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This is my first post so thank you for your help in advance. For the problem stated below I am seeking your advice here, or a referral to resources that I can read.

Over many years we have built a list of several million email addresses ("EA"). All EAs are double opt-in to our website. Due to the nature of my organization, we haven't needed to email to the full list, and now plan to send a newsletter. Therefore, I assume a significant percentage of the EAs are bad.

I am a newbie to this process. The obvious question is how do other businesses with email lists in the millions properly send their newsletters? Personal contacts with ISPs, Yahoo!, Gmail and Hotmail? What software do they use? From my limited research thus far, is this two step process close? 1. Finding and removing the bad EAs. How? 2. From then on, use a dedicated mail server that we would control to email the list?

Lots of questions. Answer one or all, please!

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2 Answers

You need some kind of mailing list manager with the following features:

  • You can load all your existing email addresses into it
  • You can integrate with your current double opt in system somehow to collect new addresses
  • Has bounce rules which will remove addresses after a certain number of bounces
  • Sends each message in batches, directly to the end user (doesn't use multiple addresses in the recipient fields)

I cant' speak to your very large list requirements, but mailman can be made to do all the above, but doesn't have the nicest ever interface.

You also need to check the following: - You have SPF set up for the domain mail will come from

You also need a very good understanding of how each of the large mail hosts (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo etc) handle lists, and what makes them treat a list as bad.

To be honest, all this is quite a lot of work - you may find greater value in buying the service in from a company that does this as their bread and butter. But there are a ton of mailing list managers out there if you want to tackle it in house.

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Thank you, @dunxd. Please see my comment below to @symcbean. –  Leafgreen Sep 22 '10 at 7:05
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Emailing on this scale is an art - there are a number of companies who (legitimately) specialize in it - and for good reason.

While you can set up your facilities for doing this, you need to know what you're doing - and learning takes time and effort. It may save you time and money in the short to medium term by using one of these companies to handle your requirements. Be warned though - its hard to differentiate between the legitimate organisations from those which are spammers / or who will sell your email lists on to anyone who will pay for the list.

If you decide to go down the route of operating your own service then you'll need at least one (preferably 2) dedicated MTAs with a legitimate hosting provider (or hosted yourself) with proper PTR, MX and TXT (SPF 1.0) records set up in DNS. You should also get hold of spamassassin and study it carefully to see how it determines when a message is flagged as spam.

HTH

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Thank you, @symcbean. Great, helpful info. I don't have enough knowledge or time to learn what your suggest. Next, I wish I could follow your suggestion in your first paragraph to find a company to do this for me. However, I will not risk theft of my list. However, is there a third option? To hire a consultant who will "hold my hand" while I do everything in your second and third paragraphs? –  Leafgreen Sep 22 '10 at 7:07
    
Also, can anyone refer me to any such email sending companies that have a reputation so solid that I can be confident they wouldn't steal my list in the millions? –  Leafgreen Sep 22 '10 at 7:17
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