unshelved comic strip for 8/19/2004

Easy Come, Easy Go

The number of fine people receiving our email delivery just dived down by 244. That's because I finally implemented the MailMonitor, a piece of software that monitors the emails that get "bounced" back to us whenever we do a mailing. These come in several categories:

  • Rejections. When we get more than 10 of these we call it a day and take them off our list.
  • Delays. We ignore these - they either turn into rejections or the mail succeeds in getting through.
  • Out Of Offices. We ignore these too, presuming that one day the person in question will come back to work.
  • Spam notifications. We keep these around to deal with. There's usually something simple we can do to get whitelisted.
  • None of the above. This means we couldn't programatically figure out what the returned mail was. We store it so I can look at it.

There's no perfect way to handle bounced mail so we're doing what everyone does - look for patterns in the subject lines and bodies of the returned mails that clue us in to what is being said and who the email was originally sent to.

Because people will now be being automatically removed from our list I also instituted a better paper trail for email deliveries so we can at least figure out why they were suddenly unsubscribed.

Yeah, I enjoyed this little project, which took about six days more than the one I originally budgeted for it, schedulewise. But it's important because as we get closer to selling sponsorships we need to be able to substantiate our email delivery numbers. Now our number is both more realistic (sigh) and more defensible.

This Unshelved strip

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