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  #1  
08-10-2013, 03:03 AM
mcowen64 mcowen64 is offline
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we still need a mailserver in some form. We're expecting that email traffic to be rather high, FYI. We will have an autoresponder with MANY, LARGE lists on the mailserver, but aside from that, there would be trivialal pop3 accounts (I'm thinking less than 10) Still, it needs to be able to handle the high message traffic.

I'd like to hear more about your thoughts/alternatives for mail.

Given the state of spam, I realize we may have to swap servers occasionally (or IPs) to keep deliverables high. I don't like it, but that's the world we live in.


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  #2  
08-10-2013, 03:49 AM
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I've split another conversation here, because it might help others. (And side topics like this make emails into novels.)


Why Not Use You Own Server?

You should avoid using a webserver as a mail server, except for sending personal/business emails. As you say, "trivial" use. Otherwise you'll likely find the server on multiple blacklists, which can harm its reputation, and even affect SEO of the sites on it. Yes, this means email can have a negative effect on the site, too! It's not just email lists that can harm the domain reputation.

In addition, your non-list business emails are also treated like they're spam.

There's several reasons why this happens:

(A) Somebody opts in to your mailing list, but reports the message as spam instead of opting out. This can happen because they're lazy, because they forgot they signed up, or because the email didn't provide the information that they had hoped. (Some unethical affiliate marketers even bait-and-switch those that sign up! In that case, I'd agree, it's spam.)

(B) If the sign-up email is no longer functional, repeated attempts at delivery may get reported to RBLs. In some cases, simply submitting once, and surpassing a threshold for failures automatically lands it on a list. This is very common among ISPs like Comcast, Charter, AOL and Earthlink. Some emails even find their way onto spam traps, often because of backscatter.

(C) Some mail servers have hidden limits for receiving email. For example, if a new server suddenly sends thousands of emails, that legitimate activity can lands it on a blacklist. This is also often done by ISPs.

(D) The server gets hacked because of lazy or poor security policies regarding passwords. While this isn't specific to sending large email lists, it can affect any server where a mail service in enabled.

Removing an IP from a RBL (DNSBL) is a great big PITA, to be frank. Because of this, virtually all hosts charge "clean-up" fees to do this. Other just suspend a person and tell them to go away. In fact, hosts only want to really deal with their own shared/reseller servers -- not dedicated or VPS. That's up to the owner, or they'll help with removal for a fee ($$$).

Trying to rotate an IP because it's now dirty will also result in fee being charged by hosts. Many bar the person from ever being a customer again. If it's tagged by an RBL, it's going to be up to you to clean it up, both by contacting the blacklist owners, and by auditing your own list to see how it happened. Otherwise, it'll just happen again. Like the hosts, blacklists often charge a fee ($$$) for removal.

Some RBLs will refuse, and you'll have to wait it out (anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks).


Newsletter / SMTP Services

SMTP services work with blacklist owners to keep themselves off the lists. They send high volumes of email, and in most cases it less than a % of 1% that cause problems. Furthermore, spammers are cheap. They'd rather hack a server for free, or buy some cheap shared/VPS hosting somewhere (often from clueless kiddie hosts).

CritSend and Mandrill are two of my favorite. On the cheaper end, you can use Amazon SES.

You can also use a server like Constant Contact, Aweber, MailChimp, etc.

These are really more of a newsletter service, for scheduling either monthly or daily emails. Many also have auto-responders, and they have a stringent double opt-in process to be 100% compliant with U.S. law (CAN-SPAM Act). Quite a few affiliate marketers use these, as opposed to homemade method of assembling email lists, In fact, I'd say that most use it.


Conclusion

You really have to be careful when you send out a lot of email.

And for the sake of number, let's say 10,000+. If you have ten thousand people that signed up for your list, even a 1% response rate is going to yield 100 customers. Depending on the cost of the product or service, it should easily pay for the costs of having a mail service for the lists.

Same for webservers. I can't help but laugh at the folks over at Warrior Forum that claim to have thousands of dollars per day of income (revenue), yet host the sites on a $10 account at EIG. When the server is down, they cry en masse. "Whoa is me, I'm losing a zillion dollars because my Godaddy site is down!"

What I'm getting at is both email and servers need to be commensurate for the products/services they represent. If it's a big list, it needs the SMTP or newsletter service. If it's a big site, it needs a bit dedicated or maybe VPS server. Trying to skimp on these things is not going to work long-term,

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  #3  
08-11-2013, 07:40 AM
mcowen64 mcowen64 is offline
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I understand. Thanks for your great advice!
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  #4  
08-13-2013, 08:55 AM
abundantliving abundantliving is offline
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KP, based on your advice, Mike and I have decided to use mandrill's external smtp service. However, we still need a way to manage the lists on our server.

Is there a particular autoresponder script you would recommend that we install on our server?
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  #5  
08-14-2013, 11:14 AM
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Most scripts have the ability to simply plug in the new SMTP address.
Prior to now, what were you using?
What you want/need depends on what your using. For example, are these emails from a forum or blog software?
Or are these from the usual affiliate sign-up for non-members. If so, what's in use?

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  #6  
08-14-2013, 11:42 AM
abundantliving abundantliving is offline
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I've been using an autoresponder service... too expensive for the amount of emails we'll be sending in a few short months.

I need an autoresponder on my server that will connect with an external smtp service.

I was wondering if you had a recommendation for an autoresponder script I can install on my server that is reliable, flexible, and can handle large amounts of contacts.

-- merged --

I'm not at liberty to divulge a lot of info about this. However I need an autoresponder that can:
- handle a large number of contacts (millions potentially... yes this IS realistic)
- create lists and sublists
- allow mailing to lists/sublists
- allow custom fields
- allow mailing based on custom fields.

Hopefully you get the picture.

-- merged --

Just thought of a few more features...
- can do single or double option
- can accept subscriptions via email (so integrates with my existing membership script)
- send send using DIFFERENT "from" email addresses

I'm sure there are more features I want. But basically, I'm looking for a powerful script to install on my server to integrate with external smtp
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  #7  
08-14-2013, 12:52 PM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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I was looking at Dada Mail myself. An HTML code snippet integrates it into sites (like WordPress).
Check that one out.

Here's the demo: http://demo.dadamailproject.com

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  #8  
08-14-2013, 02:23 PM
abundantliving abundantliving is offline
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This looks very interesting (much more affordable than arplus which I had a decade ago). However, it looks like the only external smtp it is compatible with is amazon SES (I copied this from their list of features):

- Send email via sendmail, SMTP or Amazon SES
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  #9  
08-14-2013, 02:27 PM
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SMTP = Mandrill

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  #10  
08-14-2013, 02:35 PM
abundantliving abundantliving is offline
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LOL... I'm a marketer not a technie... sometimes the simplest things mean something else to me (i.e. I know on each server account you have a pop and smtp server... I thought it meant the smtp on the server, not an external smtp). Thanks for clarifying that.

It looks very interesting.

One question (since you've look at it more indepth than I have)... do you know if it has a feature where I can have options on an optin form and the user chooses the options they want applied (for example, a list of 5 products, and the users places a check next to the products he wants to receive email about)?
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  #11  
08-15-2013, 02:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abundantliving View Post
LOL... I'm a marketer not a technie...
I can do both!

But yes, I realize that's a rare skill to have. I'm a former print journalist that went into PR/marketing, and I've done web tech the entire time (since the early 90s). I'd much rather that a person state their weaknesses, rather than pretend they know something. IT folks are very guilty of this. That's an admirable trait that few sadly have.

Quote:
One question (since you've look at it more indepth than I have)... do you know if it has a feature where I can have options on an optin form and the user chooses the options they want applied (for example, a list of 5 products, and the users places a check next to the products he wants to receive email about)?
That's actually why I was looking, too! I wanted a system to send newsletters on three distinct subjects that the opt-in person could chose from. They could pick one, two or all three. (Video, Photography, Web Design/Hosting/Tech was the three.) We went in a different direction, however, and decided not to use it. I've not looked at it since Q3 2012.

I do notice Softaculous has these 5 auto-install option:

maillist-softaculous.png

I liked Dada Mail the most, so I'd start there. But here's 5 more options for you.

Good luck!



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