Hello New Zealand! Did you get that thing (email) I sent you?
July 13, 2011 6:12 PM   Subscribe

I'm having problems with email delivery from Japan to NZ. Too many lost emails causing too many headaches. Any guesses why?

My boss and I exchange emails with our sister schools in NZ, but our emails are often lost or delivered days later and I cannot think of a way to correct this situation.

I've sent emails from my gmail account, my boss from his yahoo.co.jp account and his school webmail account to an xtra.co.nz account and a xxxx.school.nz account to have them disappear more often than not. Two emails I sent last Friday and Sunday from gmail to xxxx.school.nz were lost to the net.

These aren't being picked up by school.nz's spam filter either it seems as some of the mails that do get through are tagged as spam.

I don't think our colleagues are lying to us when they say they never got the mail either.

Does this happen to any of you? Any idea how to get our emails through to NZ?

posted by sleepytako to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you both get gmail accounts? There's obviously a hangup caused by the school's system. It's very unlikely that Gmail is the issue here. At least, if you were both sending within Gmail, you'd not be touching the school's email system.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 7:26 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

You say that those that do get through are tagged as spam. I'm just wondering if xtra and whoever hosts xxx.school.nz (which may well be xtra) is doing a first level spam filtration whereby certain material doesn't even make it to the spam filters of the recipients.

The incoming emails that are tagged as spam will have some details in the headers regarding what the spam filter didn't like about them. Here's some example ones from something in my spam folder (which I've sanitised slightly to preserve my privacy):

X-Sieve: CMU Sieve 2.4
Subject: {SPAM 08.3} foo
X-Spam: spam
X-Spam-score: 8.3
X-Spam-hits: BAYES_50 0.8, DRUGS_ERECTILE 1.994, RCVD_IN_DNSWL_NONE -0.0001,
X-Spam-source: IP='111.222.333.444', Host='foo.bar.com', Country='US',
FromHeader='com', MailFrom='com'
X-Spam-charsets: plain='UTF-8'

If you could find what the corresponding headers look like for the email that's being received but tagged as spam that might be helpful.

There's possibly another set of headers in those emails which report on how valid the originating domain is considered to be. Here's an example :

X-Truedomain-Domain: a.b.com
X-Truedomain-SPF: No Record
X-Truedomain-DKIM: No Signature
X-Truedomain-ID: ABCDEF123456DE5F847BEEAC3D5D9D99
X-Truedomain: Neutral

If you (or the receipients) could find something like that in the headers and you could post it here that might also prove useful.
posted by southof40 at 7:27 PM on July 13, 2011

I am not an expert, but it seems that an easy way to test this would be to create an extra gmail account and BCC that on your emails to the schools. If the gmail account receives the messages on-time and your intended recipient does not, then either the schools' email providers are filtering the messages or your colleagues are ignoring your messages.

This would also serve as a backup form of communication. You could give the password to the 'dummy' account to all of the possible recipients, and if they do not receive the email but the dummy gmail account did you can direct them to the gmail account to read the message.
posted by Tehhund at 8:00 PM on July 13, 2011

xtra.co.nz is the domain for Telecom NZ customers. It's quite likely their xxxx.school.nz also has Telecom NZ as their service provider, as lots of schools subscribe to the SchoolZone service.

The Telecom spam filter puts [SPAM] at the start of the subject line for suspect emails. If they're getting some like that, then it's likely the filter is dropping the missing ones.

Are you using Japanese characters in your emails? AFAIK, using non-plaintext characters in an email will increase its score on spam filters.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 2:26 AM on July 14, 2011

I'd love it if we all switched to Gmail and the world would be peaceful, I also don't want to burden our teacher in NZ who only works with us on occasion by having to have her set up another gmail account.

Thanks for the help everyone, but it looks like there's little I can do on my side to help our emails get through.
posted by sleepytako at 6:23 PM on July 18, 2011

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