Bouncing back from bounce back.

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You see the new email notice in the corner of the computer screen and open Outlook only to see staring at you the subject you dread,  “Undeliverable:…”, worse the from address says “System Administrator”.  Inside the email is a bunch of techno babble that is meaningless to you.  All you care about is the important document you tried to send, the one with the sales quote that has to be there today,  never made it to the final destination and you’re left wondering what you should do now and what caused it to bounce back.

First, relax, the answer to why it came back and how you can fix it typically lie in the bounce back email message you received.

Second,  the “from” address from System administrator is not a bad thing.  The email was typically auto-generated from your ISP/ Company’s email system.  System administrators typically set up the auto-generated emails to use a generic system account that they can access for system messages.

When reading the bounce back message, the important thing is to find the section of the email that explains why the bounce back occurred.  The lines of the message that appear to have a large amount of techno “gibberish” are called “headers”.  These headers contain processing information from the email servers and can be ignored for the most part.

The explanation of the bounce back will be explained in the body of the message.  The three most common reasons for bounced back emails are:

1.  Specified email account was not found.

2.  The email Domain could not be found by DNS.

3. The message was marked as spam.

Issues 1 and 2 are typically caused by typographical mistakes, becomes  Look closely in the message body and you should see the email address the message was sent too.  Does it match the intended address?

If not then correct and resend.  If it does, than other causes can be the wrong account was given to you and the account was deactivated, the recipients account may have been removed or de-activated. You should contact the recipient and have them verify that the email address you have is correct and active.

Emails bounced back due to Issue 3 are due to how the recipient’s email system is configured.  Very often we find that a recipient’s email system is employing third party software to evaluate incoming emails and automatically reject suspected spam.  These third party systems may reject an email because the sending system is listed as an email sender, has not been white listed (marked allowed) in the filtering software, or the “From address” in email header does not match the sending systems domain (this is called “Relaying” and is highly discouraged).  In these situations, contacting the recipient’s IT department or third party email provider may be necessary to allow your system to transmit email to the recipients system.

In the case of Yahoo, emails may be rejected because enough Yahoo users have marked email from the sending system as Spam, that Yahoo will just block the sending system.    Resolving this requires contacting Yahoo and having them remove your system from the “Blacklist”.  Typically a system gets blacklisted because another computer on the network has been compromised and has malware or a virus that is sending large amounts of spam through the email server.  Tracing down the offending machine should be done by your IT provider or host.