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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Four times over the past year, I've had my e-mail from Outlook (@comcast.net) simply start disappearing upon sending. There were no error messages, no bounce e-mails, and no problems when I tested the account settings through Windows Control Panel. Every message sent, regardless of the recipient or the domain, would simply disappear. The other times it's resolved itself after a few days, but this last time it persisted more than two weeks. Comcast Help kept telling me the problem was on my end, that there was a problem "with my Outlook." I knew this wasn't the case, as e-mails sent from my iPhone and iPad would also fail, and I don't use Outlook on those devices. Nevertheless I could send e-mails from my address if I logged into my e-mail through their webpage using Chrome or Firefox, so I could see how it looked like the problem was on my end.

Through extensive testing, I finally zeroed in on the issue (no help from Comcast): In the "Your Name" field in setting up the account, I had entered a nickname rather than my real name. I never would have thought that would cause e-mail to fail, but it did. I've used the account with that nickname for many years, but every now and then, it'll stop working. All the stranger because I use a different Comcast e-mail address on my laptop and I use a nickname (different one) there, too, and I've never had any trouble with that account. With my affected account, I can enter my full name or just my first name; it works either way. But change it back to my nickname, and it fails. I switched it back and forth several times and the success/failure was 100% consistent with my use of my real or nick name.

Has anyone ever heard of this sort of failure before? I just can't figure it. I would have thought that the Your Name field was just a text field that had no bearing on the ability to send mail. Any thoughts or ideas about why this happens?

Thanks for any insights.
 

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I've seen this in the Mozilla Support forum ( for Thunderbird), but I can't recall if it was a Comcast account that was affected. It has something to do with "display name spoofing". An email service provider can put measures in place to prevent outgoing mail from getting sent and treat it as spam if the Your Name field in that message does not match the account name of the credentials being used by the client to authenticate with the SMTP server. This was probably beyond the knowledge of the Comcast representative you were in touch with. If you want to use a nickname, check if you can add it as an alias or allowed sender to your Comcast account.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This does explain a lot. Curiously, it was because I set up the Thunderbird e-mail client to see if I had the same problem with it as I was having with Outlook that I discovered the source of the problem. Turns out it didn't, but that was because I set Thunderbird up in a hurry and just accepted all the defaults. That included my real name, not my nickname, so when I sent a test e-mail, it went right through, no problem. As soon as I switched the display name to my nickname, Thunderbird too, began failing. You say knowledge about this "was probably beyond the knowledge of the Comcast representative you were in touch with," and I'm sure you are right. The issue there is that I spoke with several Comcast reps, including those at escalated levels of help, and none of them suggested this might be the problem. None of them knew about it. As you pointed out, this is something Comcast chose to put in place, so someone should have been aware of it. Thanks much for replying.
 

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They probably would have figured it out if they had bothered to look at their antispam filtering logs for your account. I'd be surprised if they just discard suspect spam instead of quarantining it at least temporarily. Unfortunately, most email service providers are slow to act on issues that are not widely reported, and especially when a third-party email client is involved and their webmail facility works as expected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Over and over again I told them, "Something in your system is flagging my e-mail as spam. I do not know why, as I do not send spam." They never believed me nor acted on what I told them, so far as I know. It just fell of deaf ears. I was fairly certain that was happening because if I would send an e-mail to one of my other Comcast e-mail addresses (the one I sue on my laptop), it would go into the spam folder for that address. Not the spam folder in my laptop's Outlook, but the one on the Comcast website. I added my address to the website address book (a trick to get incoming mail not flagged as spam), and several times I marked the messages as "Not spam," and it made no difference. My messages from my main account would continue to go to the spam folder. As far as I'm concerned, this is Comcast tech help at its worst.
 
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