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Doing some audits I have noticed there are some Subscribers that have their email address changed to some internal email address (company addresses usually used for testing).

We can't figure out why they change to them, I already have an automation that runs hourly that queries SFDC for Contact.Email<>Subscriber.Email and updates the Subscriber record but I have noticed 1-2 subs that frequently show up in this query.

Are there places/scenarios where a Subscriber email address is updated?

  • Are the email addresses changing in SFMC directly or in SFDC? – AnonWonderer Jan 9 at 20:45
  • They only change in SFMC, not SFDC. – Deployment Failure Jan 9 at 20:47
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Few possibilities:

  • My strongest hunch: These contacts are in Journeys, and Journeys can overwrite the All Subscribers email address with the email referenced on the Journey DE. So the email address on All Subscribers may be updated, but the Journey is switching it back
  • Default profile center being used in email sends with email address editable, on sends that aren't using the connector
  • Rogue AMPscript/SSJS in landing page or API?

I would also make the email address is being updated and it's not failing on import, then re-trying the same records ever hour.

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I ran into this issue some time ago. You can read my case details below:

Case Question (sent to SF)

I am seeing sporadic behaviour in the following scenario:

  • I have a Active subscriber on the All Subscribers list
  • Their SubscriberKey is 1234 and email is test@test.com
  • I do a real send from a data extensions to that same SubscriberKey (1234) but with a different email address (example@test.com)

In some cases, the email is sent to the new email address (example@test.com) and the email address for that SubscriberKey on All Subscribers has been over-written to be (example@test.com)

In other cases, the email is sent to test@test.com (regardless of the email specified in the send data extension), and the email address for that SubscriberKey on All Subscribers has not changed (ie: it is still test@test.com) What is the actual behaviour supposed to be? Should the email address get over-written or not?

Answer I eventually got

Thank you for answering my call, as discussed over call, I have informed you that below are Only one of these processes would update the Email Address in Marketing Cloud:

  • Manual change in the UI
  • File Import to All Subscribers list (manual or via automation)
  • Send to SF Report, SF Campaign or Salesforce Data Extension (Salesforce Send type)

Also In the all subscriber documentation the above points are not update, so I have provide the feedback to our knowledge team to update the article.


This case ran for a long time and was escalated all the way up, so I think there is some truth to it.

However, I don't think it covers all scenarios. For example, I am quite sure that sends initiated using the Journey API, for example, will also change the email address on All Subs in the instance where the "Send Tracking Results to Sales Cloud" check box is selected.

As you can see from the last sentence in their response, they promised they had passed on this info to the Knowledge team to update the documentation. I have followed up multiple times and the response from the knowledge team continues to be that this is not a "business critical issue, therefore it is remaining in the backlog as other items have higher priority". This was in April 2019.

So unfortunately, I don't think there is a clearly documented explanation of the scenarios in which the email address gets changed. Your solution to update them via an automation is the same as what we do.

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  • Hey Ben, I think your last point around "Send to SF Report" may be the issue. It would explain why the email addresses are replaced with only 1-2 internal email addresses, that are present in SF CRM. Do you have any more information on this part? particularly why their email addresses would be populated in the first place? – Deployment Failure Apr 6 at 17:04
  • As I understand it, it is basically for the above mentioned send types (eg: to a Salesforce Data Extension), whatever SubscirberKey<->Email combination you use will cause the email address for the subkey on All Subs to be overwritten. So if you do a send with 1234<->test@test.com, All Subs email address for 1234 will become test@test.com. If you then do a send with 1234<->blah@test.com, All Subs changes to blah@test.com. – Ben Apr 6 at 22:37
  • When you say "the email addresses are replaced with only 1-2 internal email addresses", do you mean only 1 or subs in MC are having their email address changed? Or that many many subs are having their email address changed and always to the same 1-2 internal email addresses? – Ben Apr 6 at 22:39
  • Many subs being changed to the same 1-2 occurring email addresses, both addresses linked to Salesforce users (which happen to be creating the reports) – Deployment Failure Apr 7 at 0:09
  • Are those salesforce users also receiving the emails you are trying to send? Or are the correct subscribers receiving the emails? – Ben Apr 7 at 2:15

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