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marcho
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My emails have stopped being received by a friend in the USA

I've been emailing a friend in Florida for several years ok.  Suddenly they do not receive the emails.  They gave me another address to use on Gmail and that worked once now neither work.  How can I find out where the problem is, on the way there or blocked etc there.  I've had them check their 'spam' folder.  Even tried a simple text email with no attachments.

Thanks

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coenoby
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Re: My emails have stopped being received by a friend in the USA


@marcho wrote:

How can I find out where the problem is, on the way there or blocked etc there


That's a very good question. 

I am assuming that you are sending from one of the Virgin Media email addresses although most of what I'm going to say applies whatever address you are sending from.

You do not mention getting any error or non delivery messages back when you email your friend but if you do it would be very useful to see the error text.

It would also be useful to know the email domain you were originally sending their emails to. (That's just the part after the @ symbol - do not post their full address here.)

The first thought in cases like this is that the your friend's email service is blocking emails from Virgin Media. That does happen from time to time due to the VM servers getting on to a blacklist  for some reason.

However, there must be more to it in your case. It is intriguing that they originally received the emails you sent to their Gmail account and then that stopped receiving them as well.

I have checked whether Gmail has a block on VM emails by sending test emails from my virginmedia.com  and ntlworld.com accounts to my Gmail account. I sent a couple yesterday and two more today and they all came through fine.

One test I would suggest making is to ask them to send you an email from their original address and another from their Gmail address. When you receive them, you should reply to them by using the "reply" function rather than by creating a new email. Then see if those replies get through.

Also, if you do not normally use the  VM Webmail service, (for example you may use an email app on your phone) I would suggest signing into VM Webmail from here https://mail2.virginmedia.com/ and sending a test email from there as well to see if that gets through.

Is your friend the only person you cannot reach by email or are you having similar issues with any other people?

I must admit I am wondering whether your friend  has set up their own filter rules in both their email accounts. For example, they may have set rules or filters to catch specific emails and your emails are being caught by them as well. Might be worth asking them about that.

I think I have shown that Gmail is not blocking VM emails but it would be worth asking your friend to check with their other email provider whether they are blocking VM emails.

I look forward to reading your answers to my questions and the findings of the tests I have suggested. This is an interesting one which I am sure has a simple answer, it just takes a bit of digging.

Coenoby

 

 

 

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marcho
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Re: My emails have stopped being received by a friend in the USA

Hi thanks for your reply. To answer your questions;

Yes I am using my ntlworld.com email accounts.

I do not get any error messages back

I am sending to @aol.com and @gmail.com 

I have asked them to send me an email from each account and I've sent emails direct via webmail as you suggested (I use outlook).  I'll let you know if anything works.

I'm only having a problem with their emails.

I've asked them to check for any filters their end but they are not too tech knowledgeable, 69 years old although worked with PC in local utilities before retirement.

Regards

Ian

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coenoby
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Re: My emails have stopped being received by a friend in the USA


@marcho wrote:
I'll let you know if anything works.

That's great thanks.

Sorry to suggest something else for you to do.  You could also send an email addressed to both the Gmail and AOL email addresses and also cc it  to your Ntlworld address.

You should receive that back in your Ntlworld email Inbox almost straight away.

The message headers of that incoming email will not tell us anything about the progress of the emails to your friend. However, if this problem has to be passed to the VM Email security team it will tell them where to look in VM's outgoing email logs to trace what has happened to the email as to is passed from server to server across the internet to your friend's email services.

Hope that makes sense.

Coenoby

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marcho
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Re: My emails have stopped being received by a friend in the USA

OK, I understand that.  Sent the email and got the cc back straight away.

I'll hold on to the email and wait my USA friends response to the previous ones.

Ian

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Re: My emails have stopped being received by a friend in the USA

Hi marcho,

 

Thank you for coming back to us, good to hear yours came back, please let us know if your friend in the USA comes back to you?

 

Regards

 

Paul.

marcho
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Re: My emails have stopped being received by a friend in the USA

Hi Paul,

So here's a summary of what my tests have found.  I sent 4 emails to our friend 1 from each of two Ntlworld accounts to each of their Gmail and AOL accounts.  They got one email from our 'catandian' ntlworld to their Gmail account.  I replied to that but they didn't receive it?

Also sent an email from Virgin webmail separately to their AOL and Gmail accounts.

They did not receive either of those.

Very strange and inconsistent.

Regards

Ian

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Re: My emails have stopped being received by a friend in the USA


@marcho wrote:.

Very strange and inconsistent.


Thanks for doing all this, it is very strange.

I have just been doing some tests of my own.

The first was to set up an AOL email address - another to add to my already lengthy list.😄

The next was to send a series of emails to AOL:

  • from my Gmail account directly and also using Outlook
  • direct from my Ntlworld webmail account
  • from my Ntlworld account using Outlook
  • from one of  my private domain email accounts.

Here's what I found:

  • every email from Gmail arrived in the AOL inbox
  • all emails from my Ntlworld account (whether direct from webmail or via Outlook) went into my AOL spam folder. I will also say that the AOL interface does not show any indication from the Folder list that there are unread messages in spam. You have to open the folder to check that.
  • I replied to the Ntlworld emails and when they appeared in Ntlworld webmail I replied back to AOL - those replies were received by AOL but appeared in the spam folder
  • similarly emails from my private domain went into AOL spam.

So what does that say?

I don't think AOL are blocking VM emails across the board but they do put them in spam and the AOL user interface does not make it easy to see that you have a new email in spam.  Check this screenshot to see what I mean - there are 6 unread emails in my AOL  spam folder but no indication of that

AOL spam.png

In my tests there seemed to be no evidence that new emails from VM are accepted but then subsequent ones are dropped.

As far as your findings -  "they got one email from our 'catandian' ntlworld to their Gmail account. I replied to that but they didn't receive it?"

I don't suppose that your contact is getting confused by Gmail's default view are they?  By default Gmail displays emails in conversations, so the original email  and then subsequent replies all appear in one line in the inbox. What is really confusing is that it shows the oldest first.

So if a Gmail recipient receives an email from you that's easy for them to spot. However, if they reply to you and you then reply back the recipient has to go into the email from the list in their inbox. They then have to scroll all the way through the first email before they see the second one.

If they are regular Gmail users they are probably well aware of this but occasional users can easily be confused and miss that fact that a new email has been received,

Overall, my feeling is that there is something odd happening at the Florida end of the conversation. In part that is due to the odd behaviour your tests show with their Gmail account. In my experience Gmail handles spam really well and I have rarely heard of cases where email to Gmail just never arrives.

AOL I am not sure about - all I can say is that my test showed ntworld emails did arrive but in the spam folder. I would have thought that if AOL were blocking your emails, perhaps because of your iP address, they, or VM, would be sending a non delivery report back.

Dare I say, you could try testing from a non VM email account and see if that gives similar results in their AOL and Gmail accounts?  If it does that would prove something wouldn't it?

This is an interesting problem for me but a frustrating one for you. I'm sorry I cannot be more conclusive about the cause.

Coenoby

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