When you are sending email from a web app, it is sometimes thought that people should not reply to certain emails. For instance, you are sending a comment notification but replying to the email will not reply to the comment on the site, it will just bounce or flow into some blackhole. The usual idea is to create a “no reply” address that does not exist. Here’s why we think that is a bad practice:
Email is about communication #
Email is about communication, and communication flows two ways. By not letting people reply, you are denying them the chance to get in touch and know that real people run the product or site. Setting a noreply establishes an attitude of “We don’t want to hear from you.”
It can hurt delivery and reputation #
By sending from a no-reply, you could risk inbox delivery rates. Take this excerpt from a 2010 Deliverability.com article:
“Drop the noreply@. Gmail’s begun testing turning on images for senders who have received two replies from a user; other ISPs should follow.”
In addition, if people reply to your emails in web mail client (Gmail, Yahoo, etc) they will get added to your contacts. We have seen many instances where this greatly improves delivery in Gmail when it comes to their adaptive filters.
We introduced a new feature today in Postmark when creating a sender signature to warn about no-reply addresses. While our infrastructure helps get emails delivered, educating our customers on proper delivery practices is just as important.
What should you do with those replies? #
There are cases where you might not want to receive emails back. In that scenario, we still suggest at least setting up a mailbox that actually works. You can browse it from time to time in case someone replied and needs help.
Taking our comment notification as an example, you may start to notice that many people are trying to reply to the email instead. This might be a good indication to process those emails back into your app and actually allow them to reply to the emails. We’ve had a lot of request for this feature (Inbound processing) so you can be sure to expect it soon. If you are interested in the beta when it becomes available, get in touch!
This post was originally published Mar 08, 2011