Earthlink Users; It’s not me. It’s You

People who use Earthlink for their e-mail must have a very different impression of human behavior, because no one ever responds to their e-mail inquiries.  Every time I get an on-line order from an Earthlink user, our auto reply e-mail gets bounced, as we get the following message:

“I apologize for this automatic reply to your email. To control spam, I now allow incoming messages only from senders I have approved beforehand.”

Usually followed by a hand-typed e-mail a day later– some variation of;

“I placed an order from you guys the other day, but I never got a confirmation, so I reordered, and still got no confirmation.  What’s wrong with you guys?  Please respond!!!!  Hello!!!????”

The world is a very impolite place for Earthlink users.  No one ever writes back.  I wonder if they ever wonder why.

Update:  We got two of these responses today.  Our only option is to use the old-fashioned telephone, assuming we get a phone number.  I’ve thought about writing a series of essays on communication skills.


30 thoughts on “Earthlink Users; It’s not me. It’s You

  1. Lyle, it isn’t human behavior they have trouble with, it’s computer behavior, though I do understand your statement.

    What I suggest is that you have whomever it is that maintains your website ordering system add some code to recognize earthlink as the mail address domain, and add a message instructing those customers to whitelist your reply address, to the order confirmation message. Or, rather than adding such a message (which might not get read), redirect to a page with just that message, with an “OK” button that then proceeds to the order confirmation page. Both of these are doable, the 2nd is a bit more difficult. Also, a JavaScript (though I dislike this approach) which examines the e-mail field in your order form before submission, and pops up the message, would work too. However, there are some people, such as myself, who block most JavaScript. If your order form works even if JavaScript is disabled, then some people wouldn’t notice anything at all. I suspect most Earthlink users aren’t the ones who will disable JavaScript in their browsers.

  2. Jed: It’s the user misinterpreting the computer behavior as human behaivor, then responding under that assumption rather than taking the proper approach of whitelisting in advance of an inquiry. Hence, Earthlink users are a bit more “lonely” than users of other e-mail services. It’s like locking your gated community and keeping out the firetrucks, UPS trucks, the pizza deliveries, etc., then calling and complaining about the poor service.

    Your suggestions seem to be good ones.

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