What happens when you click “reply”?

We send out several different newsletters each month: Firefox & You, Beta, Aurora, About Mozilla, Student Reps, etc. Across all of these newsletters, we send well over 4 million emails a month – and our Firefox & You newsletter is growing by 20-30,000 subscribers a day. With all those emails from the Mozilla team going out, what happens when a subscriber hits reply? Does the email go somewhere? Does someone read it?

Answers: Their reply goes to an awesome email address (awesomeness [at] mozilla [dot] com). It is a real email address. And we try our best to read them all.

As part of the User Engagement team, our mission is to build friendships with every user. We could opt to have a “noreply[at]Mozilla[dot]com” for our newsletter reply-to address – but that’s not friendly – and Mozilla is all about friendliness and community. We want our users to know that we’re here for them and we like to hear from them!

Over the past few months, we’ve averaged about 3,000 reply emails a month to awesomeness [at] Mozilla [dot] com.

Many of those emails are auto-responders, some are social networking invitations, but several are real notes from people with real usability problems, and sometimes the emails are heartfelt thank you’s that just can’t go unnoticed. We love our users – we love hearing from them – and we want to help them if we can!

Despite our best efforts, as we grow our number of email relationships – and expand our locales – it’s not sustainable for us to monitor and respond to every message that comes into this inbox. I wish there were simply more hours in the day!

We want to ensure that we provide good, timely, responses to our users who ask questions or have feedback.

In thinking through how to best respond to our users, we made the decision to implement an auto-responder that helps answer a good portion of the types of email questions we receive (after going through a few thousand emails, there were many recurring questions).

The auto-responder was implemented on Feb 10th. Now people know that we are not only real, but that we love to hear from them — and they have quick answers to their most pressing questions. Our newsletter localization teams are also localizing the auto-responder so we can point non-EN users to a wiki that hosts the email content in their language!

I still go through our inbox, but with the help of our auto-responder, our users are instantly receiving the quick resources they need to answer the majority of their questions.

Next up is making sure that we have a separate reply-to email address for each of our various newsletters beyond Firefox & You, so each team can find and respond to their email subscribers in the manner that makes sense.

I’m on it.

(In case you’re interested, you can check out the auto-responder content by emailing: awesomeness [at] mozilla [dot] com)


6 responses to “What happens when you click “reply”?

  1. Sent a message, got no auto response at all. ☹

    I am looking on it seriously, as I’m trying to find out how to stop people from emailing us on the mozilla.org.il domain instead of using their browsers to visit our site and asking their questions publicly.

    • Hmm…I just tested the autoresponder by sending an email to awesomness @ mozilla dot com and it worked… Did you check your spam filter? (it shouldn’t go to spam since you emailed it first, but sometimes weird things happen in email)

      In case you don’t see it here’s the content:


      Thanks for your email. We love hearing from you! Unfortunately, we can’t always get back to everyone. So here are some answers to questions we get a lot. Hopefully they’ll help.

      Does it cost money to subscribe to a newsletter?
      Nope. All our newsletters are free, just like Firefox!

      Is this newsletter offered in my language?
      Firefox & You is available in lots of different languages. To see if it’s offered in yours — and to subscribe — please visit http://www.mozilla.org/newsletter.

      How do I update my email address?
      That’s easy! You can click on “Manage your preferences” in any edition of Firefox & You or you can subscribe your new email address here: http://www.mozilla.org/newsletter

      What if I want to unsubscribe?
      Well, we’ll be sad to see you go, but all you have to do is click the “Unsubscribe” link in the newsletter or visit http://mzl.la/zcqp8Y — and then, of course, come back soon!

      Why did I receive this email?
      This email is sent to individuals who visit http://www.mozilla.org/newsletter and sign up for the Firefox & You newsletter. If you did not sign up, please unsubscribe by clicking the “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of this email or by going to http://mzl.la/zcqp8Y. And please accept our apologies.

      What if I’m having problems with Firefox?
      Oh no, we’re sorry to hear that! Please visit http://support.mozilla.org/home to find articles that may solve your problem or ask our support team a question.

      How do I leave feedback about Firefox?
      Let us know what you think — good or bad — by visiting http://input.mozilla.com/feedback

      How can I volunteer with Mozilla?
      Check out all the awesome ways you can get involved here: https://www.mozilla.org/contribute/

      What if I just wrote to say Firefox is awesome?
      Aw, shucks, you’re making us blush. We love you too! Thanks for writing!

      Thanks again for your email, for using Firefox and for helping us build a brighter future for the Web!

      Take care,
      The Mozilla Team

    • It could be something fun to test out to see if it helps point people in the right direction (to post publicly instead of relying on email). Keep me posted if you decide to set up one! I would love to hear if/how it works for you.

  2. Hi,

    Off topic a bit.
    Who determines which add-ons are featured in the newsletters and writes the descriptions for them (“Featured Desktop Add-ons”)?

    Reason why I’m asking is that in the latest Firefox & You, the description for Fab Tabs is incorrect. It was also in another newsletter, but I don’t recall which one right now.
    Fab Tabs
    “Put an end to window chaos! Open various windows as sidebar panels and quickly switch between them. ”
    Fab Tabs actually colors each tab according to a primary or outstanding color from the site that’s loaded in the tab.
    I’m guessing the description for Fab Tabs belongs to another add-on.

    Perhaps the Featured add-ons advisory board or someone from the AMO team could recommend the add-ons for the newsletters?
    I’m currently on the advisory board. We suggest and review add-ons to be added to AMO as Featured add-ons once a month, and the AMO team makes the final call for them.

    • Hey Ken!

      Thanks for your questions. The Add-ons Board determines the 3 that are featured. We get these from Dan Horner each month.

      As for the FabTabs wrong description – this was a major utt-oh on my part. (I’m more than slightly embarrassed.) This was left over from last month’s newsletter featuring All-in-One Sidebar: https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/all-in-one-sidebar/

      It should have said:
      Takes a screenshot of a Web page and applies the most commonly used color to that page’s tab.

      If you would like to help us make sure we’ve got the best add-ons for the 3 featured and if there are add-ons that you would recommend that we feature in a newsletter story – let me know! Carmen (ccollins @ mozilla dot com) and Dan (dhorner @ mozilla dot com) help guide these selections.

      Thanks again for your questions, for letting me know of this mistake, and for offering to help make sure we feature the best add-ons each month.

  3. Pingback: 4 million emails a month!? | jessilyndavis

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