Need Advice Regarding Return mail from newsletter.

We regularly send out newsletters to certain recipients.

This months newsletter is offering a course, and requires some very simple feedback, a "yes" from people who may be interested, which of course requires details of who said yes. Now we could just put a link into the e-mail which takes the recipient to a website, where he/she writes his/her email in a form, but we want something simpler. We just want a link in the email that they can click on and that's it. But I can't think of a way to get that to work without it opening a mail program

However, I have seen email confirmations when registering with websites where a unique link is sent to a specific email address , and by clicking on that link, you've said you're you. This may be a solution?

Please advise.

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gwkgConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Of course it could be any unique id, but looking at it from a coders perspective, your code will be much simpler by eliminating the step of cross-referencing unique IDs to email addresses.  

$email = $_GET['email'] is as simple as it gets.

That being said, I think the best solution is using an email service that will automate this entire process with integrated surveys, ensure a higher deliverability, plus allow you to track your open and click through rates.  

ConstantContact and iContact both offer these features for less than $20/mo.
bluefezteamConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Every email going out would have to have a unique id to it.

you could have a webpage that simply says thank you for your interest we look forwar dot seeing you; within the email there would be a confirmation link that is linked to this page (or aspx)

your email would have an embedded link to take the user to that page which included an id

this way you would be able to say JOHN SMITH = 1234 and ZEDS DEAD = abcd

Your landing page would just record those users who have clicked the confirmation link and store the IDs against the users name - that way you know whats happening.

Most bulk email programs allow you to embed custom tags into the email so in the code for your HTML email you may add the users ID from the mailing list.
If you are just using Outlook or another standard email program, you would have to either send each email out individually, or opt for a page that the user clicks to visit and enters their name (which you would rather not have.)

You could also just have them simply reply to the email in the first place... with a YES if they are interested
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a quick scan of free bulk mailers shows this:

I imagine there will be an option to add a html template, and you should be able to define a custom tag to include on your link

Instead of assigning everyone a user number it would probably be easier to add their email address to the link they click.

An email to would have this link to confirm
same solution just a variation on a theme... the id can be anything that is unique.
Jason210Author Commented:

Is there any risk that the newsletter could get blocked by spam filters, and if so, anyway to avoid that?
Jason210Author Commented:
ConstantContact looks like a useful tool.
There's always a risk that the newsletter can get blocked, which is why using an email service provider can become problematic.

It takes very little effort for an email sent out by a mail company to be considered as spam by people marking it as such; when enough people determine this to be spam (and that may not be many) the server sending it gets added to a DNSbl (database of spam senders) and then all people using that server (as it's shared by other customers) are affected.

The idea is that companies sending such email should send it from their own servers and certificates can be bought to help your email get through ceratin spam filters - certificates similar to those used on ecommerce sites to denote trust.

If you imagine that 1 mail company may send out an email for 200 clients, there is the possibility that a few of those emails can annoy people and if that has been seen by a few hundred/thousand users marking it at spam, every client is affected.

This is why it can be big business and expensive as the companies constantly have to have back up servers etc in case they get blacklisted.

There is desktop software that allows you to send email from your own PC, and solutions to send from your own web server...
Jason210Author Commented:
It's solutions I'm looking for bluefez.

So you think ConstantContact is not a good idea?
gwkgConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Companies like ConstantContact, iContact, Aweber and GetResponse have working relationships with all the major ISPs and are, as opposed to your home computer, actually whitelisted.  Their entire business model is based on them being able to get your email through.  Aweber, for one, is the most aggressive when it comes to not letting spam get sent through their system and will not get blacklisted.

To say that you have a better chance of getting an html email to someones inbox by sending it from your own PC than sending through one of the providers I mentioned is just plain wrong.  Not to mention your own ISP will at worst block your email and, at best, throttle your mail going through if they detect you sending bulk email from your home PC.

Some bulk email tips:

It is possible to run your own mail software and get yourself whitelisted.  If you decide to go this route, make sure you follow the guidlines of all the major free email companies.

The major ISPs have their own whitelist policies for receiving bulk mail.


According to this article  MSN doesn't have their own whitelist program.  They use a reputation service.

Reputation services are often used by large ISP's as a way to vet email senders regarding their email practices and policies. Businesses listed with these services are then given less stringent filtering or no filtering at all. Several reputation services are:  (used by MSN) 

If you do decide to send from your own server, Interspire probably makes the best software solution with the release of Email Marketer 5.

You can also try a service like, if your own mail servers are choking on your bulk mailouts.
@Jason210 - in response to your question, although I'm not saying its a good idea, I'm actually saying it's not necessarily the best option, as it is can be very expensive to send through these channels, as 'gwkg' alludes, certain companies work hard to keep a good rep, but you will pay for their efforts.

You will also pay by volume, so you send in blocks typicaly CPM (cost per thousand.) you may not want to send that many.

If you can, and want to minimise expense you can use desktop software to send out a smaller list, or spend a small amount of cash getting a system added/built into your own webserver.
Jason210Author Commented:
Thanks. ConstantContact worked excellently, and it was dirt cheap to use.
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