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opensource solution for email capture and database?

Posted on 2006-06-15
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I'm looking to put an email capture box on my site, preferably with one of those images that generates a code to type in for security

I would like the facility to send out a confirmation email when the person puts in their details and to add a link at the bottom of anything I send out allowing them to unsubscribe with one click

Finally I would want a web interface that allows them to add other details like address/age to their profile.

Does it have to be hand built or is there a good open source software available?
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Question by:hawkeye_zzz
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by:pigmentarts
ID: 16918293
i am sure there are lots of open/s, free scripts etc out there.

should not be that hard to write yourself, just pick a server side langauge (what are you hosting on?) and build a simple input form (html) then your the server side lanuage (php asp cf etc) to process the data ie write to database, send email etc. lots of help on the net, and if you get stuck these guys are ace!

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by:jbrashear72
ID: 16923380
I agree Hand built is easy to do..
Here is an open Source Solution:
http://www.formfields.com/FORMgenArea/index.php
Hope that helps you out!
-J
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by:hawkeye_zzz
ID: 16927194
I found a load of mailing list software solutions at http://www.hotscripts.com/ASP/Scripts_and_Components/Mailing_List_Managers/
so will take pot luck and choose one of those.
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desertcities earned 500 total points
ID: 16930745
Hi Hawkeye,

Let me try to address your issues and share my comments.  

"I'm looking to put an email capture box on my site, preferably with one of those images that generates a code to type in for security"

Generally most decent mailing list programs are 'double opt-in' which require the user signing up to verify a link sent to them in an email.  The security code you are thinking about where users input a displayed set of letters/numbers is generally to prevent dangerous scripts from spamming things like Blogs and Message Forums.  But not needed for a good email mailing list program.

"I would like the facility to send out a confirmation email when the person puts in their details and to add a link at the bottom of anything I send out allowing them to unsubscribe with one click."

The email mailing list programs I mention below offer double opt-in subscriptions and when you mail out like a newsletter it automatically includes a link to unsubscribe.  You want the process as automated as possible.  

Generally you accomplish this both by the software and introducing a web page where users can also sign-up, or unsubscribe and learn more about your mailing list like your policy and other information.

"Finally I would want a web interface that allows them to add other details like address/age to their profile."

The interface is generally just a standard web page where you would have a form and you can generally ask anything you want to ask within the form contents.  The mailing list script is then call into action when the user clicks on the 'Submit' button.  It's really not that difficult but if you haven't experienced it before, it could be a bit daunting.

I use a fantatic program from Bebosoft called "Forms To Go" <http://www.bebosoft.com> that allows me to quickly load my HTML page with my form and will instantly create your .cgi, .php or .asp script to post the information users input and then email back to you.  It actually has so many options and features and for less then $20.00 you can't beat it.

In regard to some very good mailing list programs, here's a short list that I recommend that meet your requirements:

DADA MAIL <http://mojo.skazat.com/> is my first choice.  Runs on your Unix type webserver.  Very easy to install and easy to use.  I use Front Page to make my newsletter and cut and paste the HTML code right into DADA Mail and it takes care of the rest.

Dada Mail use to be called Mojo Mail  and you can buy DADA PRO for $50.00, or try out their free version.  You can send your messages as plain text and in HTML, or both! Dada Mail supports file attachments and sending out different versions of your list message, like HTML and plain text, at the same time!  

There are other excellent mailing list programs too, here's a short list:

PHPLIST <http://tincan.co.uk/> Another excellent program.  I'm experimenting with this program now and I really like it.

MAILMAN <http://www.gnu.org/software/mailman/index.html>

poMMo <http://www.iceburg.net/pommo/index.php/Main_Page>

Good Luck!

Mark



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by:hawkeye_zzz
ID: 16931247
Hi Mark,

that's fascinating, and has just doubled my homework!
Bebosoft looks good but it's above my head, even after watching the tutorial I don't really understand what it does. So you can see what level I'm at in this particular area.

My favourite pure email system I've found so far is: www.designerfreesolutions.com/web/viewitem.asp?idaffiliate=14.  but your tincan looks perfect.
The advantages of dfs over tincan are: 1) does not require any external components, 2) set up in 5-10 min 3) subscribe a friend/forward to a friend features 4) works with all major email compoents.
The advantages of Tincan over dfs are 1) send a webpage 2) multiple subscriber pages 3) if users subscribe to 2 lists they won't be duplicated on same email 4) multiple list managers 5) user management including automatic subscription reminders 6) every email contains a personalised URL to change preferences, including changing their email (most can't). So as long as I don't hit quicksand installing it. looks like this is the one.

I still don't know how to get the security code. I hear you that it's not essential, but it's cute, it looks good/professional, and would be nice to have if it's not hard. Do you know how I could include it? Bandzoogle.com for example include it on all the mailing lists they run.

Charlie
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by:desertcities
ID: 16931278
"I still don't know how to get the security code. I hear you that it's not essential, but it's cute, it looks good/professional, and would be nice to have if it's not hard. Do you know how I could include it? Bandzoogle.com for example include it on all the mailing lists they run."

I'm not sure how to integrate the display security code into canned programs.  I know they make snippets of code that you can use to get the effect you want.  You might want to checkout like hotscripts.com or do a search in Google.  There's actually a proper word for this type of script too, I just forgot it though.

After you select what mailing list software you want to use, to see if that software has a community forum, or ask their technical support, how you could achieve this.  You might be surprised they already know and can tell you how.

Did you check out DADA Mail?  I use DADA mail a lot and really enjoy it.  I have it on several sites running thousands of addresses.  

I hope this helps a bit more.

Good Luck!

Mark
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by:hawkeye_zzz
ID: 17452248
So the "security code" is called a captcha code and here (I think) is a programme that creates them:

http://www.protectwebform.com/howprotect

I went with tincan in the end, they are brilliant and installed everything for me for £70. worth it, would have taken me a day to set up myself.

Thanks for all the help
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by:desertcities
ID: 17452674
You're welcome Hawkeye!

Glad you found a great solution.

Mark
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