How emails are sent with AbtracOnLine

AbtracOnLine allows users to generate invoices and email them directly to their clients.

This month we’re releasing a change to AbtracOnLine which lets you choose the method by which your emails are sent.

Why are we making this change? It’s important to us that your invoice management and delivery with AbtracOnLine remains reliable, even as the global email environment changes. Mail Servers and email ISPs now have more rigid practices to try and shield their users from spam, and we need to adapt Abtrac to ensure your mail isn’t incorrectly bounced or blocked.

Read on for details about :

  • How invoices are now emailed from Abtrac
  • How to track whether your email has been successfully received, and
  • What our plans are for emailing invoices in the future

How invoices are emailed from Abtrac

From Administration > Settings > System Settings you can now choose to:

  • Send emails on behalf of your own address (with a customised “From” address), this is how invoices have always been sent from AbtracOnLine. The problem with this is some of you are finding emails are being blocked because of the recipient’s stringent email settings. Abtrac will tell you if the invoice is blocked or bounced etc. but that’s all we can do.
AbtracOnLine - Email with Customised

AbtracOnLine – Email with Customised “From” address via Abtrac

  • Send emails direct using the AbtracOnLine mail server address by putting a check in the box pictured below. This gets around the blocking and bouncing problem.
AbtracOnLine - Email Invoice Options

AbtracOnLine – Email with Abtrac’s Authenticated Address

 

For details on how to send invoice emails from Abtrac, including setting a Bcc email address, editing the email display name the messgae is sent from, and tracking the email delivery status read this article: How to email invoices from AbtracOnLine


Send emails as on behalf of – with a customised “From” address

This is how invoices have always been sent from AbtracOnLine.

The system sends mail via from Abtrac’s verified email server on the Azure network. But it pretends to be sending it from your own AbtracOnLine email login using a bit of a ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach in order to make the “From” address your own.

The email received looks something like this (depending on the recipients mail application):

AbtracOnLine - Sending email invoices with customised

AbtracOnLine – Sending email invoices with customised “From address

Why is sending(or appearing to send) with a customised “From” address a problem? 

Some email services won’t accept messages that are sent on behalf of someone else.

For example, emails that have an @gmail.com “From” address, but are delivered using another email provider’s mail server could be marked as spam or be blocked by the recipient’s email provider. Once an email has been blocked by a client server, any future emails to the same mail server or service provider are also likely to be blocked.

How can I confirm mail sent from a customised “From” address has been sent.

If you are using the customised “From” address the reliability of delivery is less assured than the send direct option.

You’ll need to track your email deliveries from AbtracOnLine Notifications and Email Management to confirm that emails have been successfully received. (There’s more details on that below).

What to do if mail sent from a customised “From” address has been blocked but the invoice still needs to be delivered.

There are two options going forward. The first is to download a copy of the invoice and send it directly from your desktop using your own email application and mail server.

We understand that some users will prefer to use this ‘manual method’ of mail delivery in order to ensure complete control of the process.

We also appreciate that for other users this process is cumbersome, which is why the send direct option has also been made available.


Send emails direct using the AbtracOnLine mail server address

To avoid the issues with the “send emails on behalf” method we’ve enabled the “Use AbtracOnLine email account” option to send emails.

It removes the smoke and mirrors approach that ends up with mail being flagged as unsecure by an increasing number of servers.

Instead AbtracOnLine emails are sent direct from Abtrac’s verified email server on the Azure network and have an @azure.com “From” address.

The email received looks something like this (depending on the recipients mail application):

AbtracOnLine – Sending email invoices direct

AbtracOnLine – Sending email invoices direct

Why does it send with a @azure.com “From” address?

Azure is the Microsoft managed data centre and web hosting service used by Abtrac Online. Emails sent from the AbtracOnLine account within the @azure.com domain are digitally signed using a Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) signature and the domain is protected by the Sender Policy Framework (SPF).

This authentication reduces the risk of phishing, and emails sent from AbtracOnLine with Azure are less likely to be considered spam by your recipient’s email service.

Because we control the infrastructure for the email sending we can also track the ongoing status of emails and provide Sent notifications to your AbtracOnLine login.


What our plans are for emailing invoices in the future?

We’ll continue to review and adapt the email invoice feature in AbtracOnLine in order to ensure that the process remains reliable – even as the email environment and authentication criteria changes. And we’ll keep you informed as and when any updates regarding emailing invoices are made within AbtracOnLine.

For the time being we believe that the “Send direct” option will remain the most reliable process by which to send mail within Abtrac, for all the reasons stated above.

In the future we’ll also look at an option which would allow Sending email via your own email servers, rather than the AbtracOnLine mail server.

This would involve some configuration of your DNS records to ensure mail sent from AbtracOnLine through your own server is verified in the same way as the AbtracOnLine mail server on the Azure network. (Using a Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) signature and protected by the Sender Policy Framework (SPF).) The ‘risk’ here would be that any email delivery issues would then need to be handled by you directly, rather than notified and monitored within AbtracOnLine itself.

If you have any comments or feedback on this article please contact us at support@abtrac.com. We’ll be pleased to hear from you.

Abtrac KB# 2059