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Finally a good bounce manager
by ferreo
16 Mar 2010 08:06

I had my resident coder come up with a small script to battle the years-long issue with bounced emails.

This script has no fancy plugin integration with vB, it runs as a simple PHP cron once ever X hours and does some very simple DB adjustments to avoid that our forums mail an invalid/inactive/full mailbox again.

It connects to an IMAP bounce address, polls the emails that are contained in the bounces, finds the accounts in the users table, removes the email address and dispatches a PM to the user to let them know what is up. Then it deletes the email from the IMAP. It also logs all the activity in a flat text log file.

We tried some other approaches but decided that this would be the most efficient way to purge invalid emails from our forums which would hurt our mailing efforts in the long run and have us be more likely to be marked on spam/bulk filters. The user will also retain any custom usergroup s/he may be in after updating the email address to a new one. vB is clever like that.

I am not really up-to-date with the efforts to battle the bounce issue in vBulletin 3.x branch, and instead of seeking, I rather had something custom done.

Note: not trying to have cheep skript 4 sell here. Just sharing insights.

WoodiE 16 Mar 2010 11:02

Not sure what you've come up with but those that might be interested in handling bounced emails I'd suggest checking Logician's blog article: Dealing with members’ bouncing emails in vbulletin communities.

I use Logician's recommendations in all four of my forums and have never had a single issue with it, HIGHLY recommend.

kmike 16 Mar 2010 13:52

What a horrible article. It's absolutely ok if you are just silently flushing the incoming bounces down the drain, but creating an autoresponder that floods the originating servers with useless spam? It's completely irresponsible.

Besides, vBulletin has that handy option named "Bounce Email Address" that exists specifically for saving your webmaster email from receiving tons of bounces. I don't know why inventing another bicycle is needed for the separation of the webmaster and bounce email addresses.

Logician 25 Mar 2010 11:58

Quote:

Originally Posted by kmike (Post 2004780)
What a horrible article. It's absolutely ok if you are just silently flushing the incoming bounces down the drain, but creating an autoresponder that floods the originating servers with useless spam? It's completely irresponsible.

Then how can you seperate actual bouncing emails and human beings who thinks they can directly reply an automated email?

I'm running boards with 50.000 unique daily visitors and believe me it works.

Quote:

Originally Posted by kmike (Post 2004780)
Besides, vBulletin has that handy option named "Bounce Email Address" that exists specifically for saving your webmaster email from receiving tons of bounces. I don't know why inventing another bicycle is needed for the separation of the webmaster and bounce email addresses.

vb's "handy" option (which does exactly what my pluggin does btw) has been introduced to vbulletin recently after that article is written.

kmike 25 Mar 2010 14:06

Quote:

Originally Posted by Logician (Post 2009943)
Then how can you seperate actual bouncing emails and human beings who thinks they can directly reply an automated email?

Read up on the Return-Path email header. vBulletin puts the bounce email address there, and puts the webmaster address in the From header. The rest is handled automatically by the email software - bounces go to the email specified in Return-Path, replies from the email clients such as Outlook go to the "From" email.

Quote:

I'm running boards with 50.000 unique daily visitors and believe me it works.
If sweeping the incoming bounces under the carpet works for you, then yes, you can say that. But you should really stop doing the autoresponder thing, it's irresponsible. We have enough spam already clogging the tubes.

Quote:

vb's "handy" option (which does exactly what my pluggin does btw) has been introduced to vbulletin recently after that article is written.
No, they do completely different things. The vBulletin option does the right thing (see Return-Path), while your plugin substitutes an email address on a single page. It doesn't help to reduce the incoming bounces a little bit - you are essentially discarding them, but before that you spit back an autoresponse which is guaranteed to be read by no one.

The approach described in the first post works - it will reduce the number of bounces with time. The vBouncer product (defunct now AFAIK) worked. And your article should have been titled "Discarding bouncing emails in vbulletin communities".

Videx 27 Mar 2010 03:07

Thanks for the heads up on the "Bounce Email Address" setting. It doesn't really help us figure out what to do with these miscreants, but I never noticed it there.

Alfa1 27 Mar 2010 21:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by ferreo (Post 2004620)
I had my resident coder come up with a small script to battle the years-long issue with bounced emails.

This script has no fancy plugin integration with vB, it runs as a simple PHP cron once ever X hours and does some very simple DB adjustments to avoid that our forums mail an invalid/inactive/full mailbox again.

It connects to an IMAP bounce address, polls the emails that are contained in the bounces, finds the accounts in the users table, removes the email address and dispatches a PM to the user to let them know what is up. Then it deletes the email from the IMAP. It also logs all the activity in a flat text log file.

We tried some other approaches but decided that this would be the most efficient way to purge invalid emails from our forums which would hurt our mailing efforts in the long run and have us be more likely to be marked on spam/bulk filters. The user will also retain any custom usergroup s/he may be in after updating the email address to a new one. vB is clever like that.

I am not really up-to-date with the efforts to battle the bounce issue in vBulletin 3.x branch, and instead of seeking, I rather had something custom done.

Note: not trying to have cheep skript 4 sell here. Just sharing insights.

Could you share this script? So far I have seen no real solution for this problem.
Have you read my article:
How to keep your board from getting blacklisted as a spammer

Quote:

Originally Posted by Logician
* I create [email protected] email address with an autoresponder tied in it. Whenever it receives an email, it returns an reply telling that this email address is not used, nor monitored and asks contacter to use [email protected] if she tried to reach me. This makes sure if somebody accidently emails me in this email address, she knows I didnít get the reply and she also knows where to mail me to reach me.

It is quite beyond me why you would do this. I get thousands of bounces per month, but there rarely is a real reply among them, It seems a waste of effort.
More importantly, it means that you are hitting non-existent addresses an extra time. This will increase the chance of your domain getting blacklisted.

I dont see how the recommendations help in any way to avoid blacklisting as a spammer? They do seem to make things worse.

betterman 09 May 2012 14:49

Would like to see this script if anyone has it.


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