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What causes e-mails to simply disappear?

I've been having problems with both my work e-mail account and my personal e-mail account.

1)  As part of my job, I place an on-line order every Tuesday morning.  The vendor uses a system based on SAP.  In the past, I would get a confirmation and an invoice by e-mail.  About two months ago, these e-mails suddenly stopped coming.  The vendor insists that the e-mails are still being sent to the correct address, and the ISP insists that the messages are not being filtered out by the spam-filtering system.  (And, in fact, I checked the spam "bucket" -- it's empty.)

2)  As to my personal e-mail account:  For as long as I've been using Yahoo Groups (several years now), I've had problems with some fraction of the e-mail messages disappearing.  Until recently, maybe one in ten or one in twenty would go missing.  Now, I'm receiving less than half the messages.  I haven't noticed any problems with missing e-mails from other senders besides Yahoo Groups, though this might be hard to detect.

Anybody have any ideas about what might be causing this, and how to fix it?

Alex Chernavsky
Thursday, October 9, 2003

I don't know what causes e-mails to simply disappear, but it's certain that it does disappear.

I have no idea why. Wish I knew. :-(

Thursday, October 9, 2003

As a guess, I suspect Yahoo is using a DNS blacklist - these are growing in popularity as a way to reduce spam. The problem is that they're effective because their false positive rate is so high.

Another possibility is a routing loop somewhere, but those are rare and generally don't last long.

For your SAP problem, a good possibility is that an SMTP server got firewalled. Walk it backwards as far as you can, then get them to verify their side. At some point you must meet...


Thursday, October 9, 2003

The check is in the mail.

Thursday, October 9, 2003

It is, of course, a manifestation of the same mysterious force that causes one sock to disappear every time you do laundry, eventually leaving you with a preponderance of unmatched pairs.

Sorry, couldn't resist :-)

John C.
Thursday, October 9, 2003

I bet the problem is with yahoo.  Just this morning i did a few tests with a colleague(sp?) and we confirmed that it was not receiving certain messages, while another account received them just fine.

I guess there as no such thing as a free email service :-)


Thursday, October 9, 2003

is, that is

Thursday, October 9, 2003


I'm not using Yahoo's e-mail service.  I'm subscribed to various Yahoo groups, but I'm using a non-Yahoo address.

Alex Chernavsky
Thursday, October 9, 2003

Yahoo Groups is a pretty unreliable service, in my experience. I've been running a group on there since before Yahoo bought it from egroups. I have a single repeating event that should send out a reminder twice a week.

In practice, about 1 out of 10 of the reminders never get sent at all, and there's a slightly lower percentage that randomly don't get delivered to *some* of the people on the list.

It's almost irritating enough to make me want to switch...Ironically, the email addresses that most often get left out (or get really late notices) are usually at


Mark Bessey
Thursday, October 9, 2003

Re: Yahoo.  They are not reliable, and from your point of view, never will be.

The problem: you're not their customer.  The advertisers are.  Yahoo! takes care of its customers. You're just overhead.

Yahoo! will provide the bare minimum of service required to keep the bulk of its user base, which is what the advertisers are interested in.  If 1% of emails are severely delayed or lost, so what?  The average luser on yahoogroups won't notice.

The same general issue will come up with any "free" service provider.  If you're not their real customer, then don't expect any reliability. If you want reliability, go somewhere else.

David Jones
Thursday, October 9, 2003

Netscape Webmail.

I send emails to myself and I don't even receive them :)

Walter Rumsby
Thursday, October 9, 2003

I've had email lost due to overzealous spam blocking (both sending and receiving).  There are a billion different ways to block spam so you can't rely on 'failed to send' notices or spam folders to determine when this happened. 

Thursday, October 9, 2003

There's a LOT of mail that I send that doesn't arrive and a lot that I was supposed to get that disappears.

I don't think it's spam-blockers since for a given pair (ie: me and Mr. Smith), sometimes it goes through and sometimes it doesn't.

This is becoming a serious problem from a business standpoint -- can you imagine if 10% of 1st class letters never arrived?

Is there some way of requiring a return receipt when sending email? If so, this needs to be a method included in email programs and people need to be told about it. Also, it would reduce spam since spammers don't want to give a valid return address and if everyone gets on board, we can toss or mark as questionable all email that doesn't come with a return receipt request.

Dennis Atkins
Friday, October 10, 2003

I have just lost 3 hours of typing (with interruptions) an e-mail.  When I clicked on "edit" my message, it went POOF. Gone.  Not in the "Sent" folders.  I am furious because the same thing happened to me last week.  And worst of all, I can't pick up the phone, call Yahoo, and ask them what did they do with my e-mail? 

I'm going to check into Google's e-mail account.  This is nuts.  I'm not a computer genius, but I do okay.  Even though I'm 67, I can find my way around the web, change hard drives, use WordPerfect, and more.  So why can't I send an e-mail and not have it sucked into cyberspace?

Marilyn Stolze
Friday, August 27, 2004

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