Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Virgin Media Mail Update - 300K in

Today we've migrated the 300,000th @blueyonder.co.uk mailbox to the Google platform, meaning we are a good way through the second of our e-mail migrations – Virgin Media National customers with @virgin.net e-mail addresses already having been migrated, and customers with @ntlworld.com addresses being next. Oh, and of course new customers have been on the Google platform with @virginmedia.com e-mail addresses for some time.

So how is it going? Actually pretty well. We started off small, quickly moved to migrating 50,000 mailboxes a day onto Google and are now talking about going even faster – which is actually over and above what our plan was!

With something this massive there's always a risk of problems, but thankfully we've had hardly any issues and the majority of calls that came in were customers looking for general assistance on how the new webmail works and some account enquiries as to how to access the new platform.

So in short we're generally very happy in how things are going. Our technical support teams are getting some really good feedback, and we hope customers are enjoying the 7GB mailboxes, the new chat and search features and the massively improved webmail interface that's integrated into our site's single sign on.

I spent 3 days with our technical support team last week to help out with any questions and queries they were having as well as to see some of the direct feedback coming in from our customers – and here's the team helping them out in Liverpool if anyone's interested:
We're expecting the first pass of all blueyonder.co.uk mailbox migrations to finish within the next 2-3 weeks, and to have cleaned up any outstanding mailboxes in February.

We've also found a few bugs and issues since we started the migrations, and it's worth an update on what we've found out and what we're doing about them.

Some of them have already been fixed – such as one causing intermittent errors when sending mails – and what we're working on right now is:
  • Occasional errors when using IMAP to access your mailbox. Service is usually restored on a retry, but we're working on a fix.
  • Webspace renaming errors – a coding fix is being developed for this
  • Inability to delete aliases – a fix is also being developed for this
  • Attachment rules on help pages being inconsistent with what appears to be the behaviour in live – we're checking these out with Google
The most common issue reported is some customers reporting old e-mails being redelivered when they are migrated to Google. From looking into this, the cause appears to be IMAP folders that have become unsubscribed (but are still present in a user's mailbox, hence the mail is migrated to Google) which is either down to the software used or changes the user has made to their setup within that software.

At present the team are working on identifying the pattern of this further, but it's quite intricate and is down to third party software used by some customers rather than the migration process itself – we're seeing what we can do to limit the impact of this though, without impacting 'genuine' mail naturally!

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to feedback so far.

30 comments:

  1. Hi Yddap - long time no speak.

    Someone else posted a comment, but I have had to reject it as they included account details in the post - not a good idea that, as it can result in spam!

    The comment, with some answers inline ...

    i have notcied a problem, when i access webmail some e-mail i dont read and leave unread as i want it on my machine at home i leave unread, however this e-mail is not been delivered when i access my e-mail at home via outlook why is this, today i access my e-mail and the e-mail i didnt read via webmail was still there and never downloaded to my outlook on my home pc last night.

    Alex >> You need to enable 'recent' mode as per the help screens : http://www.virginmedia.com/help/virginmediamail/4_pop.php#47948

    Also e-mails that i forward to other people via webmail for some reason i get a copy of this which i dont really want as i have already read the e-mail and forwarded it to someone else that might want to be intrested.

    Alex >> This is required as part of the way that messages are threaded and grouped into conversations, the way the Google platform works.

    Also the e-mail i sent is showing up at my surname first and then forename, i would like that to be change to forename first and then surname, please can you look into these issue for me my account name is

    Alex >> This can be changed from your account settings in Webmail if this is isn't how you want things displayed.

    Thanks




    Alex

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  2. When you are re-jigging the system could you please email your customers to warn us of potential problems. We are receiving old emails, copies of sent emails, and some emails being picked up by my husband are not coming into my inbox and vice versa (we have outlook set up to leave them on the server for 2 days so we normally both get all).
    Di

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  3. Hi Di

    The copies of the sent mails is covered in the help content, these are needed to be kept in order for the threaded conversation view within Webmail - might be worth having a look at Webmail and seeing what you think of it now it's been upgraded.

    On the repeat messages, this is something the team are looking at - we're seeing what we can do the minimise the impact of it.

    Thanks



    Alex

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  4. I have a similar problem to Di - e-mails being picked up by my wife on home pc are not coming into my inbox on my home office pc and vice versa (we have Windows XP and outlook 2003 set up to leave them on the Blueyonder server).

    I have been told by the help line that I have to move away from Outlook 2003 as it is not supported - and use Outlook Express. I cannot believe this is correct - but if it is then it is bad news for my business!

    Neal P

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  5. Hi Neal

    By not supported, Technical Support will have meant that this is software they're not trained on and hence they can't really help with technical support calls.

    Outlook is a business product and this is a residential service, with the guys trained on Webmail, Outlook Express and Windows Mail.

    This doesn't mean it won't work, as it should fine. Have you enabled the 'recent' mode for those accessing their mailbox via multiple machines / devices : http://www.virginmedia.com/help/virginmediamail/4_pop.php#47948 ??

    Might be worth trying the help & support forums for any further tips with Outlook 2003 if needed ... http://community.virginmedia.com/

    Cheers




    Alex

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  6. Hi Alex

    Does the 'recent' mode apply blueyonder.co.uk accounts as the link only refers to virginmedia.com accounts?

    Neal P

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  7. Yes, it applies to anyone migrated to Google. We're in the process of updating the help content!

    More info on the help & support forums if needed.



    Alex

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  8. Alex

    Thanks - problem appears solved using the 'recent' fix. Top man!!

    Neal P

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  9. Glad to hear it - the new help content should assist too :)



    Alex

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  10. You really need to get the help content updated to include blueyonder given you are moving people across. I use Outlook 2003 to pick up mine and my wifes email in my user (leaving my wifes email on the server and deleting mine as it downloads), my wifes user then picks up and deletes her email when she logs in to that. I now know that I can repeat this functionality with the new system using "recent:" and letting the Outlook settings determine the deletion. But first and second line support that I spoke to knew nothing of this and the help information makes no reference to blueyonder.co.uk customers and the fact that it is the username field rather than the email field that needs recent: in front of it. I also don't think you should just dismiss Outlook as a non supported business product. I suspect many of your home customers use it and to start saying they need to load Ootlook Express to get support is not helpful, especially when Virgin has brought all these problems down on them in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi

    There's a whole new release of the help content due to go live in the next couple of days - and that also covers the recent: changes needed for users that are accessing their mailbox from multiple devices.

    As for Outlook, Microsoft have developed it as a business application for the corporate market - with OE, Windows Mail etc being the consumer versions of them. Accordingly our technical support team aren't trained in it, as we offer a consumer service.

    It's quite telling - to me anyway! - that Windows 7 doesn't have an e-mail client in it at all, with webmail being the better way forward, offering the most functionality, best user interface and the maximum features - in our case the search tools, the chat box and future functionality to come.



    Alex

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  12. Hi

    I am still having problems with google mail new account, when i look at my e-mail via webmail and forward e-mails for some reason i get sent a copy which i dont really need, also e-mails that i have not read on webmail are still not going through to my home pc on outlook and or they have been duplicated.

    I never had this problem on the old platform and i would really like it to be resolved as its annoying.

    why are e-mails that i have seen on webmail but not read not coming through to outlook on my pc at home they shouldnt be aproblem as the e-mail if i have read it i make sure i change it to unread e-mail so i do get it on my home pc that should then come off webmail.

    i have noticed more spam as well since the change over as well. i dont want to move isps but if this keeps happening i'll have too

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Alex,

    I need to create a new mail account to replace one I accidently deleted from Blueyonder. Is there any way I can get a blueyonder.co.uk account?
    I have other alias's that I could rename to this account, only problem is that I can't find out how to rename an alias? or create a new alias.
    Any help or ideas are appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have tried putting 'recent:' in front of my name, but I'm not sure whether I have put it in the 'username field'. Could someone talk me through exactly how this box is described - I use outlook express....

    Alex

    ReplyDelete
  15. Alex

    You really should hold the migration until you have a fix for those old e mails popping up...... To have an un seen problem is one thing to carry on regardless with the possible implications of old mails popping into in boxes is something quite different.

    Also it appears that only the prinary legacy e mail address is bieng reserved until migration is complete. As I understood it you are supposed to have locked down all existing addresses pending a foot race when migration is complete for all legacy customerss.

    Anyway hope life is treating you well and you are managing to keep out of the crosshairs of the kooks and loons.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Tazman,

    You need to enable recent: mode to ensure you can access your mailbox from multiple devices.

    Help content link:
    * http://www.virginmedia.com/help/virginmediamail/4_pop.php#47948

    Community Forums:
    * http://community.virginmedia.com/t5/Email/Accessing-virgin-net-addresses-from-multiple-machines-non/td-p/6724

    [Note: This now also applies to @blueyonder.co.uk customers once migrated, I have asked the community manager to update the content]

    A copy of mails sent are kept for threading purposes as that's how conversations are grouped inside the Google interface. You might want to try out webmail and have a play with it!

    Hope this helps.



    Alex

    ReplyDelete
  17. Aha, some other comments to respond to ...

    Anonymous:

    Hi, thanks for the comment.

    Any new e-mail addresses once you've been moved to the Google platform are created in the @virginmedia.com domain - customers can no longer create @blueyonder.co.uk e-mail addresses.

    New addresses can be created in the 'Manage Household Accounts' section of My Virgin Media.

    Alex:

    Thanks for your comment also.

    There's a few threads about this in the help & support forums that should help give you the answers you need:

    http://community.virginmedia.com/t5/Email/bd-p/email

    Chunkymunky :

    Hope you're well!

    The mail redelivery one is a complex issue and one difficult to 'fix'.

    In theory it's not actually broken as the e-mail client unsubscribed from the mailbox - it never sent a delete command so we need to redeliver the mail to be sure not to delete genuine mail.

    We're looking into what we can do further, and in the meantime are going to beef up help content, technical support briefings etc.

    As for the e-mail reservation, all addresses should be reserved. If you know of one that's not please ask the newsgroup team to investigate it (i.e. provide them some details).

    Thanks!




    Alex

    ReplyDelete
  18. Glad to hear you are updating the help content for blueyonder customers. Next time it might be better to do it before rather than after the changes. Many people won't have the time of the ability to start trawling the forums and even if they do there's a fair amount of misleading stuff on there. Leads to lots of wasted time ringing Virgin helplines speaking to people who don't know that much about the finer points anway.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks

    I have raised the issue but as an ex NTL customer it was not me that was able to register an existing secondary e mail address on the new platform.

    I know its not your remit but perhaps you could ask for Dan and his team to consider an alternative to the post completion migration footrace to register a legacy name on the google platform.

    Given the circumstances, I think the wiser and fairer decision would have simply been to block allocation of all legacy addresses where they are duplicated accross the legacy companies more-or-less in perpetuity. Then there's no issue - no ambiguity, no-one
    feels hard done by (other than having to cope with the general mess-up).


    I have stolen the idea from Mike Scott but its got to be fairer than what is currently proposed.

    simples

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Anonymous,

    The forums seem generally full of accurate information to me, and we're in the process of tuning the help content - hoping the new version of this will be live today. We'll also do a post migration review and make any other changes needed, including to the customer comms ahead of the xNTL migrations.

    Chunkymunky,

    The team will need to look into the case further, but the first thing we did on the project was to reserve all existing addresses in the legacy domains so that nobody else could get them in the new domain - opening them up on a 'first come, first served' to the owners of the legacy addresses when we offer @virginmedia.com addresses. The address should be reserved, but the team will look into it if not.

    Have a customer experience workshop next week to dig into the allocation process at the next level, which should be an interesting session and am looking forward to it.

    Thanks




    Alex

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  21. how do you access the webspace logfiles? What it says in the help pages is incorrect. Tech support line doesnt speak english, and are rude, so i'm asking here instead.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Now the original (and better) specific Help section has disappeared and just throws you to the main help pages which have no reference to BY, NTL or anything else - you really need to start joining up your processes more.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Morning!

    On the webspace logfile issue, if you have webspace in the virginmedia.com or blueyonder.co.uk domains this is available in My Virgin Media - suggest the webspace help forum for more info ... http://community.virginmedia.com/t5/Web-space/bd-p/Web_Space.

    On the help content, it's now in the knowledge base and the content is all there - and the most used content will start rising to the top and becoming more prominent. There's also more search features coming to help.

    Cheers




    Alex

    ReplyDelete
  24. Help will start rising to the top!!! How about actually putting at the top instead of having to dig for it and not having any search facility! Oh, and still there are no references in the Help on what to do if you don't have an email address ending in @virginmedia.com - all the help sections say that you should see the 'Related Articles' alongside, none of which actually relate in the slightest. By the way, I may be wrong but I suspect there are sizeably more Blueyonder mailboxes that Virgin Media, so why not actually tailor the support to the majority i.e. tell the BY people how to change their settings, and leave the @VM customers to fend for themselves :-) As I say, could be wrong, but your posts seem to imply that the bulk of your work is migrating BY mailboxes.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Steve

    Thanks for the feedback - working through changes I want for the help content now, now that the new release is live we can tune and tweak it as we need to.

    Had plenty of suggestions through already, and briefing these in now.

    Cheers




    Alex

    ReplyDelete
  26. 1. I've been able to reserve my BY email name with a virginmedia.com domain through 'Manage household accounts' in 'My Virgin Media'. Should this have been possible at this stage?

    2. I have been unable to reserve BY usernames which have less than six characters. This represents a major obstacle.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi Anonymous - that's a popular name around these parts :-)

    1. Can you send some details onto the Twitter team [twitter @ virginmedia.co.uk] so this can be looked into as that shouldn't be the case? I can pick it up from there.

    2. We've now adopted the Google rules for usernames so no new very short ones can be created.

    Thanks



    Alex

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  28. Probably not the correct place for this question but I'll ask anyway.

    I live in North Sheffield, and would really like to move to cable for all my media requirements.

    However, there is no cable network available here.

    Do you know when cable will be available in this area?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi - See our help & support forums for details on this one:

    * http://community.virginmedia.com/t5/Fibre-optic-broadband-cable/Want-Cable-been-told-it-s-not-available-We-might-be-able-to-help/td-p/20585

    Thanks




    Alex

    ReplyDelete