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ago (in a galaxy far, far away, of course), I decided to start a feature on this blog called “The Papyrus Files” about outdated practices / systems / technology / etc.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.