Hi, Thanks for contacting me. I am on a vacation in Kaanapali, Hawaii with my full family and would remain out of office until August 20. For all urgent work, you may get in touch with Molly during my absence [molly@spam-me.com, 212-291-1211]. Thanks. Signed.

All email programs including web-based email provide email autoresponders. They seem to be the most effective way to communicate the reason why you are not responding to email. But before you set an auto vacation response like the one above, think twiceas you may be compromising your privacy and security.

This story has few tips on writing better auto response emails and compares the autoresponder features of GMail with Yahoo Mail.

Do you really need an Autoresponder ?

Jeremy Wagstaff notes that Autoresponders are a bad idea since email spammers (or even a thief) who send you email will immediately get to know that you're on vacation (leaving a presumably empty house) and the dates when you won't be around.

Sometimes people, in their vacation responder messages, even share the telephone number and email of their colleague or private secretary opening the floodgates of spam for him/here.

Therefore, Jeremy's final advice is against using autoresponds unless you don't mind telling all and sundry about your movements.

Tips for writing Vacation Response email

If you still can't imagine taking a holidy break without turning that email autoresonder on, be very careful while writing the vacation responder message.

As much as possible, refrain from sharing the contact details of your colleagues. Your message need not specify the location where you are taking your vacation. Don't put your cell number in the message. And if your email client allows it, auto-reply only messages that are from people you already know (like who are in your Personal Address Book)

GMail vs Yahoo Mail Vacation Responders

The GMail vacation responder has nice features like it would never reply to spam messages or mailing lists. Also, you can configure GMail to send autoresponder email to only those addresses which are mentioned in your contacts list.

Yahoo Mail vacation response is even better. It lets you write a special note that will only be sent to specific domains. For example, if you have family members that have email addresses with IBM, you can send a more personal Vacation Response to any incoming messages from "any-name@ibm.net."