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Ask HN: Facebook emails as facebookmail.com. Should I?
12 points by srgseg on Oct 25, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments
If I'm startup.com, is it advisable to have my corporate email come from me@startup.com, and user notifications come from notify@startupmail.com?

I assume facebook has both employee@facebook.com and notify@facebookmail.com so that their employees don't get their own outgoing emails blocked as spam the same way that "Bob sent you a message on Facebook!" messages might.

However, I am guessing that my notifications might be likely to be tagged as spam if notifications come from startupmail.com and those notifications contain links to startup.com (or a reply-to: to something@startup.com).

Any experienced insights much appreciated!

EDIT: Any thoughts on the variant of having notify@notify.startup.com and me@startup.com, and the effect of a spam rating of the subdomain on the main domain?

I panicked a little bit when I received an obvious spam message (my mail program thought so, too) from this strange facebookmail.com domain that had all this personal information about me. (How does some random spammer know who is a friend of mine?)

That panic didn’t last that long (I have some capacity for logical deduction and Google helped) but I do think that it’s not really a very clever idea to send out your mail from a domain you are not normally using. There might be technical reasons but I think the user experience is just not great. I’m not sure, though. Most people probably wouldn’t even notice.

All the purported reasons for FB doing this seem topsy turvy to me. Sacrificing the experience of the majority for the sake of the minority.

I mean, why not use @startupmail.com for your personal addresses and have your app use @startup.com? You can set up aliases like fred@startup.com so the obvious guess-address still works, but this way your users don't end up asking "is this legit?", your corp emails still won't get blocked for spam, etc.

I really dislike the UI of sending app related emails from a different domain. It's an ugly solution to what may be a non-problem, and if there really is a need to separate corp from app addresses, treat your app as the number one priority. Use gmail for your corp correspondence if you have to.

I mean, why not use @startupmail.com for your personal addresses and have your app use @startup.com?

Because then people might wonder if I really did represent startup.com when I emailed them about a biz dev deal.

I agree with you regarding the trust/user experience issue with sending notifications from startupmail.com.

> Because then people might wonder if I really did represent startup.com

Well yeah, but I'd argue that that's better than having your users wonder if they're really getting emailed by startup.com or not.

My guess is that Facebook uses separate domains to ensure their company email accounts don't end up with spam issues due to the overhead of sending out all the notifications for their users.

I've got dozens of "your friends are waiting for you on Facebook" notifications to email addresses that are not even linked on Facebook. I can see where people would mark these as spam.

Also given the less savvy end of the computer user spectrum, I can see where people will just click 'spam' as a quicker alternative to clicking delete and then 'Yes I want to delete'

Finally with the sheer volume of notifications generated, I can see where some overly sensitive mail servers may block the sending domain for too many messages.

I think you're over thinking things. Worry about it if/when it becomes an issue.

And if it is already an issue, providing more details about the type and quantity of emails you are sending, and the blocking you are experiencing, will help you get better answers.

Another good reason to have a separate domain is so that your main mail servers don't get overloaded with bounce messages, people hitting reply, etc.

Good point. I could have both notify@notify.startup.com and me@startup.com. That could mean I'd have two separate mail servers.

I'm mostly worried about signup/+3 day/+7 day notifications to new users from damaging the spam reputation of me@startup.com when I attempt to email important people to discuss e.g. biz dev deals.

Whenever I get any account information emails from "facebookmail.com" I spend 10 minutes trying to figure out if it's a phishing attempt. My opinion: Just use your real domain or if you must a subdomain, ie notify@mailer.startup.com.

use SendGrid

I looked into SendGrid, and I was a bit concerned that they use IP addresses from EC2 to send out email with. Otherwise they seem pretty good.

I wonder if the issues of needing to send out mail from multiple IP addresses and per-ISP rate throttling are as important as they say. I guess I'll find out if I'm lucky enough to ever hit those limits.

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