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I have a situation where emails are sent out of Exchange 2003 using a email account by a Java API connecting to the SMTP server on the Exchange box.

  • Is there a way I can have Exchange automatically tag these emails to have Read / Delivery Receipts based on a combination of Text in the body, subject, destination address?
  • Could these rules be created as server side rules via an Outlook client and still be applied when a message is sent via the Java API?
  • What specifies if a rule is client side or server side?
  • Are Delivery Receipts created by the sending server or the receiving server? If the latter, how often are these enabled?
  • Right now I am researching doing it on the Exchange server, but if was going to be done from the development side, how are requests for read or delivery receipts created, something in the header?
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Delivery receipts are often useless, since they're generated by the sending server upon handing-off the message to the first SMTP hop. Delivery receipts in no way reflect the actual status of the delivery of the message into the recipient's mailbox.

I consider read receipts to be an evil instrument of office politics, as well as a stupid drain on server resources.

Your Java API should be adding the Disposition-Notification-To: header if you want receipts. Then you're not stuck with having to write an ugly (and deprecated) SMTP transport sink (the only way I can think to do what you're trying to do w/o invoking an even older and more deprecated API-- the Exchange Event Service) to stamp headers for you. (See for more detail...)

An aside: I don't do this anymore, since I'm directly accountable to my Customers, but I became so fed up with office politics at my "old job" that I I'd delete any "internal" emails with receipt requests requested w/o reading them first. Fortunately, we used Outlook / Exchange so I could do that silently. Really hideously brain-damaged email systems (like Novell Groupwise) inform the sender of the unread deletion, though I suppose that would've accomplished my intended effect as well.

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Using Evan's information I was able to build the message with telnet using the following, will accept his assuming nobody shows me how to do it with the server (Even though I don't think that would be the best way).

mail from:
From: <>
To: <>
Disposition-Notification-To: <>
Return-Receipt-To: <>
Subject: Test2
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