July 2020: Handling Bounced Messages

Earlier this month, we released a big improvement with how DoneDone handles bounced email messages sent from your Mailbox. But, first, a quick bit of background.

What's a bounced email message?

A bounced email is an email that couldn't be delivered to the recipient's address. This could be for a number of reasons. A few common ones? The address doesn't exist, the person's inbox was full, or the recipient's mail server was down for an extended period of time.

If you send a legitimate email to a real address, there's almost no chance it will bounce. But, in this day and age, there are plenty of bad actors out there. Bounces do happen.

How email clients typically handle bounced messages

When a sent message bounces with traditional email, you usually receive a new message in your inbox from your email service provider. These bounce notification messages are usually somewhat technical and cryptic. On top of that, they aren't linked to the original email you sent. It's just a separate message in your inbox.

This would be like receiving a follow-up letter from the postal service saying a letter you sent last week couldn't be delivered, rather than noting this on the actual letter that was originally sent.

Up until now, this is also how we handled bounced messages in DoneDone: If you sent a message to a customer and that email bounced, we'd send your mailbox a "bounced message" email. We wanted to make this a lot better.

How DoneDone handles bounced messages

Now, when a message you send can't be delivered, you'll see a note next to the bounced reply in your history. Just rollover the note to see the email address and reason the message could not be delivered.

Bounced replies will be noted in conversation history

In addition, we'll send an email directly to the person who sent the reply so they'll know to check back on the conversation.

How DoneDone handles bad email addresses

There's something else to know about bounced email. Bounces can come in two forms: Soft bounces or hard bounces.

  • A soft bounce is a failed delivery that is probably just temporary. For instance, an email could bounce because the recipient's mail server has a temporary outage or is full.
  • A hard bounce is a failed delivery that is likely permanent. For example, a forged email address that simply doesn't exist or an email that has been deactivated by the recipient's server.

When an outgoing email hard bounces, DoneDone will automatically disable the address and no further emails will be sent to that address again. By the way, this doesn't just go for replies you send to the customer, but your auto-responses to.

This is a common practice that helps keep the "reputation" of our email servers intact (Yes, reputation is a real thing in the email server world).

Even further, when you go to a conversation to a customer whose email has been disabled, we'll let you know right away.

What to do with bad email addresses

If you ever see this pop-up on a conversation, we recommend you do one of two things:

  • If you've never seen this address before and the email itself looks suspicious (for instance, it's unrelated to your business or asking for personal information), you should delete the message entirely.
  • If the email looks legitimate, and it's possible the customer's address is incorrect, you should update the address before attempting to reply to it.
  • If you're sure the email is legitimate, just contact us and we can manually re-activate the address for you.
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