Constant Contact

Richard Korts
Richard Korts used Ask the Experts™
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Can Constant Contact be used to generate INDIVIDUAL emails via php on a web server using an API?

If so, examples?

Thanks
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Trenton KnewOwner / Computer Whisperer

Commented:
when you say individual? do you mean personalized emails similar to mail merge?  as in reading fields from your contact list and inserting the values into the body of your mail.  Or are you just trying to send a graphically rich email to a single person?
Most Valuable Expert 2011
Top Expert 2016
Commented:
Short answer, "yes." But in general it's intended for broadcast email and similar large-population activities.  They offer a free trial so you can test it out and discern the details.
http://www.constantcontact.com/index.jsp
Richard KortsBusiness Owner / Chief Developer

Author

Commented:
To Trenton Knew,

I'm trying to send a plain, old, html email in such a way that it doesn't get considered as spam.

Ray Paseur told me a long time ago that using Constant Contact those problems would be avoided.

So I thought I'd try it; see Ray's comment.
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Trenton KnewOwner / Computer Whisperer
Commented:
I think a better exercise would be to try to determine why your emails are being considered "spammy" when coming from one person to another person directly.  Are you using SPF records on your email domain to designate allowed senders?  This would be in your DNS zone file.  Check to make sure you have a txt record that specifies what servers are allowed to send email on behalf of your domain. Once you do that, there's very little reason your emails to specific individuals should be considered spam.
Most Valuable Expert 2011
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
when coming from one person to another person directly
That's probably getting at the right issue.  The emails are not coming from a person; they are coming from a script on a server.  The server probably injects anti-spam headers because if it doesn't it can be held legally accountable if the sending script generates spam.

Email is something that seems like it should be so simple, and it was until about 2003.  But the times have changed and email has not changed - it's still a wasteland, devoid of standards and accountability.  Many of the younger set have never even sent an email (WSJ article had mentioned using email as a "rite of passage" into adulthood) -- they don't know how painful it can be to try to get computer programming and email to work seamlessly from end-to-end!
Richard KortsBusiness Owner / Chief Developer

Author

Commented:
Yes, Ray, like my daughter, 37 uses Facebook for EVERYTHING. She gets email but NEVER sends it, uses Facebook messages or "wall posts" only.

My son, 39, basically the same, except for at his work.

And based on Facebook's popularity (I heard they get a billion hits a day), it makes sense.

Only us "old folks" use email.
Trenton KnewOwner / Computer Whisperer

Commented:
lol, so nah to the SPF records?
Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014

Commented:
The legal definition of spam is simply unwanted email, email that is unwanted by the recipient.  Note that they don't have to have a reason.  The most common reason though is that they have never received an email from you before so you are not in their contact list.  While SPF and other things can improve your reception, there is Nothing that can guarantee your email does not go into their spam folder.  Because it is Their choice and not yours.
Most Valuable Expert 2011
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
@Dave: Good point here: "it is Their choice and not yours."  That is sort of like accepting cookies.  If your web site requires the client to accept cookies, people who don't want to be tracked will just leave when they find the site is broken.

SPF records are a good idea.  Carefully formatted plain-text email is a good idea.  A note on the web site that says, "Please whitelist our domain" is a good idea.  That's the problem with email - it's richly paved with good intentions.  But it has no enforceable standards.  What you really want is an email system that responds to your SeendMail() command with an exception if the client does not receive your message in their inbox.  We just can't get that from the current design.

Sidebar note: The "kids" by which I mean my son's frat brothers do not use Facebook much any more.  It's snapchat, instagram, twitter, and IM for them.
Trenton KnewOwner / Computer Whisperer

Commented:
sigh... let's get back on track here...

you can do what you are asking by creating lists on ConstantContact that only contain one recipient, and I would think that SHOULD work, but it's largely inefficient to do this.

a correct SPF record will increase the reputation of your individual email... that combined with the recipient being correct, and the sender coming from the same domain... AND assuming that your domain itself hasn't received a bad reputation or even a blacklisting from being a chronically spammy domain, you should be able to send messages with an extremely low chance of getting flagged as spam.  Only in cases where people have higher threshold spam filtering, would you get tagged, and in those cases, constant contact probably won't help anyway.

Trust me, the SPF is the place to start.
Richard KortsBusiness Owner / Chief Developer

Author

Commented:
To all,

I am trying to get my host to do the things Trenton suggested; they did not understand my initial request. The host, BTW Ray, is Chihost which you recommended to me years ago & I now have 10 - 15 clients hosted there, including my own business site.

I understand the gist of spam, etc., & I understand why many things go there for a lot of reasons. I am having a conversation with MY customer later today about this; I have already emailed him about the issues. He will have to decide, I just want him to understand all the aspects. Thank you all for explaining them in a lot of detail.

Ah yes, Instagram & Twitter. I have a twitter account, have used it once or twice.

I am aware of getting left in the dark ages. change is now progressing at a faster pace than EVER before.

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