Apple distributor Renaissance has apologised for inadvertently starting an email storm which clogged many inboxes by Sunday morning.
It started with an invitation from Renaissance to an Apple roadshow, sent to a lengthy list of established Renaissance contacts. The fact that the invitation was couched in a 644KB PDF attachment, blown out to nearly 1MB by the time it was encoded for sending, was enough to get some people’s backs up.
But then the complaints started arriving, and not only at Renaissance. Some of those objecting to the large attachment in their haste pressed the wrong button and sent their protest back to the same list to which Renaissance had sent the original bloated message.
This, of course, sparked more complaints about the complainers’ messages, some of which went, intentionally or accidentally, back to the entire list again.
Mailboxes over the weekend were clogged with messages with headers like: “your mailing list”, “stop sending me irrelevant emails” and, bluntly, “what the…?”.
Renaissance’s Apple division head, Paul Johnston, says the large attachment on the original message was a mistake; it was supposed to have been compressed to “around 100KB”. He tenders Renaissance’s apologies, and says the company also accepts some blame for the commencement of the storm.
“Usually when we send out a message like that, we disable the ‘reply all’ button,” he says. Through another oversight, that was not done on this occasion.
To some on the list who are or were connected with the Internet Society of NZ (now InternetNZ), the incident brought memories of the IsocNZ miscreant who went on holiday a year or two ago and left one of those automatic mail-bouncing routines in his box: everyone who sent him an email got it back with a polite “I am away” notice. Unfortunately, the replies to messages he received as part of an IsocNZ mailing list were sent back to the entire list. That list included the original correspondent, who thus got his own message back, triggering another vacation bounce.
It took three or four days for someone to track him down on a beach to get him to shut the thing off.