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Do not use a noreply email address in the email you send out; just don’t do it. Don’t send out email with a noreply email address as the ‘from’ email address, don’t send out email from an address that can’t accept replies, just don’t go near any type of noreply email address at all. Here’s why. Besides being the opposite of best practices, think about what happens if you reply to a noreply email. When someone to whom you send email doesn’t notice the noreply email address from which you sent the email, they will reply and either get a bounce (frustrating) or get no response (also frustrating). And if they do notice the noreply email address, that on its own will frustrate them. Why would you want to frustrate your customers, leads, or others to whom you are sending email?

And really, back to best practices, they require that if you are sending email “from” somewhere, then it should be a real somewhere which can receive replies and which someone is monitoring. Sure there are big companies who use noreply email addresses, and guess what? Those big companies have deliverability problems. But if best practices aren’t reason enough, even though they should be, here are 3 more technical reasons to not use noreply email addresses.

You Won’t Receive Bounce Messages

When an email address on your mailing list bounces, you get a message sent back from the receiving system so that you know to remove that email address from your mailing list (you do act on those bounce messages and remove bouncing email addresses, right?) But when you use a noreply email address that really can’t accept email and isn’t monitored, you will not receive those messages. Even if you have a reply-to email address, you can’t rely on an automated email rejection being generated by a computer to parse all of your headers for a reply-to address; in fact it’s likely that your headers won’t even make it to the system as your email will probably be rejected at the SMTP handshake transaction. Plus, some receiving systems will check to see if you are sending from a real email address during that same transaction and reject your email if you aren’t.

You Can’t Rely on Reply-To Always Working

You may be thinking “Surely, if I properly set the reply-to feature of the email I’m sending, that takes care of everything that might otherwise frustrate my audience, right?” Well, if you could rely on it always working, that would be a little better, but still wouldn’t take care of all of the issues, like them seeing that noreply email address in the first place. But also, there are as many possible combinations of MTAs (mail transfer agents) and MUAs (user email clients, applications, and programs) out there as there are stars in the sky (ok, maybe not that many, but you get the idea). Stuff happens. They fail. They get it wrong. Maybe they don’t show the reply-to address to the user. Maybe the user is reading your email on their phone which shows minimal headers in the preview to save screen space, so they never see your reply-to email address at all. Or maybe it’s one of those setups that gives spam points to noreply email addresses, which brings us to…

It Makes Your Email Look Like NoReply Spam

Lots of spam comes from noreply email addresses, because they are burning through domains and they put the actual domain they are spamming for in a link in the email. And by burning through domains we mean they spam from the domain with the noreply email address, knowing that they are going to be shut down at that domain before they can read email. So lots of people, and even some inbox providers, see a noreply email address, such as “noreply@example.com” to be an indicator that the email might be spam. Many spam filters now recognize that “noreply@” and also “dontreply@” usually don’t go anywhere. So your email risks getting dinged and going to the junk folder. And even if it doesn’t, and it goes to the inbox, well, again, it’s going to frustrate and alienate the very people you want to have look upon you favorably. (Want a second opinion? Read this excellent write up of why not to use noreply email addresses from email marketing service provider MailJet.)

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This isn’t the first time that we’ve talked about how all the email addresses you send from should really exist. By now you should understand that if they don’t exist your email is more likely to get junk foldered or outright rejected, both due to spam complaints and because of some receiving systems checking whether your “From:” address actually exists before accepting your email and delivering it.

A much better solution to this all is to figure out a way to monitor the email address from which you are sending that email, even if it goes to a unique folder on your end that you monitor less frequently than your regular mail queue (although if you want your company to have a stellar reputation you should be handling all non-spam email that comes in to you). And then, use a “From:” address that’s much friendlier and more welcoming than “noreply”.

Do Not Use NoReply Email Addresses in Your Email

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4 Responses

  1. There are other issues about using a REAL from address for mass mailings. 1 issue is that you will end up with TONS of “failure” emails delivered to your box. This can sometimes overload your system.

  2. The comments above assume that there has never been any managing of bounce backs. Of course there may be an initial glut of bounces (200 or TONS), but as you address those bounces on a regular basis, you’ll only get them occasionaly (even rarely). This, as the article says, helps increase your reputation amongst the various email servers.

  3. Mmh… interesting point;
    but: what if you are actually looking into the postbox “no-reply@xyz.com” to see if there are bounces?

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