Just curious if anyone else experiences issues with emails not being received by customers and realtors through ISN? I have had several problems since around March. I IM ISN for help, a change is suggested, the change is made but I still keep having problems with customers and agents telling they are not getting the emails that are supposed to be sent. I have changed my SMTP settings which they said would work but did not. I changed from Godaddy hosting my email because they told me ISN does not work well with Godaddy, so now I use Office 365 for email. That has not worked. Called in earlier this week and Chris went into my email account settings and made changes, but still get customers telling me they are not getting reports. I cannot explain how frustrating this is for me to not be able to deliver to my customers because I am not a software engineer and I do not know what the issue is and ISN does not seem to be able to resolve it.
I had to start using Office 365 for the same reason, but everything appears to be working for me now, except I don’t always receive notifications when the emails are opened.
Hi Toby & David,
As fair warning this is probably going to get long winded… sorry
The world of email, like all technology, is constantly evolving. In the last few years the ISPs have grown tired of SPAM and falsified email. To combat this a lot of new rules have been created to essentially authenticate who can send email FROM your account. Sadly this does create a bit of nerd activities you should do. I’ll do my best here to remove the nerd and explain a few things without my software engineer hat on (but I love that hat so I apologize if I slip it on). I can also provide some guidance to getting more emails into people’s inbox. We have to remember that sending an email is actually two major steps: getting the email to the provider and getting the email to the user’s inbox. One of them we can control the other we cannot so we can only put ourselves into the best position possible.
First, it is important to understand that email is analogous to actual postal mail. You put your letter into an envelope with all of the correct addressing, return addressing and postage. From there all you can do it is put it in the outgoing postal slot. Email is much the same. You create the letter/message, add an envelope, drop her on the Internet and get a receipt.
Now, let’s talk about getting the email to the provider correctly. At ISN we do this on your behalf. We take your emails and your automated messages. We pretend to be you and we send it. Now, we are actually really good at this. At ISN we send a ton of email on behalf of a lot of cool inspectors and company owners. We are really good at sending it and really good at tracking it. Right now we have a delivery rate, network wide, of 98.07% across millions and millions of emails every month. That’s pretty incredible considering the other 1.93% makes up ALL of our blocks, rejects, spams and drops.
So the question is for our owners… how do I do this better:
If you have your own domain you send email from (Toby, this is you) you do need to say “hey world, these ISN guys are okay.” You do this with something called SPF. What SPF does is it tells other email providers that ISN is allowed to send email on your behalf. It’s actually really easy to add for us nerds - it is done with something called DNS. If you have your own domain and you know about DNS then awesome, this is what you need to do:
If you have your own domain and you just though “what in the @#%@#%@ is DNS?” then we are here to help you!! Jump into your ISN, go to live chat and ask us to help you. We are more than thrilled to help out. I want every single owner to have the best DNS setup possible. Our job is to build tools that empower your team! We can help; message us!
After that is done, we will get that email into that inbox, I guarantee it. It’s what we do (to quote that Geico commercial).
Now, let’s talk about this second part. Getting the email to the user’s inbox. What happens after we get the email to the provider is such a black box to us all. Example: what does google really do with my email, why did that go into SPAM or why does that go into my “update” folder? There are so many questions that we cannot answer - nor will they ever share with us. So we have to look at the content of the email. Does it look like SPAM? Did I include a bunch of links? Will this email get filtered out? These are all GREAT questions and it does require a few iterations. My guidance is this: be short, be direct and to the point in your emails/templates. Do not send a bunch of links to other services or systems. The more direct and personal your email is the better chance the provider will NOT filter it.
*Toby, I sent you a longer follow-up in your ticket that explains why I think the one email you asked about is not arriving at your agent’s inbox. Let me know if there are further questions.
With all of that being said, let me address a few of questions / comments:
Toby, any issue you had before the other day I helped you personally please contact me about directly – those issues would be with the provider on the other end of the SMTP connection (Office365 - since you were not using ISN to send email before). Let me know if that’s not clear and I am more than happy to explain it.
Toby’s Comment: I changed from Godaddy hosting my email because they told me ISN does not work well with Godaddy, so now I use Office 365 for email.
Chris: ahh, yes, this is true, GoDaddy’s legacy system (before they started reselling Office365) has an interesting design flaw that GoDaddy did finally/officially admit to me over Twitter. They will NOT recognize any 3rd party sender through SPF nor DKIM (sorry, nerd stuff). Thus, anyone with GoDaddy email will NOT be able to alias email over the legacy system. When they started reselling Office365 they came under Microsoft’s umbrella and logic and that went away. So if you want ISN to send email on your behalf to other GoDaddy customers you do need to switch to Office365. To date they are the only provider that I know of that does this – to their own admission they won’t support it.
Toby’s Comment: I cannot explain how frustrating this is for me to not be able to deliver to my customers because I am not a software engineer and I do not know what the issue is and ISN does not seem to be able to resolve it.
Chris: oh, I understand the frustration 100%. Contact us in support on anything that is not working and we will look into the details. The more we iterate on your challenges the more focused on 100% success we will be. Right now your DNS setup is perfect. The issues now are going to be on content filtering which will probably take some iterations.
David’s Comment: I had to start using Office 365 for the same reason, but everything appears to be working for me now, except I don’t always receive notifications when the emails are opened.
Chris: David, thanks for the feedback on your results after switching! Your comment about not receiving notifications is quite real and accurate; let me explain why (it’s pretty wild). Everyone (Constant Contact, iContact, MailChimp, you name it) detects email “opens” with the same lame logic: hiding an image in an email and translating links. The most accurate way to see if someone actually read the email is to stash a secret image in the email that the viewer would request (usually a transparent little pixel somewhere). When the request happens we sense the image and mark it as read. A fallback approach is to use translated links so we detect when someone clicks. Most of the popular email clients now know this and are being smart to protect the user. If you have ever used a client that says “click to download images” or “view images, click here” you are seeing the email client’s protecting the user’s privacy by attempting to NOT fetch those read images. This prevents us from seeing the “open” event unless they click on one of the links. Now, at ISN we even go one extra step and I embed two different read image markers in the email hoping that at least one of them will get picked up. But David, yup, you are right, sometimes we don’t see those reads. But that’s a penalty of trying to trick the system into telling us more.
In closing if you ever have issues with emails coming out of ISN please come into live chat; we can help you get it to 100%!
Sorry that was so long… lots to share! (going to go put my nerd hat back on)