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Communicating & Effectiveness Now that we've covered the basics of emailing with manners, it's important to make sure your intended message is actually getting across. 17. Use meaningful subject lines. Write something "meaningful" in the email sender, to give recipients a clue as to what your email is about. This is increasingly necessary to distinguish legit emails from spam. The latter's subject lines are are often deceptive. 18. Be brief. Do not send excessively long emails if at all possible. Try to summarize your information so that your recipients are more likely to read the email and actually respond. When possible, break long emails into numbered point form so that recipients can respond by reference number. 19. Summarize. Precede a long email with a short summary. 20. Cheat with templates. In his Five Fast Email Productivity Tips, author Merlin Mann recommends 'cheating' -- using templates and form letters - when you find yourself answering (or asking) the same questions repeatedly. A good percentage of first-year college students learn to do this when writing email to family, friends, and significant friends back home. 21. Include an excerpt. If it's sufficient/ appropriate, include an excerpt of the document (instead of attaching it) in the body of your email. 54. Send a link instead. You are better off sending a link to something, if the material is already online, or you can easily put it up on a secure site. * Microsoft's Hotmail service provides an extended header line called "X-Originating-IP" that contains the sender's actual IP address. * Emails from Yahoo (if untampered) contain the email sender IP address in the last Received: entry. This comes weeks after Alterian's marketing platform was selected by the Direct Marketing Association to run its e-mail marketing campaigns. “The ESPC's best practices are consistent with Alterian’s principles, and we are proud to be a member,” said David Eldridge, CEO of Alterian, Chicago. “Effective e-mail is a critical component of integrated marketing campaigns, so it’s important to us to help drive the advancement and ethical use of e-mail. Ultimately, this will help preserve and expand e-mail's function as a powerful marketing tool.” The ESPC is a cooperative group of industry leaders working to address the continued proliferation of spam and concerns around e-mail deliverability. Other firms in the coalition include Constant Contact, Datran Media and Experian’s CheetahMail. “We are a prestigious group of nearly 100 members,” said James Campbell, assistant director of the ESPC. “Each member must pledge to uphold best practices, engage in the use of appropriate technologies and show a clear dedication to appropriate e-mail marketing. Alterian met those prerequisites, and we’re excited about having them join the coalition.” Last week, this page described Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and some of its shortcomings. A different technique with similar goals is Domain Keys (DK) which appears to be gaining support. This week, DK will be examined along with the related Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) proposal. DK has been adopted by two of the larger email providers: Yahoo and Gmail. Banks and other financial institutions are also starting to adopt it because it provides very good phishing protection for their customers. It allows customers the opportunity to verify that the mail is authentic. Unfortunately, the support for DK checking in MTAs and MUAs has not been widely deployed yet, but the early adopters appear to be betting that it will be. In 2003, Meng Weng Wong picked what he felt were the best features of Reverse MX and DMP and came up with SPF. To date, SPF has become far and away the most popular of the DNS-based anti-spam efforts. But the morphing has continued. Microsoft has wrapped its own Caller ID proposal around SPF and now calls it Sender ID. A potentially bigger problem is that DK is covered by patents held by Yahoo. Microsoft's Sender ID proposal never gained any traction in the free software world because of patent issues, but it appears that Yahoo's liberal licensing terms have removed that issue, at least for free software. Yahoo licenses the patents under either the GPL or their own license agreement. A patent peace provision and a notice that acknowledges Yahoo's intellectual property are all that are required for those who do not wish to license under the GPL. Unfortunately, SPF can cause problems with forwarding. To use SPF, the forwarding MTA has to rewrite the sender address. This can be fixed by using the Sender Rewriting Scheme (SRS). Sender ID: The Microsoft solution But for now, the simple message is this: work on implementing authentication standards for your outgoing emails. Get help if you can't understand the jargon yourself. Hassle your IT or technical folk. Bug your email service provider. “I’d like to talk about the other side of the email equation - what happens for legitimate senders, whose email is blocked as spam because an ISP decides that certain words in their email are not ok. Use Text/ RTF format instead of DOC files. Microsoft's Word files (.doc format) are susceptible to some macro viruses. If you must send a document and cannot use one of the options above, copy your document to RTF (Rich Text Format) first, then email that as an attachment. Even if you don't have a virus on your computer, your colleague may. If they receive an RTF file, then there is less chance they will respond with a DOC file. (MS Word let's you work with RTF files as you would a DOC file.) It is also okay to send .txt (raw text), .pdf, and image files. Bad to send: any .EXE or other executable file. Possibly bad: .doc or .xls (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet) files.