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View Web Mail 5.50 released September 28Releases

From: Email Guy
Subject:       Web Mail 5.50 released September 28
Date: September 28, 2007 6:00 AM
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UPDATE - see this post for a response to feedback we've received.

Web Mail has some great new features today!

We're making progress towards Web Mail 6.0 and we've decided to make the updates in 3 phases. This is the first phase, version 5.50, and it includes a number of the planned improvements and some bug fixes. Next we'll have 5.60 in a month or so, and then hopefully we'll have the full 6.0 released by the end of this year. Change takes a little getting-used-to, so we don't want to change too much at once. This article explains what we updated in this first phase.

Important: if you keep your browser open all the time and you have not closed it and restarted it since the new release, there may be some issues with the page style that will be resolved once you shut down your browser and re-open it so it can refresh the style sheets that control the page layout. If that doesn't work, clear the cache and try again.

** If you are not seeing the layout exactly like the image below , including the lines between the message list, then you need to refresh your browser or clear your browser cache. This picture is IE7, but Firefox 2.0 or any up-to-date browser will look almost identical.


(click to see full size)

Once your browser has loaded the updated page, here's a list of the improvements you'll see:

There are some changes to the button bar above the message view (in both the preview pane and full message view).


  • The button order has changed, and you'll see a new Print button there, making that feature easier to find and use.
  • We shortened the "This Is Spam" button to just Spam but it still does the same thing.
  • The "Move to..." selector no longer has a button associated with it. Now when you select your destination folder in the list, that click will go ahead and do the move. Fewer steps.
  • On the far right you'll see a new selector for "More Actions...". This list contains features that already existed but were sometimes hard to find, so now they're all in one place and easier to use. The actions are View Headers, View Source, Mark Unread, and Flag Message. All of these work exactly the same as they did before; they are just in a more accessible place. Note that when you are using the Preview pane, there won't be a selection to Mark Unread. You have to turn off Preview to do that (which is also easier to toggle now).
  • Last, notice the Forward selector. This is now a drop-down instead of a button, so that you can choose whether to forward a message inline or "as attachment". Previously it just defaulted to inline, which often caused problems with re-forwarding messages forwarded to you with attached files. In the next release, we're going to make this a combination control with a button area and the drop-down area, so that you will only have to click once for your default Forward type (which you can set in Preferences).

A subset of that same button bar appears above and below the message list when you aren't viewing a message (same as before).
  • In this instance, only the controls that you can use on multiple messages at the same time are present until you actually click on a particular message. These are the same features you had before, we just made them easier to use. So you can use the checkboxes to select multiple messages, and then you can report Spam, Delete, or Move your selected messages all at once.
Caution - if you're like me and you use Web Mail a lot with the preview turned on, you'll probably click the Spam button a few times without looking, meaning to click Delete, since they changed places. I got used to it pretty quickly. If you make the mistake, just click Cancel when the spam reporting form comes up.

We made the Print feature easier to use and improved the text display.
  • Now when you click the Print button, the printable view will open up like it always has, but in addition the Print dialog for your computer will pop open automatically. The old way confused many users.
  • You'll also notice that the printable view is much more nicely formatted now.

We made the Show Preview control easier to find by making it a button. Look just above the date column.

You'll notice a new link style throughout Web Mail now. Instead of the traditional underlined style, now they only show an underline on mouse-over.
  • Links still have the blue link color so they are easy to spot. But removing all those underlines gives the page more whitespace and a cleaner, more modern style that is easier on your eyes.

On the Address Book page we:
  • Streamlined the Add selector to need one less click in the same way as the new Move control for messages already described.
  • The Show Groups control has been made easier to use.

The Blocked Sender List is now sorted alphabetically, making it easier to manage. Click Preferences if you aren't familiar with it.

Plain text messages will now display in a much more attractive and readable font (the same font you are reading right here).

And we fixed a few bugs in this release:
  • FIXED - Wrapping of plain text messages viewed in the preview pane should no longer go outside the visible area or require any horizontal scrolling to view all the text.
  • FIXED - The spacing of the message listing is now more compact vertically again so you can see more messages in the list.
  • FIXED - Importing certain CSV files to the Address Book should work better now.
  • Also a lot of work has been done under-the-hood to make Web Mail more reliable and faster. This will continue to be improved in the upcoming releases.

In addition to the above list, you'll notice a few other little style changes here and there that make things look nicer or easier to view, and more consistent between different browsers. So I hope you enjoy all these improvements, and please continue to send us feedback either here on this blog or using the Feedback link in Web Mail. Your input is what helps us continue to improve. Look for more great updates in the 5.60 release in a few weeks.

Email Guy

UPDATE - see this post for a response to feedback we've received.

View Keeping your EarthLink mailboxFAQ

From: Email Guy
Subject:       Keeping your EarthLink mailbox
Date: September 26, 2007 1:22 PM
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When circumstances change users sometimes change how they get their Internet access, due to moving to another town, work-related access, or other reasons. We've had a lot of questions lately about how to keep an EarthLink mailbox if you won't be using EarthLink to access the Internet. A related scenario is if your Internet access provider has been using EarthLink to provide your mailboxes, and that provider is moving their email to another place and offering you a new email address. I've also gotten a lot of questions from users in that situation.

In both cases the answer is yes, you can keep your EarthLink mailbox and address. We have an email-only plan for $3.95 per month. If you have an EarthLink mailbox already then you can simply call customer service at 1-800-EARTHLINK and tell them you want to convert your mailbox to a "Premium Mail" account. Even if your EarthLink account or mailbox has already been closed, you can still do this for a few weeks as your mailbox won't have been deleted yet and can be recovered. We can just re-open it for you.

Read more about Premium Mail here. But don't sign up through that web page; you must call customer service in order to convert over an existing mailbox.

View "This Is Spam" reports bouncingGeneral

From: Email Guy
Subject:       "This Is Spam" reports bouncing
Date: September 24, 2007 2:20 PM
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For the past couple of days we have had an intermittent problem where spam reports (you click This Is Spam) are bouncing back to you. This is being worked on now and should be fixed soon. Sorry for the inconvenience.

View Why am I getting bounced messages I didn't send?FAQ

From: Email Guy
Subject:       Why am I getting bounced messages I didn't send?
Date: September 14, 2007 11:03 AM
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A common technique used by unscrupulous spammers is to use a stolen email address in the From header of their message. Or a made-up one that happens to match yours. So your address might go out to thousands of mailboxes as a spam sender. Many of these messages will bounce since spammers use email lists that are often computer generated and guess at what are likely real addresses to send to. It's common for spammers to guess potentially valid addresses by taking a common username and adding valid domains to it. For example, chances are there will be a " bob@ " at just about any provider's domain. They send out so many that a lot of these guesses will hit. But when they don't hit, some of the messages will bounce back to you, cluttering your mailbox with bounced messages you never sent in the first place.

This practice is fraudulent and illegal, and sometimes the culprits can be tracked down and stopped. But don't count on it, as these scam artists usually relay their messages through compromised computers to cover their tracks. You can find more information, and report these incidents here.

Usually if you wait a few days the spammer will move on to using some other victim's address and you will stop getting bombarded with these bounced messages. Unfortunately there isn't much you can do but wait.

We have some ideas about ways to block most of these "fake" bounces and only accept real bounces. Fake bounces can usually be identified because the original message didn't come from within EarthLink, but the spoofed address used by the spammer was an EarthLink address. We're looking into a method called BATV which can identify these fake bounces for us. Look for an update on this later.

Don't worry about the safety of your mailbox when this happens. Just because a spammer has used your address as the From line in their outgoing messages, does not in any way mean they have compromised your mailbox or have any access to your messages.