[unisog] off topic: mass emailing

Paul FM paulfm at me.umn.edu
Thu Sep 23 01:15:13 GMT 2010

To clarify:
The Envelope From should be theirs.
The Message Header From: should be yours.

The Envelope From and To are used by the MTA (Mail Transfer Agent - AKA mail 
server) to route the message and return it to the sender if there is a 
problem.  The envelope is not included in the message when it is delivered 
(although information from it can be added to the message headers by MTAs).

The Message Header From: and To: are what you see in the message and are 
(usually) not used by the MTA - they are used by the mail client 
(Thunderbird, Outlook, webmail clients, etc.).

Think of the MTA as an Administrative Assistant who opens your letters and 
tosses the envelopes (you only get the letters - which if put together in the 
Formal manner have the From address at the top of the letter).  Yes - you can 
send messages without a message To: or From: header (it just could but does 
not have to be added by an MTA using the envelope information).

Of course another way to handle this situation is to set up a separate mail 
server to handle lists like this (which would use an Envelope From that 
points directly to the server -  like bounces at bulkmail.example.com  instead 
of to the domain bounces at example.com).  That way, if it gets on a spam list, 
your main mail servers and official addresses aren't blocked (it should know 
all the forwards your main mail server knows so it can avoid sending through 
the main server when not needed).

Derek Diget wrote:
> On Sep 21, 2010 at 20:39 -0400, Peter C. Lai wrote:
> =>This is what certain commercial companies exist to do. There are companies
> =>like Convio and Vertical Response that will mail constituents on your
> =>institution's behalf. You contract with them to provide "spam" support
> =>services based on volume of email (usually some sort of prorated
> =># of emails per semester * # of contacts per email sent). You set their
> =>mail servers as authenticated senders in your SPF records to avoid problems
> =>with forged .edu envelopes.
> They (the ESP) should not be using your .edu address in the RFC5821.From
> address and therefore should not need to be in your SPF record.  They
> should be using their own addresses (and SPF record) in the RFC5821.From
> address.  The RFC5822.From should be your .edu address so that a user
> can reply correctly.
> I see several ESPs trying to use the RFC5821.From address that matches
> the RFC5822.From and shake my head.  I know if I were to recommended an
> ESP it would not be one of those as by doing it they have shown a lack
> of clue with regards to e-mail.  Not what you want from an ESP.
> =>One of the advantages to outsourcing is they handle all of the bouncebacks,
> =>double-opt-out/canspam unsubscriptions, and whitelisting.
> If the ESP is using your .edu address in the RFC5821.From address then
> they will NOT be handling the bounce-backs, you will be.  See above why
> the RFC5821.From should be theirs while the RFC5822.From should be
> yours.

The views and opinions expressed above are strictly
those of the author(s).  The content of this message has
not been reviewed nor approved by any entity whatsoever.
Paul Markfort               Info: http://www.umn.edu/~paulfm

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