E-mail bouncing

Bouncing defined

Bouncing is a 'reaction' to the inability to successfully deliver an email. When a bounce happens your email is returned to the sender (Yahoo!). If this happens often Yahoo! then placing you in what they call a 'bouncing status'. Future e-mails from your groups to you will then stop being delivered. Below is how to check and reset the Yahoo! 'bouncing state'. Then some tips to help prevent bouncing from reoccurring.

Am I in 'bouncing status' now?

Group members can check their Bounce status by clicking the "My Groups" link at the top right of any Yahoo! Group page. It will tell the group member at the top center of the page if they are bouncing. Another way to tell is you, as a member will not be able to post new messages. Via email the group member gets a post rejected email from Yahoo! (not the group Moderators - Owners - Founder). Posting directly on the group's website is disabled with a warning at the top of the window. Click on "Email Preferences", and then "Bounce history". http://groups.yahoo.com/mygroups

Fix please, I am Bouncing!

Group members must do the first part of unbouncing themselves, a group moderator/owner can NOT do it for them! If you, as a group member use a @Yahoo.com mailbox, you need to log into your Yahoo! email account and reactivate it when prompted. Reactivation of email GENERAL flow can then take several hours to as much as a day. After cleaning up/reactivating your mailbox you may receive a message: "Please reactivate your Yahoo! Groups email address". You MUST follow it's instructions to reactivate group email flow. OR follow the steps below.

Sent items with attachments are a first pick for cleanup efforts.

To clear your bouncing status:

1. Click on "My Groups" at the top of any group page
2. Click on "Email Preference"
3. Click on "Bounce history"
4. Click on "Reactivate" or "Send Reactivation email"
5. You will then get an email in your email box with a link that you click on.

Bouncing is caused by?

For people NOT using @yahoo.com mailboxes bouncing is usually caused by your mailbox being full. Providers limit the space you can use; when 100% of it's in use no new emails can be placed into your mailbox. The next emails will bounce back to the sender as there is no room for them. Yahoo! then stops emails to you and places you in a bouncing status. You will still be in a bouncing status even after the mailbox is cleaned up to below it's space limit! You must then reactivate your GROUP email delivery, see below.

For people who ARE using @yahoo.com mailboxes bouncing is caused by Yahoo! deactivating your mailbox. This is done after 90 days of what they term inactivity. Said differently you haven't read your emails in over 3 months! The group member must log into their mailbox at least once every 90 days to avoid Yahoo! deactivating the mailbox again.

Another bouncing cause is the recipients mail server (people in your To: line) gets overwhelmed with new email delivery attempts. Then the server asks the sending server to try later. Too many of these try later requests will cause Yahoo! to place you in a 'bouncing' state. AOL and Earthlink are ISP's frequent seen doing this.

Lately increased SPAM checking measures at the recipient end (people in your To: line) have caused many to ALL emails from Yahoo! to be rejected. Keep in mind it's nothing you did personally! Yahoo! has long been despised by some ISP's as a known 'safe harbour' for spammers. So, in reaction to this ISP's have recently increased their Yahoo! email scrutiny and rejections. Earthlink, AOL, MSN, Comcast and others are recent ones that come to mind. Most of these ISP's have done this several times over the time of this page's existence. Sometimes blocking all email.

Please take the time to read over the next section.

Tips on how to prevent bouncing

If you have your group "Message Delivery" set to "Individual e-mail's" in a few groups (1-10) check your e-mail a few times MONTHLY. If you are in several groups (more than 10) OR in one or more file/picture posting groups check your e-mail WEEKLY.

(1) If you are using your Internet Provider (ISP) e-mail mailbox --- Set up the Outlook Express program to retrieve your e-mails so they don't stay on the e-mail server. This is provided you check your e-mail several times MONTHLY. If you are in one or more picture posting groups check WEEKLY. Here is an example of the directions used to setup Outlook Express. Your ISP may use different server name settings than this example, but the places to set them are the same.

(2) Change your Message Delivery to "Daily digest". You will then get one or a few message a day. In digest format there can be up to 25 messages within it, one after the other. This message will contain all of the messages in the last 24 hours. A 'Daily digest' message has none of the Yahoo! advertising pictures. This one message is significantly smaller that the total of all the individual e-mails. A side benefit of the 'Daily digest' is that it is in 'plain text' format. This means that NO virus-Trojan-spyware-HTML-JavaScript can come in. Daily digest messages do not forward the post's attached files or pictures. For a dialup internet user the Daily digest also significantly reduces the time it takes to download all of your e-mail.

(3) Change one or more of your group's Message Delivery to "Web Only" AKA "NO Email". Then read the messages in the group's web archives. Some groups do forbid using this setting however.

(4) Get a larger e-mail mailbox elsewhere that can handle your mail. Try one on this list of "Free Email providers" located in the Yahoo! category here.

(5) You can NOT download mail from a free Yahoo! mailbox with Outlook Express on its own. You will need to install a small 'helper program' such as YPOPs! We have a YPOPs! step by step with pictures help page on YahooPOPs! setup for the non techie.

I'm using my Internet Provider (ISP) supplied mailbox, why is this happening?

Actually your ISP provided mailbox is not as big as you think, typically 10 mb. Many ISP's consider e-mail a 'free' part of their service and are not generous with space. A few will offer more space for a $$ monthly fee ($10 to $30 per month). That's the bad news. The good news is you can set up the Outlook Express program (included with all PC's) to retrieve your e-mails. Then your e-mails don't stay on the ISP's e-mail server. This will eliminate the mailbox size limitation, provided you check your e-mail at least a few times a week.

Let the moderators fix it?

A group member might think you can rely on the group Moderators-Owners-Founder to perform all the steps to unbounce them. WRONG! The group Moderators-Owners-Founder may only do the SECOND part. They can (or you can too) send a reactivation request to the email mailbox defined in your profile. But the group member must reactive the @Yahoo.com mailbox and/or clean out the mailbox FIRST before sending the reactivation request from the group (otherwise it will bounce too, duh!). The group member will miss many messages as the unbouncing is done on the moderator's schedule! This quite often does not work out long term as the moderator's patience with the members may be limited. After doing this several times they may just delete the group member, it's a lot less clicks! Look at if from their viewpoint: A few group owners feel if the member is not getting messages they are not able to be a contributing member of the group as well. Most times this is totally bogus line of thinking. The group member may be reading on the web, by choice, not via email.

An observable 'symptom' of moderators deleting bouncers from a group is someone posting: "I just lost a/many of my group(s), can someone post a link to the XYZ group?".

Moderator Guidance

ALWAYS post to your group 2 to 3 weeks before doing any bouncing member deletes. Then dele those who are long term bouncers, wait a week on the rest. We recommend two different courses of action depending on the bouncing type.

Hard Bouncing: This is a permanent failure occurs when the member's e-mail account does not exist. Sent e-mails are bounced back to Yahoo! with a message like the mailbox does not exist or similar. This failure can happen if the group member has changed Internet Service Providers (ISP) and forget to update the e-mail address in their Yahoo! Profile. It can also happen if the group member's Yahoo! mailbox gets deleted due to a Terms Of Service violation. To fix this type of failure the member must get a new e-mail mailbox. Then the member has to update their email address in their Yahoo! ID's Profile.

@Yahoo.com Hard Bouncing special case
Yahoo! users must log into their mailboxes once every 90 days to avoid Yahoo! deactivation it. Here is an example of the bounce message after a group member's Yahoo! mailbox has been deactivated: "Remote host said: 554 delivery error: dd Sorry your message to xxxxxxx@yahoo.com cannot be delivered. This account has been disabled or discontinued [#102]. - mta205.mail.re3.yahoo.com" Technically a soft bounce as it the mailbox is 'disabled or discontinued' ONLY, but it's still able to be reactivated. Post to the group requesting the bouncer log into their Yahoo! mailbox, NOT CLEAN UP as this is NOT THE CAUSE of this special type bouncing state! A select few have not upgraded to the 1000mb mailbox limit and are still at 10mb or 100mb They will have to cleanup as the upgrade may not longer be offered to them.

Delete members after a few weeks that do NOT use @Yahoo.com mailboxes. Their bouncing may be due to a recent email account move that they didn't update in their Yahoo profile. The error messages at the bottom of the screen says "no such ID" or similar (mailbox not found). Hard bouncing doesn't necessarily mean a they were a bad person! It could be a serious life event and they'll be back eventually.

The following errors mean that the user's mailbox was deleted by their mailbox provider: AOL - "User unknown", HotMail - "mailbox unavailable", MSN - "mailbox unavailable", Yahoo! - "This user doesn't have a yahoo.com account". The Yahoo! mailbox users will have to re-apply for a Yahoo! ID (new) to be able to re-join the group.

Bouncing members with @Yahoo.com mailboxes are most likely doing ALL of their reading of the group's messages at the group's web page! They NEVER go back to the mailbox after creating their Yahoo! login accounts. After 90 days Yahoo! deactivates the mailbox, BUT THEY CAN STILL ACCESS THE GROUP TO READ! (but not post/reply to messages)

Soft Bouncing:
Send a 'Reactivation Request' to the member(s). Give the member at least 2 to 4 'Reactivation Requests' unless all 'Reactivation Requests' fail back-to-back. Yahoo! calls the Reactivation Requests "Probes" on the "Bouncing" screen and "Reactivation Requests Sent:" on an individual member's screen. This back-to-back means all of the 'Reactivation Requests' soft bounce with no 'Reactivation Successful' or 'Passive Reactivation' messages showing in 'Bounce History' in between the soft bounces of the 'Reactivation Requests'. Delete the member(s) if the number of bounced messages is high, like over 8,000 in a short period (1-2 months) Shows as "Total Bounces:" in the "Email Account Status" section.

Below is a person with a Yahoo! ID that joined one of our groups on 2-Feb-2005. This is an example of back-to-back bouncing of the reactivation requests (aka 'Auto Reactivation request').


Hoople and hotdi

Owners/Moderators of several Yahoo groups
Hoople: email administrator with 15+ years experience


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Page created Saturday, July 31, 2004. Last updated Sunday, August 03, 2008

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