What is a bounce email?
When an email is undeliverable, the server it was sent to sometimes (though not always) generates a bounce email. If a bounce email is generated, it is usually for one of the following reasons:
- Incorrect email address – When an email address has been misspelled, a server cannot deliver the message to the intended email address.
- Full inbox – If the recipient has a limited amount of space in their inbox, they can reach a point where they have too many emails and they will no longer receive messages.
- Server is unavailable – If the email server of the intended recipient is busy or not working, this will prevent your message from reaching its destination.
- Email address has changed – It’s not unusual for people to change their email addresses. When this happens, they often change servers entirely or completely terminate their email address.
It’s important to remember that while many servers create and send bounce emails in these situations, they are under no obligation to do so. Some servers may elect to send no notice whatsoever, or simply may be unable to do so. There is not a universal way to determine whether or not an individual receives your email messages.
For this reason, people who use email as part of an information campaign or business plan are advised to keep track of their clients’ email addresses and any changes in contact information.