Response Detection Troubleshooting and FAQ

Response Detection is a great way prevent unwanted followups. To set it up, go to your Inbox connections page and link your email email address. If you are having trouble, this page has a number of tips and answers to commonly asked questions.

Do I link email aliases?
You do not need to link alias email addresses, only the base email address. In short: As long as a response ends up one of your connected mailboxes, it will be detected.

Why Is there are limit on the number of Gmail accounts?
Our application has not yet been verified by Google which imposes a limit to the number of overall addresses we can connect (they are extremely busy due to numerous privacy changes they are currently making). Please contact us to be placed in the queue for additional Gmail connections. You can, however, still connect to Gmail via IMAP.

Are my earlier response detection followups still active?
All of your followups are still active. In some cases we can migrate the “response listeners” from the old system so you will not receive unnecessary followups. If this presents a considerable inconvenience, please contact us to find out if your response listeners can be migrated.

Not Working At All

Are you inbox(es) connected?
Response detection requires a connection to your inbox inbox so FollowUpThen can monitor for responses. You can set this up  on the inbox connections page.

Trouble connecting via IMAP?
First verify your credentials are correct by signing in to your email account on a separate device (computer, phone, tablet). You may have to specifically enable IMAP for your provider, or use an application-specific password. If you could successfully sign in on another device, or you’re using another connection method (Google, Microsoft, etc) please contact us.

Are you on the right plan?
Response detection is available only on certain plans. To check your plan level, make sure you are logged in, then navigate to our features page. Your current account level will be highlighted. (Note: If you already upgraded on email you can link another email address, enabling premium features on both!)

Are you including -r in the date format?
(For example, indicates the followup will be canceled if a response has been received. If you would like response detection to be active on every followup, you can make use of our default options feature.

Is your email coming from the right address?
Check the “from” address in your test email. Does this address correspond with one of the connected inboxes? If you don’t see it listed you can link that email address to your paid account.


Intermittently Working

Did you schedule more than one followup for the same / similar thread?
Response detection may have cancelled one followup, but left the other one active. To check, go to My Followups  filter by “completed” followups and search a few words in the subject. If there are multiple followups with the same subject, you’ve found the culprit. If this happens frequently, you may want to consider adding the “-c” option (ex: to auto-cancel other followups in the same thread.

Is One Inbox Connected But Not Another?
Note the “from” address on your various followups. Is response detection working when you send from one address but not another? You may need to head over to your inbox connections page to connect an additional inbox, or link your accounts.

There Are Edge Cases
There are thousands of variations of email content, addresses and providers and not all systems work the same way. It is possible that our response detection may miss a reply in some circumstances.

Note: This is especially important when using the ‘cc’ field (where your sender gets the followup, too).

Here are some things to look out for if response detection missed a reply.

Emails That Hide The Fact They Are Replies
For example, you send an email that goes into a help desk system (ex: The response may or may not reference itself as a response to the earlier message. The response may even come from a separate email or the subject may have even changed.

Another example is when your recipient has  set up elaborate email forwarding between their accounts. Ie, you send an email to someone who has their mail forwarded to another email account (which they then reply from) and the fact that it is a “response” may have been stripped in the forwarding process.

Close Calls
Sometimes a response is received just before the followup should be sent – too close for our system to cancel the followup before it became due.

Your Email Provider Might Be Throttling Responses
Sometimes, your email service provider will throttle the number of connections. It may also require re-authorizing an external system. If you suspect a connection problem with your email service provider, head over to your inbox connections page and look for the status indicator by your email address. Reauthorize your account as needed. You can also  contact support.

Side-Note For Email Nerds
In case you are technically inclined and are wondering how this works, here are more details:  We look for two headers – ‘in-reply-to’ and ‘references’, each of which contain message-ids. If a message-id in one of these headers references the message-id of a followup you scheduled earlier, it tells us to cancel the followup. Here is a bit more detail with an example:

  1. You send an email to someone and, bcc
  2. FollowUpThen receives the email, notes the message-id, sets up a “listener” to cancel the followup if we receive a reply.
  3. We monitor your inbox for a reply by looking at the referenced message-ids in new emails (no email content or body). If  that “in-reply-to” field matches the message-id of the followup you scheduled in #1, voila!
  4. We find the followup and cancel it.

Now you can see where responses might slip through the cracks. For example, a ticket system may not put the original message-id back in the “in-reply-to” field in the reply. Or, someone may copy and paste a reply in a new email with the same subject. If that message-id is lost, we cannot detect it as a response.

Contact Us If Needed
If you’re stumped, contact us! We want to make sure you get the most out your FollowUpThen upgrade.

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