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Requesting Delivery/Read Receipt

Preamble:
I'm not asking whether it's right or wrong to request a delivery or read receipt. Please don't flame me. This is simply a technical question.

Background:
With respect to Outlook, you can use tracking options to request a "delivery" and/or a "read" receipt. (I suppose the same option is available in other e-mail apps, but I only use Outlook.)

Question:
What do you expect to receive when you send a message to someone with a request to acknowledge "delivery" or "read":
a) within your organization
b) outside your organization

What is your understanding of how these options work?

My Experience:
a)When the recipient opens the message or clicks on it in the list pane a dialog opens requesting the receiver to acknowledge receipt.
b)This seems to vary. Most ISPs respond with an automatically generated delivery status notification. However, a dialog prompting the receiver to acknowledge receipt may or may not be displayed. Why is this? Is it a function of email app? ISP? Both? Does AOL (e.g.) handle this differently for customers on PCs versus customers on Macs?

There seems to be no standard.

George Illes
Thursday, May 20, 2004

There is no standard.
On the internal LAN it is decoded on by the Exchange sysadmin.
You get a message from your ISP and have dialup Outlook then you configure it.
Different ISP's and mail servers and mail clients will all do it differently. Also I think it must be Outlook to Outlook or nothing happens.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Outlook also includes an option to never send recipts, so even Outlook to Outlook won't always work.

I don't want to send any (over the Internet, at least), as then spammers would know that they had a "live" email address.

Steve Jones (UK)
Friday, May 21, 2004

I always refuse read receipts, and find them rude and overbearing.

Dennis Forbes
Friday, May 21, 2004

If a spammer sends you a message with a request for a delivery receipt your ISP could very well send the spammer a confirmation that the message was delivered. Now the spammer knows he's got a live email address whether or not your mail client is configured to never send receipts.

How do you get around that? Can you set your mail account through your ISP to never acknowledge receipts?

Regarding the annoyance factor of read/delivery receipts: I, too, find them stupid and obnoxious. But as I said at the beginning: this is simply a technical question not a philosophical one. And it came up because my cousin in Hungary for some reason feels compelled to always request a read receipt whenever sending a message, and he claims that when he sends them to me he receives a confirmation, but when he sends them to my father (who has an iBook G4, uses iMail, and has a mail account with Earthlink) he never receives a confirmation, and when he sends them to my sister (who has a PC, and uses AOL) he never receives a confirmation.

George Illes
Friday, May 21, 2004

Dear Dennis,
                  In a corporate environment they are often necessary, either to cover you or to  ensure that you know what is happening.

                    Externally they are less necessary, and more importantly, failing to get one doesn't mean anything, but I can think of plenty of examples where they are useful; trying to save money on international telephone calls springs immediately to mind.

                    Asking for them as a default though is ill-manners.

Stephen Jones
Friday, May 21, 2004

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