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We have just overhauled our email system, read what we have done so far and what we plan to do.

Posted by INtense! on Feb 17th, 2010

Believe it or not but ModDB is almost 8 years old now and in that time we have had hundreds of thousands of members join and share content. Slowly but surely the site has evolved and improved, but one area we badly neglected was our email notification system. At the moment you will be sent an email when:

  • Content you post is authorized
  • You receive a private message
  • Get our monthly newsletter

Apart from that your email is hidden and you will not hear from us, as we hate spam and unsolicited email and don't want to be the cause. You can also edit your profile and totally opt out of any email alerts. As a result we only send a few hundred emails daily. Despite such a low volume and totally legit messages we have noticed our system becoming more and more unreliable, especially when we send our newsletter to our 80,000 subscribers. You see the problem is, being such an old site, a lot of the member information hasn't been updated in a while, which means a lot of the email addresses we have on record are now unused and forgotten.

Turns out that sending messages to dud email addresses (even if they are legit) makes you look like a spammer (since that is what they do... they just email everyone blindly). This is causing hotmail, gmail, yahoo etc to block our emails which is preventing people from activating their accounts and joining the site. This is a big problem so we have overhauled our email system and:

  • Setup RDNS, senderID, SPF
  • Use a dedicated trusted IP
  • Track bounced messages
  • Follow email RFCs

The summary is, we have implemented industry-best practices and now track failed email attempts. What this means for you is if we try and email you a couple of times and it fails, we will no longer email you again until you fix your email address. If this happens to you, you will be presented with a message like this:

So everyone please update your profile and ensure everything is filled in and correct. This is important because in the future we plan on rolling out cool stuff like:

  • Allowing game / mod developers contact their watchers (i.e. send free copies, betas)
  • Comment reply notification
  • Updates notification

And if your profile is setup incorrectly, these messages will not make it through. If you want to know what we are working on next:

Post comment Comments
INtense! Author
INtense! Feb 17 2010 says:

Also while we roll out and test the new system, we will not be sending our monthly newsletter to everyone - so you might miss it sorry :|

+2 votes   reply to comment
MixWhelan Mar 23 2010 replied:

i've got the message for emails bouncing back but when I try to change it it says i donn't have the permission to change it? so I went to my profile setting to change the email (because it was the wrong adress i'd typed) and now even thouhg it's all in correctly it's still saying it's bounced back what do I do? :S

+1 vote     reply to comment
cW#Ravenblood Feb 17 2010 says:

cool, cool job!
Very nice idea!

+2 votes     reply to comment
Silverfisk Feb 17 2010 says:

How about an overhaul of the notification system?
* I want to be notified via e-mail when someone comments on content I have created. (currently not possible)

* I want to recieve an e-mail when I get a PM, but not when my content is approved. (currently not possible)

* I want to recieve a notification by e-mail when someone comments on my profile. (currently not possible)

* I might not want to recieve e-mails when someone comments on my content, but I might still want to be notified about that I have an unread comment when I visit the site. (currently not possible)

I think the current system is bad since I want to be able to connect more with the people commenting on my content and profile. I know that if I could get a notification via e-mail when someone comments, I would be more active on the site.

There would be more "useful" traffic. For example, I won't have to waste your bandwidth and my time by going through all my 13 tutorials and my ~10 pictures or whatever every week just to check if someone has commented.

I hope you consider doing something about this, it would mean a lot to many people I am sure.

This was kind of unrelated, but I thought this blog post was about this so I was kind of disappointed and wanted to write this since I have been thinking about it for the last year.

+12 votes     reply to comment
INtense! Author
INtense! Feb 17 2010 replied:

The purpose of this post is to discuss what you want - so yes I encourage this feedback. I agree with everything you have said here. Notifications / updates badly need an overhaul - and this is all stuff I want to. It wont be done for a while - but we fully intend on doing this. Just be patient - is taking the time at the moment.

Also I want to recieve an e-mail when I get a PM, but not when my content is approved.
YOU should get an email when you get a PM (unless you are already online)

+1 vote   reply to comment
Silverfisk Feb 17 2010 replied:

I'm glad to hear you've been thinking about this, I hope to see it soon.

"YOU should get an email when you get a PM (unless you are already online)"
Hm, then what does the checkbox saying "Email alerts when I recieve messages or my content is authorized" in the profile edit page mean with "messages"? That's not PMs?

+1 vote     reply to comment
INtense! Author
INtense! Feb 17 2010 replied:

Yep that means PMs. If you uncheck that box you will not receive any email from us.

+1 vote   reply to comment
wazanator Feb 17 2010 replied:

I think what silverfisk is trying to say is: "He would like to get emails only from moddb when someone posts a comment, not when his content is approved"

Which currently isn't possible. If he checks that box he will get emails for comments and content approved things.

+1 vote     reply to comment
DazJW Feb 17 2010 says:

Comment reply notification would be excellent.

I'd also like to see comment notification itself for mod/article/download/whatever posters - it's a pain to have to keep checking my addons page and all of the content on my mod's profile to see if there are any new comments, particularly as people occasionally comment a screenshot from ages ago that I haven't checked. Even if this just appeared in the Updates page like mod tracking rather than getting an e-mail.

Another useful notification feature would be a 'clear all' button on the 'Your Updates' page. It's irritating that I can middle click all the stuff I'm interested in to very quickly open them in new tabs but I've still got to clear each mod/game/whatever by hand. This is particularly annoying when lots of stuff I'm tracking is relevant to one article (like the mod of the year awards for example), which means I've got to click several times to clear what is essentially the same notification.

+4 votes     reply to comment
tnathan475 Feb 17 2010 replied:

I definitely agree, it would be very useful to have a clear all button for updates. Comment notification would be nice too. It would certainly help those of us that watch many mods.

+1 vote     reply to comment
DJ-Ready Feb 17 2010 says:

Sounds good ...
Did the desura invitation thing gave you the idea for this? Just a wild guess ^_^

+1 vote     reply to comment
doonbugie Feb 17 2010 says:

I want to be notified for everything. Modding is cool.

+1 vote     reply to comment
master_oli-p Feb 17 2010 says:

Sounds good, both what you're doing and the above suggestions.

If I may add my own, I would suggest possibly adding the above features, like notifications when someone replies to one of your comments say, to a separate tab. That way you won't think OMG I've got 1000 mod updates, or 100 new messages then only to be disappointed by a few message replies.

It may not be absolutely necessary, but I believe it will help.

Anyway, I'm glad your focusing on Desura. I'm a big fan of Steam, and Desura will make a nice addition to digital ownership for mods. Something only touched on in Steam.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Jokerme Feb 17 2010 says:

I was waiting for this tbh. Glad it's about to happen.

+1 vote     reply to comment
INtense! Author
INtense! Feb 17 2010 replied:

It isn't "about" to happen - this is just the first step forward... making emails more reliable as we expand the program and allow for more uses.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Jokerme Feb 17 2010 replied:

Oops, incomplete post. I meant "Comment reply notification" but forgot to mention that. I was waiting for something like that, so glad it's about to happen :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
spellman23 Feb 17 2010 says:

Uber hint: using <username> as part of your gmail e-mail will let you auto-filter stuff. It's kinda awesome.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Piuneer Feb 17 2010 says:

Amazing stuff! Now all we need is comment emoticons back :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
jjawinte Feb 17 2010 says:

A lot of other organizations could take a lesson from this E-Mail system overhaul. Doesn't seem like much, but it is an integral part of the site.

It's great to see so much positive activity on such a regular basis ! Way to show that your truly committed to nurturing the evolution and improvement of ModDB. Another fine step in the right direction "ModDB Staff" !

+2 votes     reply to comment
ElderPredator Feb 20 2010 says:


+1 vote     reply to comment
Mortecha Feb 20 2010 says:

It would be really awesome to have to option to send a message to your email every time there is an update to anything you are tracking, not only that, but also a means of browsing said update in your email. Alot of other sites do this already and just means that say your in a rush you can just peruse about whats going on and come back to it later.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Soul_Mod Mar 21 2010 says:


+1 vote     reply to comment
Haley_Senick Mar 22 2010 says:

hey, Im new to all of this stuff. but i want to join this forum and i dont know how. im a little computer dumb. so if u can comment this, or send this to me i would be very happy.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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