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Launch: Delivery confirmations

Message activity and archiving has been a core piece of Postmark from early on. For transactional email, it’s essential to troubleshooting delivery problems and reviewing specific message data for a recipient. We’re constantly improving the way you can search and review messages, whether it is building out a new Elasticsearch cluster or building in open tracking data into the UI and API. Today I’d like to announce another huge update to our message activity - Delivery Confirmations.

What is a delivery confirmation? #

Historically in our activity, we marked a message as “Sent” when it was pushed off to our mail servers. The problem is that while we displayed the message as Sent, it could still be sitting in the mail server queue waiting for delivery. This can happen if a remote mail server (Yahoo, Gmail, etc) is overloaded or we needed to throttle messages to maintain acceptable delivery. Starting today, you will now see a “Delivered” record for every message in activity showing not only the time it was accepted by the the remote mail server, but the actual server and IP that accepted it.

A screenshot of example delivery confirmation data in Postmark.

Why is this delivery confirmation important? #

Think back to the last time you had a customer report that they did not receive a message. You probably went to Postmark, searched activity, then found their message. It could have bounced, giving you a clear understanding of what happened. But what if it said “Sent” instead? Before now, you didn’t have real proof or better information to troubleshoot. Now, with Delivery Confirmations, you can see exactly which remote mail server accepted the message.

This can help troubleshoot several things:

  • Did the message get accepted and then disappear behind the ISP or email provider system due to filtering?
  • Did the message get queued to the wrong mail server due to DNS changes?
  • If you know the time it was delivered, you can help match that time with the logs on the remote server.
  • Was there a long period of time between when a message was sent to Postmark’s mail servers and the time it was delivered?

This is all about transparency #

You may have noticed that the last point above could potentially point out flaws in Postmark. For instance, what if we are throttling messages to ISPs too much where it delays delivery? What if the reputation of one of our IPs went down and an ISP backed off on accepting messages? Or what if our DNS cache was outdated and we sent to the wrong mail server?

These are all things that could happen. Instead of hiding it, we are committed to making this loud and clear. As an ESP, it’s our responsibility to display our successes and failures front and center. With Delivery Confirmations, you get a clear view of email delivery for your messages. Not only do we want you to see this, we want you to reach out and keep us responsible for improving if things do go wrong.

It’s our job to be the most reliable transactional email platform for your business or product, not just in terms of availability and uptime, but delivery and support as well. Delivery Confirmations will help uphold this mission and give you more control and visibility into your email delivery.

Chris Nagele

Chris Nagele

Love to travel with the wife and kids. Wannabe race car driver. Not so healthy obsession with Building Science.