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What is a MDN (Message Dispostion Notification)

Updated on June 8, 2014

Information is Power

If that is true, then knowing that your information got where it was supposed to go is also power. You have critical information to share with your partners, how do you know it got there? Knowing that it was received and was able to be used is important to your business.

When your data is time critical, and in business very few things are, you need to know that it got there.

Critical items could include:

  • Orders
  • Invoices
  • Cancellations
  • Updates
  • Return Notifications
  • Approvals
  • Contracts
  • Agreements
  • almost any business related item.

Applicability Statement

This rather poorly named specification which exists to improve business to business communications. The one I discussed in a previous post was AS2 (MIME-Based Secure Peer-to-Peer Business Data Interchange Using HTTP). This Request for Comments (RFC-4130) came out in 2005.

The basis for this series of messages was the ability to send, over existing protocols, secure messages which had an acknowledgement. Those familiar with EDI will know the Functional Acknowledgement. This was a returned document which would let you know that the document was received and that it was structurally sound.

From this series of specifications, comes the MDN.


This simple document is the key to knowing if your message was received. What can this simple text message tell you?

  • Did the intended recipient receive the message?
  • Did they agree it came from you?
  • Were they able to read the message (unencrypt it successfully)?

This gives you the peace of mind that everything went as planned with the message. In addition, if send synchronously, you have immediate feedback on your message.


When your data matters, you need to know it got there. Rely on a Message Disposition Notification to let you know. It will tell you what you need to know.

For more information, see the table below and please take a moment to fill out the poll.

An Extensible Message Format for Message Disposition Notifications 1998-03
RFC 2298 (Proposed Standard) Obsoleted by RFC3798
Message Disposition Notification 2004-05,RFC 3798 (Draft Standard)
Updated by RFC5337, RFC6533
Internationalized Delivery Status and Disposition Notifications 2008-09
RFC 5337 (Experimental) Obsoleted by RFC6533
Internationalized Delivery Status and Disposition Notifications 2012-02
RFC 6533 (Proposed Standard)
All the above can be viewed at the IETF website

Transmissions Poll

How do you send your data?

See results


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