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ResponseSource Expiring Email Addresses FAQ

We’ve received feedback on the switch to expiring email addresses on the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service – many people have asked similar questions, so we’ve put together a list of FAQs:

Why change something that works?

This is a major change and we have therefore put a great deal of thought into it.  Our aim is to deliver our paying clients a reliable stream of good media opportunities.  At the heart of this is that ResponseSource has to work for journalists for it to work at all.  If journalists are deterred from using the service – because they receive replies after stated deadlines, because they can’t close off a request, because they get added to mailing lists without consent – then everyone loses out. Regardless of whether these things actually happen, the perception that they might is enough to put some journalists off. We hope that we can now encourage a wider range of journalists to use ResponseSource, particularly from larger circulation media – resulting in more ‘quality’ opportunities for our PR customers.

How are my replies handled now?

‘In-deadline’ replies to ResponseSource requests are auto-forwarded directly to the journalist’s original email address without intervention, modification or delay.  If the journalist replies to your reply, they will do so from their own email address which you can retain.

How will my reply appear to the journalist?

Your replies to journalists will appear exactly the same as before – as a direct and personal email from you addressed to the journalist’s real email address.

What about the journalists who are happy to broadcast their email addresses?

They still can. If a journalist wants to share their email address, say they are requesting to be added to mailing lists, they can do this by inserting their email address in the body of the enquiry.

Is there a maximum size for email file attachments?

Journalist feedback is that large attachments in emails are annoying, and can be costly – especially on mobile data plans. Originally we set a limit at 10MB. In the space of a few days many clients have attempted to send emails larger than 10MB. We have therefore increased the email file size limit to 25MB. This is in line with file size limits imposed by Gmail. Note that the journalist’s own mail server may in any case reject attachments at smaller thresholds. We recommend attachments are avoided and documents or images are shared via links to file sharing services like Dropbox.

Can I still use read receipts?

Yes, you may – but we advise against this. If you attach a read receipt this is passed onto the journalists and if the recipient chooses to acknowledge your read receipt request, you will receive it in your inbox in the usual way.  Use read receipts with caution. Many journalists consider them intrusive.

Scrambled email addresses make it harder to sort emails in my sent mail box

Sorry about this. We’re investigating ways that we can set a proper name for the recipient on the mailto: tag and think we may have a resolution which we will implement once tested.

I often reply post-deadline, and with success. How can I do this now?

You can’t reply to a ResponseSource request post deadline using the expiring email address system. If you have information for a journalist that falls outside the remit of a specific request, you’ll need to use other resources to contact them. ResponseSource was not designed as a data service.

The deadlines are too short to reply ‘in-deadline’

Deadlines are specified by the journalist. If a journalist wants an open ended enquiry they can specify a long expiry date (up to 12 months ahead). As a result of feedback received so far we have extended the default deadline from 24hrs to seven days.  Journalists can still select shorter deadlines if they wish but we hope the increased seven-day default will reduce the risk of short deadlines being set unintentionally.

Is your plan here to sell more of ResponseSource’s data services by restricting Journalist Enquiry Service?
No.  The changes are part of a long term plan to improve the content on the Journalist Enquiry Service.  Our data services stand on their own merits.

I use the Journalist Enquiry Service for maintaining my contacts book. I can’t do this anymore.

The Journalist Enquiry Service was designed to provide a stream of editorial opportunities rather than contact information, and in any case it cannot provide a comprehensive source of media contact information anyway. There are more journalists that don’t use ResponseSource than do. We hope that with this change we can encourage more journalists to use the service.

I can no longer forward requests without disclosing the source of the enquiry. Why?

We included in the expiring email address to deter systematic forwarding (and possible reselling) of requests. This has happened a few times over the last few years and is highly damaging for the entire ResponseSource community. Systematic forwarding seriously lessens the trust that journalists have in the ResponseSource system. It’s also unfair on those that pay if others are freeloading.

Colleagues forward replies to me and I respond, but I’m not registered with you. Can I still reply to journalists?

You will still be able to respond to queries that have been passed to you from a colleague. For obvious reasons we don’t allow systematic forwarding and/or republishing but recognise that occasional “saw this and thought of you” passing on of relevant requests can help journalists with their stories.

Will you review the system and change it back if it doesn’t work

Yes, we will review the impact of these changes.  We’ve already made modifications based on feedback received so far. File size limits have been increased and the default deadline date changed.

Why was there no consultation or warning?

I’m sorry we didn’t do more on this front. On reflection we appreciate we should have given more advance notice.

What’s the journalist feedback been?

No client has actually asked this, but here’s a sample anyway. The journalists have been succinct and 100 per cent positive.

  •  Great idea! Thanks. I’ll give it a try now.
  • Thanks for this – it sounds like a really good idea.
  • What a great idea! I look forward to trying this out.
  • This sounds really useful, thank you.
  • That sounds like a great idea.
  • Smart idea. Thanks for implementing this.
  • Like the changes!
  • Fantastic idea. Love the service!
  • Fab.

Any other questions?

We’re committed to being totally transparent about this change and our reasons for doing it.  We believe this change will work in the long term interest of the majority of ResponseSource users, both for journalists and PR professionals. If there are other questions you’d like to ask please let us know directly or comment on this post.

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