Please Help Me Interpret Email Bounce Messages

MrChip2
MrChip2 used Ask the Experts™
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Hello,

Last week I ran an email campaign to an opt-in list for people to take a short 5 minute survey.  We have done this many times in the past.  Typically, we see a 5% - 10% bounce rate.  Last week the rate was closer to 35% - 40%.  Our response rate to the survey was also extremely low.  I am wondering if something technical happened with the email.  I attached three examples of error reports we received on bounce backs.   To save space, I removed the text of the email message and I changed the email addresses for privacy.

Here is the set-up that we used.  In terms of software, I used Gammadyne Mailer (the latest version).  This software lets you send emails both as plain text and as HTML.  It also supports customizing the email (e.g., mail merge).  The email address is a domain that is hosted at GoDaddy.  I purchased sufficient email accounts to cover the number of outgoing emails.  I use GoDaddy's SMTP server which is called smptout.secureserver.net.  I also configured an SPF record and ran a check to be sure that it was working.  The email is coming from me@mydomain.net.  The reply address is the same and the domain mydomain.net is parked at GoDaddy.

When I look at the bounces I noticed a few things:

1. Different characters are added to the end of each line in both the plain text and the HTML versions.  Some of the HTML code seemed corrupt and every line had an equal sign at the end.   And every line in the text/plain version ends with =20.  

2. My email has three hyperlinks in it.  One is to the survey, another is to my company's website domain, and a third is to Amazon.com.  The Amazon.com was unintentional, I will correct it by referring to that site simply as Amazon.  Does having two links increase likelihood of being flagged as spam?

3. In the HTML I used a custom font (Calibri).  Could that be introducing problems?  Would I be better off sending the email strictly as plain text and dropping the HTML?

4. In one bounce the message said "Received: from unknown (74.62.179.234)".  The IP address is mine and is legit.  Could this be a cause of the problem?  If yes, is there something I can do to make my IP known to the email servers?

Below are a couple of samples of bounce messages:

Bounce Message #1

This is the mail system at host gw-eur1.philips.com.

I'm sorry to have to inform you that your message could not
be delivered to one or more recipients. It's attached below.

For further assistance, please send mail to postmaster.

If you do so, please include this problem report. You can
delete your own text from the attached returned message.

The mail system

<########@philips.com>: host smtpscan-eur4.philips.local[130.144.57.167]
said: 550 5.1.1 <########@philips.com>: Recipient address rejected: User
unknown in virtual alias table (in reply to RCPT TO command)

Reporting-MTA: dns; gw-eur1.philips.com
X-Postfix-Queue-ID: 0CC402300
X-Postfix-Sender: rfc822; myemail@mydomain.net
Arrival-Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 10:46:09 +0000 (GMT)

Final-Recipient: rfc822; ########@philips.com
Original-Recipient: rfc822;########@philips.com
Action: failed
Status: 5.1.1
Remote-MTA: dns; smtpscan-eur4.philips.local
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 550 5.1.1 <########@philips.com>: Recipient address
    rejected: User unknown in virtual alias table

Bounce Message #2

Reporting-MTA: dns;fraexsmtp2.staplesams.com
Received-From-MTA: dns;fraexsmtp4.staples.com
Arrival-Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 06:26:33 -0400

Original-Recipient: rfc822;#######@staples.com
Final-Recipient: rfc822;#######@staples.com
Action: failed
Status: 5.1.1

Bounce Message #3


Hi. This is the qmail-send program at p3plsmtpa06-08.prod.phx3.secureserver.net.
I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.

<#####@goodyear.com>:
167.232.250.211 does not like recipient.
Remote host said: 550 cuda_nsu #####@goodyear.com... No such user
Giving up on 167.232.250.211.

--- Below this line is a copy of the message.

Return-Path: <me@mydomain.net>
Received: (qmail 2885 invoked from network); 11 Apr 2012 10:24:46 -0000
Received: from unknown (74.62.179.234)
by p3plsmtpa06-08.prod.phx3.secureserver.net (173.201.192.109) with ESMTP; 11 Apr 2012 10:24:45 -0000
Reply-To: me@mydomain.net
From: me@mydomain.net
To: #####@goodyear.com
Subject: Please ..........
Date: 11 Apr 2012 03:24:45 -0700
Message-ID: <20120411031058.D48272234F0FECB0@mydomain.net>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Expiry-Date: 30 Apr 2012 01:06:43 -0700
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
boundary="----=_NextPart_000_0012_3F320D66.301680A2"


------=_NextPart_000_0012_3F320D66.301680A2
Content-Type: text/plain
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

**** Every line in the text/plain version ends with =20, for example (I added quotation marks):

      "If your email software supports hyperlinks, you can take the=20"

------=_NextPart_000_0012_3F320D66.301680A2
Content-Type: text/html;
charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.=
w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">;

<HTML><HEAD>
<META content=3D"MSHTML 6.00.6000.17109" name=3DGENERATOR></HEAD>
<BODY style=3D"MARGIN: 0.5em">

**** All HTML code shows in the HTML version and every line ends with an equal sign =, for example (I added quotation marks):

      "only 9 questions and it should take less than 5 minutes to complete it</U> ="
      "=2E Your anonymous answers will allow you to express your opinions and inpu="

Bounce Message #4


Hi. This is the qmail-send program at p3plsmtpa06-08.prod.phx3.secureserver.net.
I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.

:
Sorry, I wasn't able to establish an SMTP connection. (#4.4.1)
I'm not going to try again; this message has been in the queue too long.

--- Below this line is a copy of the message.

Return-Path:
Received: (qmail 1027 invoked from network); 11 Apr 2012 10:22:32 -0000
Received: from unknown (74.62.179.234)
by p3plsmtpa06-08.prod.phx3.secureserver.net (173.201.192.109) with ESMTP; 11 Apr 2012 10:22:32 -0000
Reply-To: myemail@mydomain.net
From: myemail@mydomain.net
To: #####@####.com
Subject: #############
Date: 11 Apr 2012 03:22:32 -0700
Message-ID: <20120411031058.FB9C1E7E64137727@mydomain.net>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Expiry-Date: 30 Apr 2012 01:06:43 -0700
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
boundary="----=_NextPart_000_0012_611B9393.F9FD553F"


------=_NextPart_000_0012_611B9393.F9FD553F
Content-Type: text/plain
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

EMAIL CONTENTS IN PLAIN TEXT - 5 PARAGRAPHS WITH 1 HYPERLINK

Best Regards,
Me
My Company
http://myotherdomain.com
------=_NextPart_000_0012_611B9393.F9FD553F
Content-Type: text/html;
charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">

EMAIL CONTENTS IN HTML - 5 PARAGRAPHS WITH 1 HYPERLINK

Best Regards,
Me
My Company
ce=3DCalibri>http://myotherdomain.com</P></BODY></HTML>
------=_NextPart_000_0012_611B9393.F9FD553F--


*** Note:  When reading the HTML version I noticed something funny.  Some of the HTML code seemed corrupt and every line had an equal sign at the end.  Here is an example of this:

bri> .......................... Ow=
nership ........................................... =
......................................................... =
=2E ............................................................. =
.........................................................

http://myhyperlinkwithextraequalsign=


Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!!

Chip :)
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Technical Designer
Commented:
Bounce Message #1
<########@philips.com>: host smtpscan-eur4.philips.local[130.144.57.167]
said: 550 5.1.1 <########@philips.com>: Recipient address rejected: User unknown in virtual alias table (in reply to RCPT TO command)
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 550 5.1.1 <########@philips.com>: Recipient address rejected: User unknown in virtual alias table

Bounce Message #2
Reporting-MTA: dns;fraexsmtp2.staplesams.com
Final-Recipient: rfc822;#######@staples.com
Action: failed
Status: 5.1.1


Bounce Message #3
Hi. This is the qmail-send program at p3plsmtpa06-08.prod.phx3.secureserver.net.
<#####@goodyear.com>:
167.232.250.211 does not like recipient.
Remote host said: 550 cuda_nsu #####@goodyear.com... No such user

Giving up on 167.232.250.211.

Bounce Message #4
Hi. This is the qmail-send program at p3plsmtpa06-08.prod.phx3.secureserver.net.
I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.


Sorry, I wasn't able to establish an SMTP connection. (#4.4.1)
I'm not going to try again; this message has been in the queue too long.

@MrChip2
Bounce Message #1
The Recipient address rejected means either user has left or his email address has been changed or you might be sending the email to the incorrect address.

Bounce Message #2
Same is the case with this message.
Action: failed
Status: 5.1.1

Bounce Message #3
This is same case as with message 1 the only difference is the error code 550 cuda_nsu #####@goodyear.com... No such user

Bounce Message #4
Your GoDaddy server is unable to connect to the remote server. Since all the mail server has re-try interval where they keep try sending the message until some specific time but after sometime they bounce the message back. So that has happened in this case as well.

As for the = sigh and other are concerned it has to do with the encoding which happens when the email message travels between the servers.

Also please not that all the messages with error code 5.X.X are permanent error codes and with 4.X.X.

I hope that would help.

Sudeep
MrChip2President

Author

Commented:
Hello Sudeep,

Thank you for helping clarify this.  If I understand you correctly, this has nothing to do with my email being blocked as SPAM, or coming from a blocked server - all of these bounces are due to the fact that 1) the email address in my list is wrong or 2) the person no longer works at the company or uses the email.  Am I correct that there is nothing I could do to correct this?
Sudeep SharmaTechnical Designer
Commented:
Yes, these are very genuine bounce backs and has nothing to do with the spam filter on your side or at the recipient's.
MrChip2President

Author

Commented:
Thank you both for confirming this.

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