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Email Whitelist Etiquette

A big-time dilemma is brewing online. In an understandable attempt to bypass all that annoying spam, e-mails that onliners want to receive are getting lost in the shuffle. Newsletter subscription requests are not being completed and important e-mails are not getting to their intended parties. This is why I no longer send out my quarterly newsletter. For all the work that went into put my newsletter togehter, the hassle of it not getting through made the effort no longer productive.

Your "Whitelist" is the list that contains the e-mail addresses of those you do in fact want to receive e-mail from. Some services require the accepted addresses be in one's address book to be added to the whitelist. While other software/services call this list the approved or allowed senders list and require you manually add those you want to accept e-mail from to your list. Regardless of what this feature is called, it is clearly not being utilized correctly and in many cases, at all.

What can be done about this? A little user education and E-mail Whitelist Etiquette is in order!

  • When signing up for an online newsletter, mailing list or Web site service, immediately add their e-mail address or dot com to your approved or white list. This will ensure smooth communications with you and that e-mails will get through with the information you requested or confirmations necessary for you to acknowledge your request.
    • AOL: Place the domain name you just signed up for a service at in your your address book.
    • HotMail: Place the domain name within your "safe list". You can locate your safe list by clicking on the "Options" link next to the Main Menu tabs.
    • Yahoo!: If the e-mail you requested ends up being filtered into your "bulk" folder, all you have to do is open the e-mail and click on the link next to the "From" field.
    • Other ISPs and Providers: To prevent desired e-mails from being sent to trash, try adding the e-mail's "From" and "Reply to" address to your address book.
  • If you initiate the request, it is your responsibility to promptly add the other side's e-mail address or dot com information to your whitelist. This extra step will reflect that you are courteous and tech savvy! In addition, doing so will avoid those who you have requested information or services from, from having to follow verification e-mail instructions just to get you the information you requested. Besides, you cannot count on everyone responding to those verification e-mails-many simply don't or can't (automated subscription systems).
  • Before getting upset because you perceive someone didn't respond, check to see if their e-mail was inadvertently deleted or sent to your Trash or Junk folder. Then, upon finding these e-mails in your Trash or Junk folders, add their information to your whitelist straight away. Too many onliners become belligerent about a supposed lack of response when in fact a response was sent and because they didn't clear the way for the e-mail to be accepted it was diverted to trash or not allowed through.
  • Web sites and newsletters should have a response or thank you page that clearly requests site visitors and subscribers to add the required e-mail address to their whitelist right then and there. If onliners know the address to expect e-mail from, it is much easier to expect that they will add that address to their whitelist and your e-mail will get through.

It is important that every onliner make a conscious effort to become aware of the above issues and integrate these suggestions into their day-to-day activities. Only then can an informed online community use e-mail for the efficient and convenient communication tool it was meant to be.

About the Author:
Judith Kallos is an authoritative and good-humored Technology Muse who has played @ for over a decade. Check out her popular and eBook : .

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