The Book Publicity Blog

News, Tips, Trends and Miscellany for Book Publicists

The Papyrus Files — Earthlink

A long, long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away, of course), I decided to start a feature on this blog called “The Papyrus Files”  about outdated practices / systems / technology / etc. that are still in use.  Except then it lapsed for lack of inspiration.  Until now.

I had thought Earthlink’s drawbacks as an email provider were limited to the most antiquated spam filter in the post Civil War era.  Apparently, I was wrong.  I’ve been emailing back and forth with a producer, but it’s been difficult actually reading her messages because the Earthlink account she uses places her responses … at the very bottom of the message chain.

Now, anyone who has ever used a Blackberry, iPhone or other PDA knows that only a small amount of information in an email message can be viewed in the absence of an Internet connection.  (And now those of you who never have, do.)  Needless to say, this “small amount of information” does not include responses that appear at the very bottom of message chains.  Which means, then, that anyone viewing messages on the go — including a preponderance of journalists, producers and bookstore event coordinators — are well, not viewing those messages on the go. 

Earthlink also boasts a spam filter that I thought went out around the time the British army decided it actually was not an appropriate badge of honor for their officers to be attired in red (which was, coincidentally, around the time German marksmen were searching for targets for their newly-invented machine guns in the haze of the French countryside).  The way the Earthlink filter works is anyone who is not already in the users’ address book — including a preponderance of well, everyone — must click through to a spam filter page and type in the series of letters they see in order to ensure delivery of their message.  Often, the spam filter link does not actually work.  While this serves as a deterrant to spammers, it also serves as a deterrant to, say, a book publicist trying to respond about a requested review copy of a book or interview.  Also deterred are  literary agents being queried about submissions, as Colleen Lindsay has pointed out.

Devoted Earthlink users who simply can’t bear to part with their accounts should — for the sake of anyone and everyone with whom they do business — set up a Gmail account and then simply activate the forwarding function that allows Gmail to be sent to any other email address.  (This will allow people to bypass the inconvenient and frequently faulty Earthlink spam filter.)  Also, there should be settings options that allow one to change the location of responses so that they appear at the top rather than at the bottom of messages.

This has been a Public Service Announcement from The Book Publicity Blog.

March 9, 2009 - Posted by | Email, Papyrus Files |

1 Comment »

  1. Hmm. I disagree. 🙂

    I loathe top-posting with a passion. Good netiquette has always suggested bottom posting, after the text to which you are replying.

    However, I suspect that what you’re actually seeing isn’t a problem with bottom-posting but with under-snipping. There’s no point quoting lots of text that the other person already knows (often because they wrote it). If it’s needed for comprehension then it should be retained. If it’s not, it should be cut – and cut brutally.

    Now, there’s an extra problem here, which is that you seem to be expecting to read email over a service not designed for it. If your email client doesn’t download the email message (and I speak as someone who regularly uses their iPod Touch and EeePC as email devices) then you need a better email service. The fault isn’t in the person sending you email but in _your_ device, which doesn’t deal with email properly.

    Basically, if you insist on using a device that doesn’t download or render emails properly, don’t complain about the people who send you emails. Complain about the device. Blackberry, PDA and iPhone can all use data connections to your download complete emails. Of course, it can sometimes be a nuisance to persuade them to do so!

    Rant over!

    Comment by John | March 10, 2009 | Reply


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