Let's get started!

preferred reply

Logo Footer

Office: 205 Durham Street (top floor)
Christchurch CBD 8011
PO Box 3871, Christchurch, NZ

Enquiries: 0800 30 8996
(03) 964 5305 - Reception
[email protected]

Web Support:
(03) 961 1106 - Support
[email protected]


Facebook X Instagram Vimeo
Activate Design Limited

Having Trouble Sending Emails to Xtra?

Yahoo Xtra Mail

Issues sending emails to recipients with Xtra email addresses is not unusual but it is terribly frustrating.  
There have been wide spread problems with Sparks Xtra/Yahoo email services dating back as far as 2008, with a resurgence in 2018.

Issues with Spark email Xtra hitting Kiwi businesses – 13th Sept 2018
Essentially Xtra have implemented ‘security measures’ in an attempt to reduce spam. But have been over-zealous in their approach so that legitimate mail is also blocked.
Rigorous testing by the the IT community has discovered that it is not just emails that may appear suspicious. Such as those from blacklisted accounts or untrusted servers, or those without a subject line, or those with attachments. No, it is actually almost ANYTHING, especially those containing financially related themes.
Even more unfortunate is that Xtra stubbornly believe that what they are doing is best practice. So although the problem lies with them - they are unlikely to fix it.
Technically the problem isn’t yours, but the reality of the problem is.

So what can you do if you have a whole bunch of customers using Xtra who are just not receiving your emails? Not a lot unfortunately.
Ideally your recipients ought to be the ones who contact Xtra to complain that they are not receiving legitimate emails and demand a resolution or change to a different provider. Unfortunately, most of them are not going to do this as they do not actually KNOW they are not getting emails.


Imagine you are sending a traditional letter to a friend. You put it into an approved Dimension Lengthwise Envelope with a government issued postage stamp. You deliver it to an official post shop. Your letter is delivered by the official post man. BUT your friend actually hires someone to collect their mail each day. He throws out any pizza flyers and put the important looking stuff on the kitchen bench. But all YOUR letters have been going in the rubbish with the junk. What’s more, he doesn’t tell your friend he threw anything out.
Your friend should probably fire this guy!


The problem really lies with Xtra (Spark) to ensure delivery. What makes things worse is that there doesn’t appear to be a department responsible to help with external senders. Most online reports show a frustrating lack of success from any Spark customer service team regarding this. Mostly they say that you need to get your recipient to ‘whitelist your email address.’

But this is a poor solution really. Firstly, contacting your customers individually to try and get them to whitelist your email would be a maddening exercise. Many will not even know what this means or how to do it. Secondly, there have been tests done, where the email address HAS been whitelisted in Xtra – and yet the emails STILL do not get through.
We always recommend that Xtra users move to a different provider.
“I have also learnt that Xtra fervently believe this is all designed to make the internet a safer place. On that I can agree. If you cant send email and you cant receive email and you spend your time on the telephone to Xtra and the rest of your time filling out meaningless forms then the internet is indeed a safer place. You are after all not using it - therefore it is a safer place. Well done Xtra - you have succeeded in that goal.” – GeekZone, 2008
Incidentally – our own email servers (ActiveHost) do not currently appear to experience trouble sending to Xtra accounts. Whist anything could happen with Xtra in the future, we currently don’t have any email customers reporting problems associated with this.


Posted in Security

Yahoo mail plagued by compromised security

Did Your Yahoo Email Get Hacked Again?

mailguy smltallYahoo Mail fixes another compromise in security this week.

Yahoo publicly admitted that there is an on-going issue of Yahoo email accounts being hacked, leading to stolen password, spam emails, and the spread of malware.

This dates back to a serious hack into the Yahoo email accounts that occurred when a hacker uploaded a video to YouTube to show just how easy it is to compromise a Yahoo email account. Yahoo was quick to respond, confirming the flaw had been investigated and fixed.

Later on, a company called ‘Offensive Security’ let Yahoo know that their email service was still vulnerable to attack with flawed security. Yahoo again confirmed that these flaws had been fixed.

It was then discovered that the spam in question, that has been sent from compromised Yahoo email accounts, had been circulating for about a month, stealing login details and bypassing Yahoo mail security.

Yahoo has again confirmed that these security and data breaches have been fixed, but should they be trusted?

Are you prepared to use an email service, that is plagued by attacks and flawed security?

By now, you're probably sorting through options in your head. Let me stop you right there.

At Activate Design, we have the solution.


email carriers

At Activate Design, we'll set your business up with a professional, secure, and New Zealand-hosted email.

What is a Professional Email Account?

As an example, if you own the domain name, “cityflowers.co.nz”, then your own email address could be something like; [email protected]. At Activate we create email accounts that are hosted on our secure New Zealand-based server, allowing you to choose from a variety of email software options to manage your emails. Amongst the most popular software for emails, today are Microsoft Outlook, MacMail & Thunderbird.

How Much Does a Domain-Name Email Cost?

At Activate Design if you already have a website hosted by us, then email accounts are complementary, and we can setup up to 15 accounts under one domain name. If you do not yet have a website with us, we can host your email account from just $5.00 +gst per month. Contact us for more information or to get started with a new email account today.

Do You Offer Technical Support?

We provide an online troubleshooting guide for email setups, and beyond that we advise those that rely on one technology for their business to have an IT Specialist for your company, or to utilise one of the many IT Specialist call-out technician services available today, to assist with any technical issues such as email setups and keeping software and security updated on your computers.

emailservices tall

Why Shift to a New Email Provider?

Another reason to shift to your own, a more professional domain email account is that Yahoo mail is not good for business because the spam filters are set so high that legitimate business enquiries are often unable to reach you.

What Do I Do With My Existing Yahoo Email Account?

With your Yahoo email, Hotmail, or other personal email accounts, you can set up forwarders to go to your new domain email account, until those older accounts are no longer needed and can be closed.

Where Do I Purchase a Domain Name?

If you do not yet have a domain name, contact our friendly team at Activate Design where we can register domain names on your behalf, or you are welcome to visit our dedicated hosting website www.activehost.co.nz where you can search for the availability of domain names of your choice, with a variety of suffix available such as .com / .co.nz / .net.nz and more.

Simply follow the link above, enter the domain you would like and click "find" to check if it is available. You can purchase your domain right then and there if you wish, or contact us to purchase it for you.

Do I Need a Website?

These days having an online presence is a must. The internet is now the first place most people will go to find a product or service, and increasingly this is being done on mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads. Take a look at our Portfolio Page for examples of websites we have done recently, and for ideas on what we could design and create for you.

Next Steps

 Contact us to arrange a meeting, where we can discuss the options available, introduce you to our own uniquely developed Content Management System (CMS); created so that you can manage your own content and add images etc, with our easy to use a client-friendly system. We can then provide a quote and proceed at your convenience.

Our team at Activate Design can: launch a new or update your existing online presence with CMS websites, E-commerce websites, and other professional services like email accounts and our easy-to-use ActiveMail newsletter system, as well as iPhone and iPad applications. Our team consists of experienced graphic designers, developers, copywriters, programmers, SEO specialists, and a great sales team to advise you on expanding your company logo and brand into an online presence you will be proud to stand behind.


Posted in Security

Who to trust for websites and hosting

There are many companies offering website hosting but how do you know if they are up with the play? There are SO many risks in hosting that most clients simply are not aware of until they are stung.

When thinking about hosting your current website or having a new website created, you need to ensure you choose a company that knows what they’re are doing. By simply being aware that there are dodgy companies out there, and amateurs out there who may be short changing you by simply not knowing the optimal way of setting up and hosting a site, linking and renewing domain names, and being able to problem-solve and customise your online business, you can make a wiser decision on whom to choose for such an important aspect of your company - your website.

It is important to choose a company that is up to date with modern technology and who can communicate with you clearly in your initial website creation, as well as any on-going website support and changes you may need - and there may be a lot, especially if you need an eCommerce website to enable you to sell and update products online.

How do you tell if a company has graphic design skills to match their level of technical website development knowledge?

If it's the style that is crucial to you, take a look at the online portfolio that showcases what a company can do for you. If you're looking to update the look of your current site to encourage more repeat visitors to your site and more traffic, then viewing online portfolios is an excellent way to gauge the quality of a designers' skill. View our online portfolio.

How do you know you have your own individual and unique server space and not hidden away as a sub-domain of another account? Rogue hosting companies do this sort of thing and it has terrible consequences for the client.

A website can be hosted as a ‘subdomain’ - this means it doesn’t have it’s own space on a server but slots in under another server’s space, called a ‘subdomain’. This is perfectly alright if the websites are related or for the same company, but if your website is hosted as a sub-domain you will not be getting the online ratings that your site should be getting as it’s own domain - this means the search engines will be showing you not as a first-page option on a search, but as a 4th of 5th, or even further down the end of the lists of options shown to an internet surfer who may be looking for a company just like yours.

Hosting your website as a subdomain may save the hosting company money but cost the website owner long-term through a loss in search engine rankings.

How do you know your website is even hosted in New Zealand and do you know what it means if you are not?

We host our websites on a secure New Zealand based server. The location of the server that your site is hosted on is crucial to the speed at which your site performs, and these days search engines are smart enough to see find discrepancies, such as products made in New Zealand, but hosted from a site overseas, and this could have a negative impact on your rankings.

Contact us at Activate Design to discuss all your website design and website enhancing requirements today.


Posted in Website Design, Security, Graphic Design

Recent articles