Do you know that sinking feeling you experience when someone asks “Did you get my email?” and your mind draws a blank? Frantically, you start going over in your head, “Did I get it? Did I get it and forget about it? Did I miss it? Oh, no, what happened to it?” Then you start looking through your inbox to see if you DID get the email…only to discover that no…no, you did NOT get it. It’s nowhere to be seen. It’s not in spam and not in trash. It’s not there. So what happened to it?
I can’t tell you for sure, but I refer to it as the Internet black hole. It’s that place where emails seem to disappear into and other strange things happen.
This is nothing new. I have a client that several years ago, I constantly wouldn’t get his emails (I’ve since switched hosting companies), but he’d always ask, “Did you get this?” And I would respond, “No.” It can be very frustrating when you’re working online and the majority of your communication is via email. In that client’s situation, he started CCing me at a completely different email address, and even now I always respond that it has been received so he knows for sure I’ve received it.
There are 144.8 billion emails sent every day, so it’s no wonder that some end up in the Internet black hole. I often wonder if it’ll be like the Postal Service and years from now undelivered emails will begin showing up in unsuspecting inboxes causing mass confusion.
Although I have no way to know if everything that has been sent to me actually reaches me, I do have control over the emails I send out.
- Now whenever I email a team member or a client and I haven’t gotten a response within 24 hours, I email again to make sure it was received – if it’s something that I need an answer to or very important to know. I don’t assume that just because I sent it, it was received. If I haven’t heard anything back, I ask again.
- Another option is to request a read receipt. When you use this, the recipient gets the notification to send a message back to the sender that it was received. If you use this, then you’ll know your message was received, but only if the receiver chooses to send a read receipt back.
- We also use Basecamp as our main communication and encourage clients to communicate through this program instead of email. This isn’t always 100 percent guaranteed either as sometimes the notifications don’t make it into our inboxes, but there is at least a record of it within Basecamp and we log in on a regular basis to check messages. Other project management software will work, as well.
Unfortunately, there’s no fail-safe method to ensure all emails are reaching their destinations. What solutions have you come up with to combat your emails going into the Internet black hole? I’d love to know!