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Can I properly track an SMTP message round-trip?

Posted on 2009-04-09
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Last Modified: 2013-11-30
Hi there,

I've never had a request like this before, so I need to post this question in order to find out if this is possilble?

Our web app sends out smtp messages to users upon request.

I've been asked if it 's possible to put an ID in our outbound smtp messages from our web-app so that when a user replies to them and they come back in .. we can associate the reply to the original email, by retrieving the ID from the reply message.

Is that posible in the realm of smtp messaging?  We use a windows socket to connect to our smtp server and then output the message thru code .... so, there is no limit to what we can put into the smtp message.  

I guess what I am asking is .. is there some place in there that I can put something as a unique ID (that I provide) that will ALWAYS come back in the reply message?  Obviously, the body is not reliable as the user may delete the original text.

Thx, in advance, for any help in this regard.

Scott
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Question by:srbarker8
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Accepted Solution

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tigermatt earned 500 total points
ID: 24121617

While adding an additional header into the SMTP session when sending the message would work for the message sent out, there is no guarantee the header will be returned by the recipient's MTA when the message is replied to. In fact, chances are, it will not be included in the return message. This approach would therefore not work.

The usual method for going about this would be to add a unique identifier to the subject or body of the message. It is possible this could be deleted, but that is the only location where you can guarantee that 99% of the messages returned will have the code attached.

-Matt
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Author Closing Comment

by:srbarker8
ID: 31568694
Thx for the advice, Matt.

Cheers,

Scott
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