Options for emailing members

This web site generates emails to members including:

  • Regular update emails
  • Notifications of new rides and updates
  • Notifications of new events
  • Notifications of new forum topics and replies

The site can send emails from third parties using:

  • Links from descriptions of rides where you are ride leader
  • The 'email' option provided by the member lookup service
  • Other links on the site

Also, members can send emails to other members.

You have several options for email addresses you use to send and receive email addresses. All have advantages and disadvantages. Click any of the options below to see more details.

That's the easiest option. It suffers two key disadvantages:

  1. Emails from the site have to be sent from addresses registered with Amazon. Unless you take steps (see next section) we have to use an alternative 'from' address - emailer@portsmouthctc.org.uk - for emails you send through the site. The body of the email explains that people cannot reply directly to your email (which is a pain) but they have to rekey your email address (provided in the body of the email) instead.
  2. Emails sent to you come from Amazon's servers. These have a high reputation but - even so - delivery is not guaranteed. If you have problems receiving our emails there are steps you can take. Another alternative is to create a Portsmouth CTC mailbox (see below) which ensures you get all emails.

We arrange for you to receive an email from Amazon with a link to confirm your registration. Once that's done we tell the web site it no longer has to use emailer@portsmouthctc.org.uk as your 'from' address. People receiving your emails can reply to your emails directly.

There's one big drawback: some ISPs instruct recipients of your emails to reject them if they didn't originate from their servers. That's arrogant, but there's nothing we can do about it. So far we know of just one ISP that does this: Yahoo mail which includes all BT Internet addresses.

We instruct the Portsmouth CTC web site to forward all emails it receives to yourname@portsmouthctc.org.uk to your normal email address. This has three key advantages:

  1. You can update your email address on the web site to yourname@portsmouthctc.org.uk. Your emails sent through the server will show that as your 'from' address (not emailer@portsmouthctc.org.uk) so they can reply to you directly.
  2. Your personal email address is not revealed to recipients.
  3. By using a portsmouthctc.org.uk address you make it clear you are a member of the club - which may give your emails more authority, useful when campaigning, for example. Note, however, some email services need a mailbox to be set up (see next section) before you can send from that email address.

The approach has a big drawback, however: forwarded emails are sent from the Portsmouth CTC server. We use a server shared with a large number of other web sites. That saves a lot of money but it means we are tarred with the same brush as other sites less well-behaved than ours. We use protocols that allow receiving sites to know where our emails come from, but they ignore that and treat every site using a given server the same. It's therefore possible your emails will end up in your spam folder or, in the worst case, dropped silently! The next section explains how to overcome this issue.

We set up an address yourname@portsmouthctc.org.uk. Instead of forwarding emails we hold them in a mailbox protected by a password you supply.

You will then need to either:

  • Add details of the mailbox to your email system so it picks up portsmouthctc.org.uk emails like it does your other emails. Optionally you can also set up your email system so you decide which email address to use when sending emails.
  • Or use the webmail service to work with your portsmouthctc.org.uk emails.

This approach needs the most work to set up, but it:

  • Sends emails from the Amazon servers giving them the best chance to get through to recipients
  • Allows people to reply to your emails directly (they don't come from emailer@portsmouthctc.org.uk)
  • Ensures you get all Portsmouth CTC emails

It's the method I use and it works well. We have a limited number of mailboxes available so we might have to prioritise club officials, campaigners and ride leaders.