Optimizing Email Addresses for Remote, Mobile Workers in an Age of Spam
Last updated: 6/27/2002; 12:03:38 PM
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Optimizing Email Addresses for Remote, Mobile Workers in an Age of Spam

This document talks about an approach of optimizing SMTP addresses, i.e. standard email addresses, for a user base of remote, mobile, disconnected users – with the additional challenge of minimizing spam if possible.

Disclaimer: This is a complex way to handle email.  I am not giving any pretensions that this is simple.  But, when you are a consultant, email is essentially mission critical. 


My email has gotten so extensive that I have had to turn off the normal 3 minute email fetch in Outlook.  Why?  Because I send messages constantly and this is now affecting my ability to communicate with customers since I don't get my email often enough.  As I analyze the problem, it becomes clear that what's absolutely killing me are all the mailing lists that I am on.  I used to use a separate address for mailing lists but I can't do that anymore since so many all lists now require you to verify with a response from that address – and Outlook 2000, my "main" email client, can't do that.  Additional problems include the fact that I am out of the office regularly and often need frequent access to past emails — AND my laptop connectivity is spotty at best due to both networking troubles and REPEAT hardware failures. 

Platform Assumptions

Here are the technology and other assumptions that I am making:

  • The user has a real desktop or laptop computer that can run a rich email client like Outlook or Entourage
  • The user regularly does not have full access to that machine when remote for 1 or more reasons (connectivity, tired of schlepping it around, dead hard drive)
  • The user has the ability to create or have created multiple email addresses and the ability to use lots of space on his or her mail server
  • The user has a webmail solution like the powerful triad of Q-Mail / VPopMail and SQ Mail available to them


Here's the approach that I have taken for myself and my partner, Gretchen.  This is actually working very well for us.

  1. Create a primary set of addresses such as scott@fuzzygroup.com and gretchen@fuzzygroup.com.  These are the desktop addresses that will be sucked into Outlook or Entourage or some other rich mail client regularly.
  2. Create a secondary set of addresses such as scottr@fuzzygroup.com and gretchenr@fuzzygroup.com  (the r stands for remote).  Set QMail up so that all messages sent to scott@fuzzygroup.com and gretchen@fuzzygroup.com are automatically carbon copied to these two accounts.  Set the passwords for these two accounts to match the passwords for the primary account.  Remove the limits for these mailboxes or at least set them to be large.  The benefit of the name R accounts is that these will be solely accessed via web mail so that when we are remote we have full access to all current Inbox contents.  It also means that if we leave the office with Outlook running, and automatically receiving mail every 3 minutes, we still can see all messages.
  3. Inform your users that "If you want something in Sent Items" to be accessible then bcc it to scottr@fuzzygroup.com or to gretchenr@fuzzygroup.com.  An alternative would be to create scottsentitems@fuzzygroup.com and gretchensentitems@fuzzygroup.com  
  4. Document the heck out of this.




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