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mailing 100,000 messages from linux to my members

Posted on 2012-12-26
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Last Modified: 2013-01-16
Hi

I have a social network that I run on my Linux server.  I have 200,000 members.  100,000 members have become fairly dormant.  I've drafted an email to the 100,000 members encouraging them to return to the site or delete their account.

I've setup a routine to mail out this message via linux to these members at the rate of 1 ever 5 seconds.

I have set the pace to be slow so that I do not 'upset' yahoo and aol, etc.  I want to avoid being black listed or something like that.

Should I be concerned about the pace at which I send messages?

I don't know if it matters, but I'm using exim.

Thank you.
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Question by:U_S_A
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by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 38722989
My initial concerns would be as follows:

1. Frequency of mailing.. 1 every 5 seconds
2. Alternate the ISP's you send to (Google, Yahoo, Comcast...)
3. Keep the content very cliean so it does not score high in spam elimination engines
4. Remove emails that bouse back to maintain a clean db.

Hope this helps!
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 38723017
Did you check to see what limits your ISP or hosting place on sending emails?  Limits range from 25 per hour to 1000 per day.  Almost nobody allows unlimited emails to be sent.
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by:DrDamnit
DrDamnit earned 334 total points
ID: 38723632
@Dave

If here is delivering through the isp's smarthost, you're right; however, if he is routing directly via DNS he can send as many emails as he has bandwidth.

@USA with this volume, I would consider using a service like smtpauth to send emails. It will cost a little bit butt will keep you off blacklists.
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by:Ray Paseur
ID: 38724294
Looks like you'll be mailing for quite a while. 100,000 messages with one message every 5 seconds will run for the better part of 6 days.  Your script will get terminated and restarted, so you probably need to design in a mechanism that will allow that.  Perhaps a separate DB table with the email address and a "sent" column, so you can avoid re-sending messages.  You might also want to alphabetize the list and scan it visually for "honeypot" addresses, and avoid sending to those.  In the past some bad actors have signed up to social networks using the known addresses of spam traps.  When the services send welcome messages, they get put on blacklists.  (A similar trick was performed a few years ago, when Unsubscribe messages, with return addresses on the honeypot lists were sent to thousands of mail lists.  The mail lists responded with "You are not subscribed" notes, and they all got blacklisted by SpamHaus.
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by:DrDamnit
ID: 38725137
Agreed with Ray 're: db controlled sends.
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by:DrDamnit
ID: 38725143
... because daddy loves cron jobs.
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Author Comment

by:U_S_A
ID: 38725201
I have crons setup to send up to 500/hr - one cron for each hour, in case something stops.

I also keep track of what is sent out.

I'm most interested in knowing if I need to pace the messages or just send them all at once.
Any thoughts on that would be helpful.

Thank you.
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by:Ray Paseur
ID: 38725409
Who is your hosting provider?  Ask them if you should pace the messages.  They will be the only ones who are likely to care.
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DrDamnit earned 334 total points
ID: 38725690
If you're worried about getting nailed by an ISP blacklist, like ATT / Yahoo, they typically don't do it based on send rate alone. They are going to look at more factors. If that was the case, whitehouse.gov, Facebook, and countless other websites that send millions of emails at once would have awful deliverability rates.

Do make sure you have SPF properly setup. Make sure your domains all have the correct pointers. Make sure you are not sending the same messages to teh same accounts over and over, and make sure that you are dropping bad emails.

You basically want to avoid spam-like patterns.

As long as you do this, I am fairly sure no one will care.

...unless you hit a honey pot. and if that's the case, it doesn't matter if you sent one email or 1,000,000. You hit the honey pot, and you are going to wind up on the black list.

Being on a blacklist isn't all that bad as long as you're not making a habit of it.Most of them have forms you can fill out to get removed, and it might be a thorn in your side for a couple of days, but if you're doing it to clean up your accounts and lists, then it would be worth it in my opinion.

-DrD
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 38725718
whitehouse.gov, Facebook, and others do not have to worry about one little client causing them to be blacklisted.  They have their own servers (many of them) and their own connections to the internet that are better than most local ISPs.  Gmail and Godaddy and my local ISP all have limits on email sent thru their servers.

Still, the main thing is to ask.  All those with limits typically just drop your emails when you reach their limits without any warning message.
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by:DrDamnit
ID: 38725730
Ray:

Re: Facebook / Whitehouse - I was exaggerating to make a point :-)

From a mail standpoint, it doesn't matter if you are sending from multiple IPs (multiple servers) if the content and return paths trigger the spam buttons, they are spam.

There are limits ONLY if you are relaying via a smart host. (Godaddy, Gmail, your ISP are smarthosts). If you have a mailserver that sends mail directly, there are no limits.

With 200,000 users, I would assume he is running a dedicated server (or at least should be), and that he would not be routing via a smarthost.

@USA: Is this a dedicated server or a shared service? Is exim configured to route mail using DNS or a smarthost?
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Author Comment

by:U_S_A
ID: 38726102
This is a dedicated server.

I do have DKIM setup -- not sure that SPFcomes into play when I have DKIM setup.  Do I need to be concerned with SPFin my case ?

Also, the explanations I'm hearing about speed is encouraging.  I agree that I suspected that pace of email should not be factored and would hold up tons and tons of messages if major sites were concerned about getting their mail out in a timely fashion.

I don't like pacing the mail cause it's taking foreverrrrrrrrrrrrr
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Assisted Solution

by:Ray Paseur
Ray Paseur earned 166 total points
ID: 38726746
SPF just tells the world, "This server is authorized to send email from this domain name."  It's the closest thing to accountability that exists in email.  I would say it's mandatory for any email system that wants to preserve, protect and defend reputation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sender_Policy_Framework
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by:abolinhas
ID: 38727646
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by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 38731072
Ok, so have these suggestions provided the guidence needed to resolve your question?
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by:abolinhas
ID: 38731091
Also you can play with throttling roles
http://wiki.spry.com/Throttling_exim
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