I work in an office with a Microsoft Exchange server for email. I would like to have the following workflow:

  1. John, Mary, or Sam send a message from Outlook on their respective computers.
  2. The customer receives the message from the address "contact@ourdomain.com"
  3. The customer replies to the message from contact@ourdomain.com and it is received by John, Mary, or Sam depending on who sent the message (if it was sent by John, the reply is sent to John, and so on).

All users should also be able to send emails from their respective addresses as well (e.g. john@ourdomain.com, etc.)

Is this possible? If so, how can it be accomplished?


Allowing multiple users to use a shared/generic From address is fairly straightforward -- in a traditional setup, the server doesn't care what your From, only that you are authenticated or on a trusted network and thus allowed to relay. Exchange is a bit pickier; you need permission to use a particular address as a From: address, either from it being one of the email addresses associated with your AD account, or by another mailbox to from which you have been delegated Send On Behaf Of permissions.

Similarly, allowing incoming messages to a generic account to go to multiple users is easy with a distribution list. You could combine these approaches, with a shared mailbox which forwards all its messages to a list.

However, if you want just the user who sent the message from the generic account to get the reply, the easiest way I can think of to do that would be a variation on a tool like RT or Bugzilla -- incoming messages are checked for headers (Message ID, subject tag, etc) and associated with a ticket/bug, which would have an 'owner' to which related messages are forwarded.


The customer replies to the message from contact@ourdomain.com and it is received by John, Mary, or Sam depending on who sent the message

It may be possible to log Message-IDs of all outgoing messages, and then use the References headers of replies to choose the correct recipient, but it would be a little unreliable. I doubt you can do this with Postfix.

What's the problem with users sending messages from their own address, anyway?

  • That's a valid question. The reason I want messages from multiple users to be "from" a single address is this; I want to recommend to our customers that they add the sender of messages from us to their address books in order to avoid them being labeled as junk mail. My theory is that this will be easiest if they simply add "contact@ourdomain.com" to their address books and not each individual user from whom they might potentially receive a message. – Keyslinger Jun 11 '10 at 20:39
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    Then instead of having them add contact@ourdomain.com have them add the domain ourdomain.com to they're safesender list, most e-mail clients have this functionality. Then john@ourdomain.com, mary@ourdomain.com, even marketing@ourdomain.com can send messages and not be blocked. – BillN Jun 11 '10 at 22:17
  • @Keyslinger: IMO, if your mail gets labeled as spam, you should fix it some other way. (SPF? DKIM? Stop using HTML in messages? etc.) – user1686 Jun 12 '10 at 12:07
  • It's more a matter of due diligence than actual prevention. – Keyslinger Jun 24 '10 at 17:02

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