Friday, July 06, 2007

Why Out-of-office auto-replies should be avoided

Why "Out-of-office" or "vacation" auto-replies should be avoided:
  1. They are useless: if I get an Out-of-office reply instead of the reply I expected, well, that is not a reply. It's useless and is just one more mail I have to delete along with all the spam.
  2. Email is not supposed to be instant communication. For that, there is Instant Messaging or the telephone, or even the fax. The whole point of email is to have asynchronous communication: people can write and respond whenever it is convenient for them.
    When I send an email to someone, I don't expect an immediate reply. I expect to get a reply when my corespondent finds the time. If I can't wait, I use the phone.
  3. If some of your correspondents really need fast replies to emails, then don't frustrate them with useless junk mail. Instead, give them what they want: a real reply. If you cannot read and answer your mail daily, then ask someone else to monitor that account for you while you are away.
  4. Auto-replies occasionally create mailbombs, annoying countless users who never heard of you before.
  5. They confirm your email address to spammers, making sure it stays in their databases
If you really still want to use an auto-responder, here is a link to good auto-reply examples which I hope will help you compose your own out-of-office message.

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