We've recently had some reports of emails sent from PCO Services that weren't getting to users, even though the app was successfully sending them. After some investigation, we realized that because of the way we were sending emails (which we've done for years), Yahoo had recently decided that all email sent from PCO was bad and just wouldn't deliver it. The good news is that we have resolved this issue and all new emails should be deliverable now. For some more background information, read on.

First we tried to figure out how to get Yahoo to reverse that decision to not deliver our messages, but were ultimately unsuccessful. As a result, we decided we needed to change the way we sent email. When a user sends email through Planning Center, the email is technically coming from a Planning Center server, but from the user's perspective, they want to see that it's coming a specific person. To accomplish this, we used some standard email trickery to say that the email is coming from the name and email address of the user who sent the email. The problem is that Yahoo has recently decided that since we're spoofing an email address, the messages are bad.

To fix this, we are no longer spoofing the sender's email address. Instead, all email sent through PCO will now be sent from no-reply@planningcenteronline.com. We're still able to set the actual name of the sender, so in most cases, users won't notice a difference at all. In addition, we set the reply to address to the actual email address of the sender, so if the user tries to reply to the email, it will go back to the email address of the sender.

There are a couple of smaller email programs that don't respect this reply to setting. In those cases, when a user clicks their reply button, it will be sent to no-reply@planningcenteronline.com and will be undeliverable. They will, however, get a bounce back to know it wasn't delivered. This has no effect on clicking links in the emails to accept or decline, only if they user tried to do a regular email reply.

Here's an example to hopefully make it more clear. If I, Aaron, send an email from PCO to Nicole, Nicole will see a new email from Aaron using the address no-reply@planningcenteronline.com. No matter what, clicking any link in the email will work. When she clicks the reply button in her email program to send me a text response, if she's using most email apps, she'll see that it's being sent to Aaron using aaron@pco since that's the email address used by my Planning Center account. If she tries to reply in a less popular email client (like AirMail on a Mac), she'll see that it's going to no-reply@planningcenteronline.com and should hopefully know that it won't work. If she does try to send it anyway, the email will be returned to her as undelivered. There's not really anything we can do to make sure all email programs respect a reply to address, but fortunately, all the major email apps do this well.

We will continue to monitor emails to make sure you can always count on their deliverability. Please let us know if you have any questions.