Written: December 2, 2020

Double-check Mass Email before Sending

I just received an email from Banner Bank, a trusted sender where our charitable veterans group does banking. The message today had the familiar Banner Bank logo, came from a bannerbank.com email address, used proper grammar, so looked quite legitimate, but the one thing that had me pause was the greeting:


Normally, they would address the message with:

Daniel Payne

I imagine that the sender mistyped a field name, and then didn’t run a test before sending out a mass email.


Addressed to: banbnewusr
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Failing to Test an Email Newsletter

I’m an avid cyclist and belong to three clubs here in the Northwest. The Cascade Bicycle Club puts on the annual Seattle To Portland (STP) ride each year, an epic 205 mile endurance ride that I have signed up for in 2020. Today the club sent out an email newsletter, which is always a good way to communicate with the membership, and they asked me to take a survey, so I clicked the button to help provide feedback.

Clicking the link opened up a new tab in my web browser, so far, so good, but then I saw this warning:

So what happened?

Well, the person that designed the form forget to actually test out the email newsletter from a typical club member. The result will likely be that Zero people actually get to fill out the survey, which totally defeats the purpose.

Yes, your organization has to have in place a proper testing procedure to ensure that accidents like this don’t happen to an entire membership list. It’s quite likely that the club will respond to my email and fix the Google Form permission, opening up the survey to actual members, and that the club should re-send their email to:

I make mistakes almost every day, so when I learn from my mistake then progress is made.

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Mailchimp Unsubscribe, Epic Fail

There are many ways for business owners to keep in touch with their clients and prospects, email being a big one as a marketing choice, however you must remember to let your email recipients opt-out of your messages. It’s part of Federal law called the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) passed back in 2003.

Today I received three email messages from three different organizations and I politely, but quickly clicked the link for Unsubscribe on two of them, and was removed from their lists. The third Unsubscribe link was from a message sent by the popular email firm Mailchimp:

Mailchimp email

Mailchimp email

Mailchimp unsubscribe

Mailchimp Unsubscribe

Clicking the Unsubscribe link brought me to a page on their site, where I dutifully filled in my email address, only to be shocked that the page didn’t accept my address:

Mailchimp fail

Mailchimp fail

Hmm, that’s not a good response to someone who honestly doesn’t want to receive so much email, and Mailchimp is a large company with many years of experience with email marketing, so somehow their system doesn’t think that my address is proper. I had to browse the mailchimp.com site to find a place to communicate my dilemma in more detail, so hopefully Mailchimp will fix the glitch in their web site so that this doesn’t happen any more.

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What to do when your email message gets bounced back

I use LinkedIn every day and recently I connected with a new person living in Europe. We sent some messages back and forth using LinkedIn, then he sent me a direct email. When I replied to his email message then it quickly got bounced back. Have you ever sent an email message to a person that you know, however you quickly received a bounced back message telling you that you message wasn’t delivered? What should you do to remedy this situation?

Here’s the bounced email reply that I received today:

bounced email reply

Bounced Email Reply

Reading this email I discovered why my email didn’t get delivered:

We all hate to receive spam email messages, so our web hosting companies that provide email services have banded together to identify the spammers, and they do this by subscribing to lists of suspected or known spammers. A blacklist has the IP addresses where spam emails are coming from, so in this case the IP address of has been known to send out spam emails.

My web hosting company is 1and1.com, and they offered something called a shared hosting plan to keep their costs low. What that means is that when I sign up for a shared web hosting plan that there are maybe 100 or more other customers using the same email server and web server that I am using. So even if I am not personally sending out spam, there is certainly another customer of 1and1.com that is also using our shared server and they are the ones sending out the spam.

Well, these blacklist companies cannot discern between email senders, so instead they just note the entire IP address, which in this case is now blocking email from 100 or more shared hosting customers, like me. My recourse is to phone up the technical support folks at 1and1.com and alert them to this blacklist issue, then they contact each of the blacklist companies and assure them that the real spammer has been identified and stopped, so please update your blacklist and remove the IP address of

This is a process and can take hours or days to get resolved, so my options to work around this issue for my one email address going to this one recipient are to:

The Internet is a complex place and sometimes our email messages will be bounced back, so take hope, call up your web hosting vendor and explain what has happened and get them to go and advocate on your behalf and get your IP address off of the blacklists.

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Two New Email Scams to Avoid

Each morning as I start my work routine the first thing that I do is read the Inbox of my email to see which messages require my attention for the day. Today I received two new email scams that at first blush looked almost legitimate.

Domain Abuse Notice

That email subject caught my attention, because the last thing that I want is a web site that is infected by something malicious, so here’s what the entire email looked like:

domain abuse notice

The English grammar looked OK, however the first clue that this was a phishing scam was their request for me to download something by clicking a link. Any legitimate email would instead be coming from my web hosting provider, and they would have specific details like:

This email is from a domain name called domaincop.net, and when you browse that site something comes up in Arabic letters, so this is not legitimate at all, you may safely delete this particular email.

Email Abuse Report

Ironically this second spam email has almost the identical type of subject line as the first email with a colon and a web site address in it:

email abuse report

The link in the Click Here is for a domain at abusemonitor247.com, which is just another junk content web site. Also notice the international phone number area code. Just like the first email scam notice this one has no customer details:

So the moral of this story is beware of warning email messages that prompt you to click or download a report without any account details. Be smart, be safe.

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One response to “Two New Email Scams to Avoid”

  1. Christine says:

    Thank you for the information.
    I got the 2 emails today and was just a bit suspicious.
    They almost look real so I was worried.

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Gathering Feedback after a Purchase

Since September of 2013 I’ve been on a fitness kick and started to bicycle every week, which means that I visit my local bike shop Performance Bicycle on a regular basis.

Performance Bicycle

One really smart thing that Performance Bicycle does is to follow up your purchase with an email, asking you to write some feedback on their website about what you just bought. This feedback allows other cyclists to hear what you have to say about your purchase, and that in turn impacts their decision on what to buy or even avoid in some cases.

The theory of this is quite sound, and I’ve followed through and posted a handful of times on their web site about my experience with a new pair of cycling shoes, shorts or gloves. One area that Performance Bicycle needs to improve upon is the email message sent out, requesting feedback on a recent purchase, because their email has broken links to images that make the email look just awful:

One of the essential rules in email marketing is to run a test message, to double check that all is well, prior to sending out an email blast to everyone on the list. I’ve told my local store about this broken email message, however I’m not sure that they are telling their management about this glaring error. If you send out emails to customers, please double check that all is well in order to stop an embarrassment like this.


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Email Etiquette

Many businesses use e-mail updates to keep clients and prospects updated and informed about information that is of value. For this to work best you should follow some simple rules:

  1. Have people opt in
  2. When people opt in, then let them opt out easily with one or at most two clicks
  3. The frequency of messages should be appropriate, not too often
  4. Let people choose what their interests are
  5. Provide value

I’ve been a loyal Acura car owner for many years and some how I got added to their email list, but then decided that I no longer wanted to receive their emails.

Acura email


At the bottom of the email was a link to update my preferences:

acura preferences


Clicking this link I ended up at www.acura.com and scrolled to the bottom and checked the box to Unsubscribe:


Then to my dismay the page told me that no updates had been made to my preferences:

No updates

I then phoned Acura support at 800 382 2238 and asked to be removed from their email list. The Acura phone support asked for my phone number to find my account, but when I provided my phone number he couldn’t find the account. Next he asked for my Vehicle Identification Number which I was unwilling to give him. Finally he asked for my name and had me wait several minutes on hold. Eventually he asked me to forward my latest Acura email to a special address. All of this process was a big hassle and inconvenience to me, a somewhat less than happy Acura customer.


I’m shocked that Acura has not mastered the art of email communications, and hope that in your business that you will comply with the CAN-SPAM act and make it easy for subscribers to quickly opt-out without placing them in a catch-22 situation where they cannot opt out themselves.

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That’s Not the Better Business Bureau

As a small business owner I receive my fair share of unwanted email messages, so today I wanted to show you what a typical phishing email looks like:

bogus bbb


Phishing is where the bad guys are impersonating someone else, like the Better Business Bureau, and then they want you to click a link or download a file, however this link or download will likely cause harm to your computer, so don’t do it.

What tipped me off that this was a bogus email?

  1. The email name is from yong_evans@newyork.bbb.org which is false because the BBB uses only email names like bbb.org and never newyork.bbb.org.
  2. I am not a member of the BBB, so they have no reason to be sending me an email.
  3. The email content has an opening line: Owner/Manager. If I were a member then they would use my full name, or probably my business name, but never the generic Owner/Manager
  4. Reputable companies do not send email attachments like a ZIP file.

Using precautions like this you can stay victim-free when reading email each day.

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Email setup for laptop plus smart phone

With the recent growth of smart phone users (Android and iPhone) there’s an immediate question: How do I use email from both my computer and smart phone at the same time?

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)

When you add a new email account to your smart phone you get to decide the type of account, you will want to choose IMAP. Make sure that your other computer is also setup for IMAP, and if it’s instead setup as POP then you’ll have to delete that account and then create a new IMAP account.

IMAP will leave your email on the mail server, so that you can have two or more devices simultaneously using the same account. This is perfect for when you have both a smart phone plus another computer to access your email using popular email clients like Outlook (PC) or Entourage (Mac).


Check with your web hosting company to find out how to setup IMAP because it involves setting up your Incoming Server and Outgoing Server with:

Most web hosting companies also specify that you use a Security Type of SSL and a specific Port Number for both incoming and outgoing messages. My web host is 1and1.com and they have posted online details.


Enjoy your new smart phone where you can now send and receive emails, just like from your laptop or desktop computers.

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Getting around email limits

My web hosting company is www.1and1.com and they have a policy of allowing only 99 emails to be sent at once. Today I wanted to send an email invitation to 200 photographers for a July 9th presentation on using social media.

How did I get around the stated limit of 99 emails?

I used Outlook 2007 and the mailmerge feature. In the body of my message I inserted the field for “Full Name”. This made each of my 200 email messages unique, not identical.

It turns out that my web host is really only counting identical email messages in their 99 limit. Hopefully this can help you send out email to larger lists, just customize each message. People often enjoy reading their own name in the first sentence of an email because it means that I probably know who they are.

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