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Mailing List Software (php)

Posted on 2013-12-28
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Last Modified: 2014-01-01
Hi. What are some good mailing list software. Not necessarily free either.
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Question by:Computer Guy
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 39743614
Assuming you mean broadcast email the best choice would be a Software-As-A-Service company like ConstantContact.  Broadcast email is notoriously hard to get right, and their business is all about getting the messages to go through to the clients.  They are dependable and embarrassingly inexpensive when compared to the cost of trying to do this yourself.

However I know that there are some stubborn individuals who think they can do a better job than the professionals, and for these folks, there is phpMailer.  I have experience using both and I will always choose ConstantContact over phpMailer.  As the great firefighter Red Adair said, "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional, just wait till you hire an amateur!"
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by:Computer Guy
ID: 39743650
I'm one of those stubborn folks who does not like saas. Can you please list me some 3rd party options other than that one?
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 39743657
MailChimp, SurveyMonkey, iContact are also in the space with ConstantContact.  In the "heavy duty" versions of this kind of software you'll find EventBrite and SalesForce.com
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Author Comment

by:Computer Guy
ID: 39743691
Sorry. On my own server.
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 39743707
phpMailer.  

Expect to spend a lot of time working out the unpleasant kinks of the email system.  Use SPF records.  Do not send mail from a shared server that injects anti-spam headers.  Learn about email blacklists. I could go on and on, but I don't have to because within a couple of months after you start sending broadcast email messages you will find all of the things about email that the rest of us have found.  And then you'll want to make the move to ConstantContact.

They offer a free trial.  Best of luck with the project, ~Ray
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by:Computer Guy
ID: 39744606
Any other options outside of phpMailer?
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 39744713
Maybe SwiftMailer or MailMan?  You can try them and see what kind of results you get.

Sending email from PHP scripts is kind of the dictionary picture of script kiddie spam, and most ISPs can sniff this out and shut it down.  You'll get banned in a matter of seconds and never even know what happened.  Really, this is a bad idea and I urge you to use a service instead.  It all goes back to that Red Adair quote.
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by:Computer Guy
ID: 39744738
I have a different solution, though if I use a a different reply to than from email address, does that flag as SPAM?

From: user@domain1.com
Reply-To: user@domain2.com
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Ray Paseur earned 500 total points
ID: 39745950
That is one of many, many things that can contribute to a "spam score."  There is rarely one thing about spam messages; there are a collection of things that turn up the signals.  False email addresses in the headers are one.  Unroutable return addresses, sending from a shared server (especially GoDaddy), sending from an IP address that is in the same range as a previously known spammer, sending from Ukraine, broken English in the subject line, the word "viagra," failure to include the client's name, addressing the client by the email address instead of the name, missing or incorrect SPF records, having previously replied to a honeypot spam trap, the list goes on forever.  

And those are just the legitimate signals of spam.  There are hundreds of spam filters that can generate false-positive signals.   You don't know and cannot know which of these your clients might be using at any given time, nor what exact scoring and filtering settings are in play.

That's why I advise you to avoid this tarpit and use professional services instead.
 
More than a decade ago I did broadcast email with my own programming (before there was phpMailer, and before there was spam).  Everything changed in the years 2002 and 2003 with the explosion of spam and viruses.  It took the industry a long time to tamp that down.  Today, security trumps everything where email is concerned, and as a result most automated email messages are just not very welcome any more.  In addition, in the USA (and probably in other civilized countries) you can incur some serious penalties for sending unwanted email.  Some of the penalties involve handcuffs and prison.

ConstantContact can do its work in broadcast email because it has a legacy of trust earned through many years of careful and vigilant attention to legitimacy.  You can't do that without investing the years they have invested.

I'll sign off on this now -- you have enough options for the project, and you have the best advice I can give from my experience in the field.  Best of luck, ~Ray
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Author Comment

by:Computer Guy
ID: 39745994
Hi Ray,

Thanks!

This is more of my problem on why I want to stay away from a service, but what is your opinion after my reason?

Ok, so I get lead lists from a couple of companies from people requesting information from professionals.

As you know there is an unsubscribe link. Most services ask for the reason why the person is unsubscribing and there is usually a never signed up for this and report as spam.

That does not make me look good especially to the service.

Any way around that?
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