Solution needed to support sending around 400,000 legit emails per month

I have a client with a need to send around 400 - 500 K emails per month.  They are entirely legitimate opt-in emails to the customer base of their major online shop.

The email content is produced in house, and the sending of them is done by Nesox Email Marketer, which is now struggling with the volumes.  Up until recently we have been relaying via the clients ISP, however this facilty has been withdrawn due to the volume.

We are now using the services of smtp.com, and are paying around $300 per month for 300,000 emails.  However delivery of messages is slow, it might take a couple of days to send to a segment of around 40,000 people.  Ideally we would like to load balance the sending via multiple smtp servers, but I cannot find any which will handle the volume.

Direct DNS delivery is not an option due to the amount of work involved in maintaining the reputation of the domain and IP address.  

It seems the next step is a fully outsourced marketing solution, however we are talking mega money for this service and the cost cannot be justifed, also we lose some of the integration with the customer's on site data and the ability to segment the database for different campaigns.

What do people recommend for handling this volume of emails?  Any feedback appreciated.
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Ross EdwardsTechnical DirectorAsked:
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SurajCommented:
why is Direct DNS not your option?
why do u want to smarthost something after the exchange server?
any reason>?
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Serio27Commented:

Do you have the expertise to handle this in-house? I would recommend Lsoft's Listserv/Lsmtp combo but you need to manage your lists by removing undeliverables and processing removal requests. Easier said than done.

Are you looking for an automated system or simply a "mailer" and you will take care of the rest?
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Ross EdwardsTechnical DirectorAuthor Commented:
Just a mailer or relay is requried.  Email production and distribution is managed by the application we have.  

x-Sam there is no Exchange server involved.

Problem is with doing it ourselves by DNS is we get very poor delivery rates with AOL, Hotmail and Yahoo.  We have reverse DNS and usual stuff in place, but after a while our delivery rate to these email providers drops like a stone.  These providers make up about 40% or our target audience so we need to include them.

Outr solution is already doing much of the work of Listserv, but the problem is the same, which SMTP server to use.

I have noticed HDMail on the Lsoft site which may be of use...  Looks like a SMTP server dedicated for this job of getting good delivery rates with various providers, pricey though.
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Serio27Commented:

Lsoft's products are pricey and may be overkill for the numbers you are looking at sending. However, you want to try a couple things before spending the money on another mailer.

You mentioned DNS was a concern but this should not be the case. Once your DNS servers perform a MX query to determine the mail servers accepting mail for a particular domain. The mailer will send mail to these servers and the problem lies after delivering so many messages these domains.  They may throttle back the amount of incoming messages allowed if they see you are delivering a ton of mail to them.

I know AOL has a strict policy when accepting mass mail. You will need to have reverse dns in place which you already have and sign an agreement stating your lists contain solely opt-in subscribers. Have you contacted AOL to put this in place?

Also, i'm not sure the procedure with Hotmail and Yahoo but I would contact them to see what can be done. At the end of the day they can choose to not accept mail or forward it to their spam folder. If I am not mistaken this is what Yahoo does they allow your message through until subscribers mark your messages as spam. Nope, they do have a dept. which handles these things it is Hotmail which will prove the hardest to get assistance with this.
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Ross EdwardsTechnical DirectorAuthor Commented:
Thanks Serio - we are now looking at your suggestions to improve our direct DNS deliver.
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