How to Earn a Bad Cyber-Rep…in One Easy Step

Although Saba Agency boasts a state-of-the-art graphic design, website development and social media dept., it is only a portion of the mega-machine that is runs this outfit. Saba Agency, along with our sister company, Creative Concepts, boasts 9 exceptional account reps. These wonderful individuals are a whiz when it comes to promotional items; hats, shirts, mugs, pens, heart-shaped letter openers and stress relievers shaped like a pig, etc. Some are experts at media placement and anything ad and print-related …and oh much more. They love what they do, care about their clients and work hard….but some of them haven’t a clue when it comes to computers and the internet.

So the default IT person is usually our web developer and graphic designer, who both work in my dept., Creative Services. The staff figures since they are both young and do actual work on a computer, they should know everything there is to know about the Entire Internet in General. Luckily for the staff, these two are both pretty smart and do know a lot….but don’t let that get out. Any and all computer problems fall on their shoulders. If someone can’t figure out how to use Mapquest, one of them gets a call on the intercom. “Would you come show me how to find that Mappy-thing?” If another one can’t email a 200 meg file and doesn’t understand why, it falls on someone in my dept to take care of it. It’s like guiding a small child across the street and explaining to them about looking both ways. The only difference is, small children listen.

So it came as no surprise when, about three weeks ago, one of our CC account reps came bursting into the Creative Services dept red-faced and flustered, a vein in his temple noticeably protruding and sweat on his upper lip— “I can’t send emails to my clients! They are coming back to me undeliverable. You have to DO something about it and do it NOW!” We’ve all experienced the dreaded “Mail Undeliverable” in our email inbox. It’s a pain. It’s a bother. And around these parts it’s evidently cause to dial 911. I began to try and talk him down off the ledge. “OK send us one of the “Undeliverable” notices emails so we can look at it and figure it out.” I calmly said. “YOU HAVE TO FIX THIS NOW!” he not-so-calmly replied. “Get out” I said as I pushed him out the door. “And do what I told you”.

The Undeliverable message said “A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its recipients. This is a permanent error. Client host blocked.”

OK this is not good news. Putting two and two together, I called the account rep back into my office. “Were you sending out a pdf or some attachment to multiple recipients?” I asked with fear in my voice. He didn’t hesitate “Yes! I sent a pdf to everyone on my mailing list at the same time. About 300 people. Why?” BAM!—my heart sunk. “You are the reason we are blocked. And not only you but everyone in this company is blocked on multiple mail servers. We are BLACKLISTED” I said as I looked him directly in the eye with the most stern “mom” look I could give. At that he began using colorful language and blamed anyone and everyone else for the problem—denying all guilt. I waited till he calmed down then tried to explain to him the dangers of what he did. Remembering to take the small child by the hand while crossing the street, I calmly, and in civilian terms, explained that many of our client’s mail servers now think we are sending SPAM and are refusing to take ANY emails from ANY of us—and if he’d been at our staff meetings, he would know that. And just like a rebellious small child crossing the street, he yanked his imaginary hand out of mine, stalked out of my office and took off across the street alone….NOT looking both ways and not feeling remorse for the collision he’d just caused.

Thus began our web developers on-going task to get us un-blacklisted. A thankless and slow task. After a week we began getting this message in our “undeliverable mail” notices; “Your access to this mail system has been rejected due to the sending MTA’s poor reputation. If you believe that this failure is in error, please contact the intended recipient via alternate means.”

Great. Now we have a poor reputation. I began using my personal email address and all my clients began calling me Mary— my real name instead of the nickname I’ve used all these many years. Some of the staff tried using their iphones once we explained to them that yes, you can get and receive mail from your iphone. Imagine that! Eventually,after three weeks and multiple threats to our ISP, our web developer successfully had the problem fixed and the blocked mail messages stopped. Kudos to her and I still owe her a chili dog.

As for the guilty account rep who started the whole problem? He buzzed me yesterday and asked what the zip code is for Delano. I said one word to him, “Google”. He replied “Google? What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

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