It Turns Out Plenty Of People Reply To

from the reading-comprehension-skills dept

It’s always amusing when errant emails get sent around. For example, we still get plenty of emails every day from people angry at for the way Amazon signs people up for their Amazon Prime program (the way it’s billed on credit cards, we’re the first Google search on the name, and people who don’t read, somehow think that we, at Techdirt, billed them). Slashdot points us to an amusing article about the guy who owns, which is now set up as a blog highlighting some of the more ridiculous emails he gets. The reason he gets so many emails is many systems just put “donotreply” in the “from” field, and people still reply — and it all goes to this guy. Most interesting is that he’s given up explaining this to people (except in a few exceptional cases), because they tend to just get angry at him.

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Comments on “It Turns Out Plenty Of People Reply To”

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Anne (profile) says:

Amazon Prime? It's not rocket science

I’m puzzled as to the problems with the Amazon Prime free trial membership. Mine is set to expire in two days, and it wasn’t a complicated thing to set the option to ‘do not auto renew.’

In fact, here’s the text copied from my Amazon buyer page:

Your membership is set to not upgrade automatically. To continue receiving Amazon Prime benefits without interruption, please click “Upgrade automatically” below.
Your trial membership will not upgrade to a full membership automatically on March 28, 2008.

This is not difficult. It might be nice if Amazon sent out a reminder email, warning me that my free trial membership was about to expire.

Rose M. Welch says:

To the idiots who didn't read the post...

Your credit card or bank statement does not alwasy reflect the business name that you saw. For instance, I have never seen a gas station name on a statement, but I almost always pay at the pump. So when the charge comes through, whether it’s expected or not, it doesn’t say ‘Amazon Prime’. So people ho, “WTF? What is that charge?” and then google the name they see there and Techdirt is one of the search results. Therein stupid people get confused. Stupid people who didn’t read all thier TOS and then get mad, much like people who don’t read posts and then criticize them.

Anonymous Coward says:

What the hell is with people like Rose and Anne? What do your comments have to do with the article whatsoever?!

Anyway, there is no reason to use “” in an address. Those mail administrators should be shot in the face. If you don’t want to accept replies, set it to ‘donotreply’ in the user and append your domain as the host part. Then don’t create an actual account on your server that uses that name and all of those messages will bounce or be dumped. Problem solved.

So really, as dumb as it is that people might reply to these messages – the administrator’s responsible for creating those emails are far stupider.

Paul (user link) says:

Re: Re:

Just want to point out that just creating an email address that doesn’t have an account associated with it doesn’t mean anything that goes to that address gets dumped. a lot of domains have accounts that are set up so they get any emails that were addressed to non-existent accounts. it helps with typos and what not or with people who just assume there’s a “” or even just “”.

in any case, its probably just best to actually set up a “donotreply” account and rig it to just continually delete emails it receives.

PaulT (profile) says:

@AC #7

Please read the article before complaining about people not doing the same. FTA:

“For example, we still get plenty of emails every day from people angry at for the way Amazon signs people up for their Amazon Prime program (the way it’s billed on credit cards, we’re the first Google search on the name, and people who don’t read, somehow think that we, at Techdirt, billed them).”

THAT is what Anne, Rose, etc. were referring to, dumbass.

Anyway, I read about the issue a few days ago and you’re right with the rest of your post. It’s quite amusing to me, and just another example of people trying to blame the messenger for their own incompetence. No competent sysadmin would use a 3rd party domain for message replies, they would set up e.g. and then set the address to redirect to /dev/null.

Since they’re too stupid to do that, the owner of is well within his rights to point out the incompetence of the companies involved. The companies should just count their lucky stars that the guy receiving the emails is honest and not interested in selling them on to identity thieves and the like.

Rich Kulawiec says:

The entire concept is a fabrication of ignorant newbies who have failed to grasp the rudiments of email practice. *Every* message should have a valid replyable address (either implicit or specified in Reply-To) so that automated responses (such as rejects/bounces) and manual responses (from humans) are received, read and acted upon.

Some senders plaintively, cluelessly whine that they don’t have the resources to handle such traffic, as it eludes their feeble comprehension that the only correct answer to such a situation is “don’t generate it”.

ANYONE using a “donotreply” address on their outbound mail does not deserve the privilege of sending mail on our network. Anyone choosing to do so anyway does fully deserve all the pain, embarrassment, etc. that they’re begging for.

Frank says:

You should make a correction...

…and change the 2nd sentence to say (emphasis mine),

“For example, we still get plenty of emails every day from idiots angry at for the way Amazon signs people up for their Amazon Prime program.”

I have never had a free trial of anything that made it as clear that you would be billed after 30 days nor made is as easy to opt-out. You don’t have to call anyone or send an email to anyone. You just go into your amazon account and click a button. I’m surprised these morons know how to compose an email.

Fred Fighter says:

The fault lies with the idiots who send with "do not reply" in their "from:"

Falsifying email headers so that replies, bounces, or complaints are misdirected to a third party is commonly referred to as a “Joe job”, named for an early victim
of the tactic. It is certainly not a accepted practice,
and is illegal in many states.


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