Tech Talk: All about Email

By David Chinn

Electronic mail was invented by Ray Tomlinson in early 1970. America Online and Prodigy came along in the 1980s and offered the public access to email through their subscription services. By the 1990s, new companies (like YAHOO) offered free email.

Email types

  • POP (Post Office Protocol)- downloads email messages from a server to your device. This is the oldest type of system and works well… but does not sync emails across all your devices.
  • IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)- allows you to access email messages without downloading them to your device. They are stored on a server. Each of your devices will show the same email structure.
  • Web Mail- a user can access their email via a browser on any device that is connected to the Internet. It does not download email to a device but can be limited in functionality.

 

Microsoft Exchange

  • Exchange is a Microsoft based system that keeps all the email in the cloud/server. You can access your account through Outlook Web Access (OWA) or setup in a mail program like Outlook. No email is downloaded to the local device. Exchange is an enhanced system that has email, calendar, contacts and tasks. Each of your devices display the same information. Office 365 is our choice for client email.

Email configuration

All email systems have specific settings that need to be entered for a device. Consult your provider’s help section for those settings. Exchange is the easiest to setup as it requires only the email address and password to configure.

Industry email systems

America Online and YAHOO email systems have not kept up with security practices to keep spammers from using their systems. ShinnTech often advises our clients to discontinue use of these email systems. Note: YAHOO now encompasses the AT&T family of emails to include Ameritech.net, att.net, pacbell.net, prodigy.net and SBCGlobal.com. Technical support is almost non-existent with these companies.

Gmail (founded in 2004) and Microsoft Outlook (started in 2012) are systems that have been well supported to limited spam use. If you want a professional and secure email address, these are free and good choices.

Note: Google recently implemented a Less Secure setting that needs to be enabled for you to use Outlook to check email. You must also enable POP/IMAP. 

Blacklist servers

Internet blacklist servers were implemented to help reduce spam email and block websites. Blacklists are lists of IP addresses, email servers, or domains known for suspicious or malicious activity. There are currently 8 blacklist servers that perform this service… Spamhaus being the largest. When an address is on a blacklist, any email from it is automatically blocked, regardless of what the messages contain.

If your company domain is added to a blacklist server, you will have to hire an IT support company to work through getting the domain removed. This can take many days and can be quite costly.

Visit the link below to find out if an email domain or website is on a blacklist.
https://www.spamhaus.org/lookup/

Note: Many email providers have numerous company domains hosted on one shared server. If one of those companies is a spammer, it will get the whole server blacklisted. If your company domain is on that server, your email system is shut down.

Whitelist / Blacklist

Most email service providers have a way for you to enter email addresses that you want to receive emails from, or email addresses that you want to exclude. Check with your provider for whitelist and blacklist setups. Note: If a person trying to email you is on an industry blacklist, their email will be deleted BEFORE it ever gets to your email system… so adding them to a whitelist will not help.

How to send mass emails

The best way to mass email your sphere is to use services like Mail Chimp or Exact Target. They work with blacklist servers and adhere to strict rules of sending email. Mail Chimp has a free service that allows for 2000 contacts and up to 10,000 emails per month.

How do I get off an email-list

If a company adheres to email regulations, there should be a one-click unsubscribe link at the bottom of their email. Others, you will have to add to your blacklist.