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Newsletter Subscription Software

Posted on 2003-11-14
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I've looked at about 30 different porgrams for automating the email newlsetter subscripe/unsubscribe process. I have a client (non-profit) that needs this ability incorporated into their site. I'm not so much looking for links here, as I am some remarks by anyone that has successfully used software for this and has advice on which ones work well.

Just FYI - The site will eventually run on a Windows box and be maintained with FrontPage.

Thanks,
georgemarian
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Question by:seanpowell
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Expert Comment

by:RobA
ID: 9750601
georgemarian-

I used a program that ran on a desktop computer. Only needed a connection to the Internet to run. It has a schedule, campaign option,sent the message in both HTML & text (for those AOL folks) even, has it's own send engine. Looks like they've added some features too. BroadcastHTML.
Just set up a mailto form on the website to the e-mail account reponsible.
http://www.mailworkz.com/

RobA
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LVL 24

Accepted Solution

by:
duz earned 250 total points
ID: 9757749
georgemarian -

I would recommend a third party solution now that spam has become the major issue. The days of do it yourself email list management and mailing are rapidly disappearing unless the list is constant or the manager is a competent webmaster. Finding yourself on the SPEWS (or any other blacklist) for no fault of your own can be more than annoying. For non profits I would suggest either of these;

IntelliContact   http://www.intellicontact.com 

Constant Contact    http://www.roving.com/

Whoever gets the job of writing the newsletter will have to become a master of obfuscation. Make sure you print out some relevant tips from this article by a newsletter writer for them.

http://tidbits.com/tb-issues/TidBITS-637.html#lnk4

- duz


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Assisted Solution

by:VB_ARGH
VB_ARGH earned 250 total points
ID: 9779822
Hi Georgemarian,

I maintain two sites with different lists, one is approximately 120 people (just started!) the other is about 1300 subscribers.  Getting placed on spam-lists should be a concern, so what you need to find is an application that has the following:

1.) MySQL Back-End
2.) Double Opt-In
3.) Date Tracking

Here's a breakdown:

MySQL Back-End merely means that the program you're using runs off of a MySQL Database.  This is necessary to store all of the names of your subscribers as well as other information like the date they subscribed.  PHP is the programming language used with HTML in order to make this puppy work.  They're usually "intermediate" to set up - some are easier than others.

Double Opt-In is what will protect you from spam complaints (nothing is 100% protection, but this helps).  Basically, someone will go to the site, subscribe, and then receive an email asking them to click a link to verify their subscription.  While your subscription rate may go down slightly with this method, it's becoming the standard.  As a matter of fact, there are many web hosts who require double-opt in if you're maintaining a list that exists on their server.  Spam is a big deal.

Date Tracking is necessary in order to thwart spam complaints.  No matter how simple it seems or how obvious you think it is, people will inevitably subscribe and scream spam even though they asked for it.  Double Opt-In helps this, date tracking is necessary so if your host receives a complaint, you can send them an email that says, "Here, this person subscribed on XX/XX/XXXX and confirmed their subscription.  They're nuts!"

There are solutions that will take care of ALL of this for you as a third party.  AutoresponsePlus.com and ListMailPro.com are two very good options.  You can even outright buy the script and host it on your own machine.  Considering costs and benefits, it's usually a good idea to host your own script as long as you have a webhost that is sturdy and steady.  After all, downtime = no subscribers.

Personally, I use a very tiny script called MyMail that I just tweaked to fit my needs.  It took me about 20 minutes to set it up, tweak it to store dates (it doesn't do this inherently), and it was completely free.  You certainly have a ton of options.

Good luck to you!

VB_ARGH!  ;-)
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Author Comment

by:seanpowell
ID: 9924119
Thanks so much - very helpful. ( Sorry RobA, the link was not quite what we had in mind, but thanks for providing it...)

Thanks again,
georgemarian
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