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What are bounced emails

When there’s any type of problem sending an email its “bounced back” to Scout Manager. We analyze the email and determine what went wrong so that we can take appropriate action. There are nearly unlimited reasons why an email can bounce so we classify them as best we can and provide details where possible.

Email Bounce Types

There are two types of email bounces that require we stop sending emails to the email address. That bears repeating: once an email-address bounces with one of the following types Scout Manager will no longer send emails to the recipient.

  1. Bounce

    This means the email address is invalid. You’ll need to fix the issue by checking the email-address for typos/correctness. There are no additional actions that can be taken on a hard bounce like this.

  2. Complaint

    A complaint is the equivalent of “you may not send to this recipient anymore until you resolve the issue.”

    This is the most complex bounce type as it can be initiated by a person, email system or spam detection algorithm. Emails that contain trigger words or any content that makes a spam detector anxious can trigger a flurry of automated complaint returns for everybody addressed on the email. What makes this so complex is that administrators everywhere decide how sensitive to make their spam detector.

    If you see Complaint bounces you can request to have them removed and resend your email, but they could be bounced again and the process repeats.

There are other reasons why emails could be undelivered, however we are n ot providing details about those at this time. Reasons could include such things as:

  • Overquota - the recipients inbox is too full
  • Spam - the email provider flagged the email as possible spam or there was another routing issue.

These are not very common anymore and do not cause emails to stop send attempts.

Email complaints

Email complaints occur when a user or system flags an email as SPAM and/or having other issues with authenticity. When this happens the recipients email address is flagged at multiple levels so that emails are no longer sent to them.

Why not just keep sending to complaint bounces?

It’s a common industry practice and good courtesy to stop sending to emails that are flagged as complaints until they are understood and resolved. This practice also helps to keep the amount of real spam showing up in inboxes everywhere. Even if Scout Manager continued sending them they could/would get blocked somewhere else along the way.

Even though your emails are legitimate and important computers will continue handle them the same as spam until the issue is resolved.

How do the complaints happen and how do I avoid them?

We’re not 100% sure what causes complaint flags because the algorithms and reasons are kept secret by the systems implementing them so that real spam senders are at a disadvantage. And the algorithms change continuously. We do know that if we don’t use DKIM signing and MX records don’t match up things get flagged very quickly. However, all those things are being handled for you by Scout Manager and our email provider so we think it boils down to content in the email.

There are published trigger words and phrases and its good practice to check your content doesn’t contain “spam language”.