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I have little experience setting up an email server so I'm having a lot of dificulties right now.

A client from a political party wants to send a newsletter to 8000 people with a very limited budget (all legit, no spam so people wont mark it as spam), What I did was I set up a server with mail enable free edition with port 26, no-ip with a free domain, had bulkmailer instaled and sent tons of emails (most where to hotmail).

Some did arrive to private emails, but none to hotmail, gmail and yahoo mail (not even spam folder).

My guess as to why they dont work, is that its a dynamic ip and a free subdomain. I thought about just buying a domain, but I need to be sure.

So, anyone know what I should do or look into?

thanks

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

My Advice: Leave it to the experts

As someone who has set up their own PHPList, GroupMail, and several other products and projects... let me give you one piece of valuable advice.

If you're looking for the "brain damage free" solution go with a 3rd party provider such as "Constant Contact":

http://www.constantcontact.com

I personally have not used them but several of my clients do and LOVE it. For myself, I continue to use GroupMail and PHPList to send out thousands of newsletters but let me tell you... that's after YEARS of struggling and fighting to get it all "dialed in".

First of all... make sure you're CAN-SPAM compliant (assuming you're in the USA).

Second... make sure your IP address is static and has a reverse DNS for the IP.

Third... make sure your mail server is properly configured... and by properly I mean SERIOUSLY properly configured... not just something that sends out email.

Fourth... make sure your ISP knows who you are and what you're doing. Many ISPs have policies build into their TOS to deal with people who send bulk email... even opt-in newsletters. Just because you're CAN-SPAM compliant and have the user's permission doesn't mean your ISP will like you. I'm on a first name basis with most of the tech guys from my ISP.

Fifth... be prepared to fight every little "wanna-be" blacklist in on the internet. Some don't matter... some do. If you end up on them... its sometimes a complete pain to try and get OFF them.

Sixth... clean your email list! Process those bounces. The big guys will ban you quickly if you start sending to too many "bad" email addresses.

Seventh... get signed up with the "big boys" as far as bulk mail and understand how they work.

Eights... I can go on and on... but I think you're getting the idea...


Summary:

If you have a client and he only wants to email 8,000 people... you're probably WAY better off going with someone like Constant Contact (or someone similar) and letting THEM deal with any potential brain damage.

Keep it simple. :-)

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You pretty much answered your own question.

Large commercial email providers expect that you aren't going to do a dump and run spam like your describing.

Do this right. Obtain a list server from a respectable email hosting provider and send the email out that way from a list-serv that supports opt-out.

It's not expensive at all. A list-serv from a respectable email provider can be had for $24.95 or less. Probably less!

If you truly are sending this from/for a political party they have a few dollars to spend. If not then you should probably spend the $20 bucks to do it for them.

The plus side to using a hosted solution is most of the work will be done for you by experienced email administrators.

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do you have any examples of a respectable email hosting provider? mediatemple allows 500 mails an hour, thats like 16 hours to complete... do yo know any that allows something like 2000 emails an hour? –  sergiogx Dec 1 '09 at 20:08
    
I have used iContact in the past. They don't suck, they have an XML-API that is mostly ok. My only problem with them is that they don't support MIME-email, so I cannot include small images inline. –  Michael Graff Dec 1 '09 at 20:10
    
Two things... 1) Be VERY careful how fast you send out email. Too fast can get you banned temporarily (Yahoo loves to do this). 2) I suspect the reason constant contact doesn't allow small images inline is because that is starting to trigger more and more spam filters. Just guessing on #2 based on personal experience with my own newsletters. –  KPWINC Dec 2 '09 at 0:00
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The reason that your emails never made it to yahoo and hotmail is because you aren't making use of DomainKeys. As others have already suggested, you're better off using someone like ConstantContact or MailChimp. I have already recommended MailChimp to others here because I have about 1.5 years experience with them so far.

If you insist on doing this yourself, you're going to have to set up DomainKeys on your server

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You can decrease the probability that your email will be considered as SPAM by adopting some of the best practices (like SPF, DKIM, etc.)

To test how your Email server fares against these, try the Online test at http://www.allaboutspam.com/email-server-test.

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