We all know how helpful automated email response systems can be, especially if you are out of office or on a vacation. But the good that these systems do can be easily overcome by the downsides that they bring with them. Hence, the question remains, whether you should set them up or not. If you do not what you are doing, then like any other tool of technology, out of office automation can go a long way in maintaining communication. This article explains the disadvantages of having an automated out of office or vacation response system for your email.
A sure shot way of letting spammers know that your email address is active and in use, is by replying to their mails from that email address. Its an open invitation to spam you more and to confirm your email address in their database. Your Auto Responder does just that. The Auto Responder by default indiscriminately sends out a reply to the spam mail, drawing the attention of the spammer. This is a major drawback for keeping your inbox spam-free. Some email providers allow filtering of auto responses and allow you to send an automated response based on the email address or domain name of the sender. Some services allow you to set an auto responder only for email addresses in your contact list.
An Auto Responder email, acknowledges the email of the sender by a return response. While it cannot be considered as a read receipt, it can definitely indicate that the email reached your inbox, something which you cannot dispute at a later stage. Depending on the laws of your country or region, the date of acknowledgement of the senders communication will be the date on which the response was generated. Companies and Corporate clients may want to take appropriate legal advise to ensure that any communication does not bind them to any legal obligation.
Auto Responders are also known to cause infinite loops of mails, especially when an automated system is setup at both ends. For example if you setup an auto response and a friend or colleague has also setup one, then if that colleague or friend sends you a mail, then each of your auto responses will keep hitting each other and form a continuous loop, which will go on for infinity, until one of your systems stops the mailing.
Newsletter systems, eGroups, online mailing lists and other automated mailing systems detest vacation responses, especially due to the unnecessary overhead that they create. Many modern systems automatically detect such messages and filter them out or discard them.
Apart from disk space for sent mails, Automated Responses also drain bandwidth, sometimes subtly and sometimes very overtly. The bandwidth drain if not checked can lead to your monthly data transfer limit being exhausted in half the time that it normally gets used, because most responses are sent along with the sender’s original mail appended to it.