Problem solved . . . NOT! . . . Then discovering the real answer

Skype communications at 2 to 3 a.m. EDT helped to solve the problem, at last

Yesterday, just before dinner, and eager to say I had solved the email server problem referenced in the previous post, I celebrated. It seemed we had fixed the issue. The “we” was me and a Russian guy, which I met online through He sorted out the correct format for sending emails and together we thought we had solved the deliverability problem. I asked him how much he would like to be paid. He said: $15.00. ?I offered him $20.00 (US) and by the time UpWork collected its fees and US/Canadian currency exchange costs were factored, the total cost amounted to $27.50.

Just before bedtime (about 11:00 pm), I prepared an “explanation” email to the list that I had inadvertently spammed, and notified employees by email. I hit send. But a few minutes later, after about 600 emails had gone out, I had a sinking feeling that not all was right. In fact, the emails were not linking back properly. I had engaged another spam attack against the same list that endured the unwelcome experience earlier in the week.

Desperate times called for desperate measures. I reached out to the Russian and enlisted his help again. And, somewhat desperately, I tried the Skype messenger with the Indian service that had claimed with its website to be Mailwizz experts.

Then proceeded what may have been two?of the most unusual simultaneous online conversations in my life. On one line (UpWorks messenger function) the Russian checked various things, including a verification tool called DKIM. On the other, Skype line, the Indian consultant explored the nuances of Mailwizz.

Finally, both nailed two totally separate problems.

The Russian figured out our server wasn’t processing the authentication DKIM tool for our general business email — resolving a puzzling mystery about why some of our staff emails were disappearing into the ether. (Only a few domains/email services require DKIM but some of them are major, including Yahoo and in Canada, Rogers, which uses a Yahoo backend.)

Meanwhile the Indian discovered I had inadvertently replaced one tiny “index” file with another, in the process totally corrupting the program.

How much will these fixes cost? I don’t exactly know yet, but I think we will be counting in the tens rather than hundreds or thousands of dollars. The Indian with the website that looked bigger than it was, returned to my good books and I expect I’ll give him more work. So did the Russian; even though he hadn’t solved the original problem; he figured out something else important.

Lessons relearned:

  • in the end, all the marketing messages in the world do not matter if the problem isn’t solved; and they matter very much if the marketing leads to solutions. Not marketing effectively may lead you to struggling to earn commodity-level prices; depressed even more for some professional services because of globalization.
  • Although not something I would like to turn into a habit, sometimes it is necessary to burn the midnight oil to run a business in 2016. If I had regular sleeping hours last night, I don’t think we would have corrected the serious problems.
  • You don’t need to be bleeding edge with technology; but it is important to adapt, update and learn. And realize when you are way over your head.

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