OT: Mail list cleaning

Jason Ede J.Ede at birchenallhowden.co.uk
Sat Mar 14 17:46:27 GMT 2009

> -----Original Message-----
> From: mailscanner-bounces at lists.mailscanner.info [mailto:mailscanner-
> bounces at lists.mailscanner.info] On Behalf Of Paul Welsh
> Sent: 14 March 2009 15:10
> To: mailscanner at lists.mailscanner.info
> Subject: Re: OT: Mail list cleaning
> Thanks for the responses, everyone.
> To give some background, the company I work for has about 50,000
> customer email addresses collected over years but not used yet.  The
> idea is to start using them.  The customers were told we'd be sending
> marketing material by email but it was on the basis of "we will email
> you unless you write to us" basis - this was part of their finance
> agreement with us.
> The Marketing dept said wanted to "clean" the list before emailing all
> the customers to tell them about our soon-to-be-launched new web site,
> hence the idea of checking the addresses.
> My initial response was to send the message and clean the list on the
> basis of the bounce backs and unsubscribe requests.
> I did find a few $30 type apps on the web such as email verifier here
> - www.maxprog.com.  You can import a file of addresses and the app
> then does an MX lookup and then an SMTP helo, mail from and rcpt to on
> each address.  The results can be exported to a tab delimited file.
> All well and good I thought, but then I saw the excludes list and
> noted that nearly all the popular providers like Yahoo, BTOpenWorld,
> AOL, etc, were excluded.  It dawned on me that these providers don't
> do any address checking prior to accepting a message for delivery -
> presumably to circumvent spammers using dictionary attacks to figure
> out which addresses are valid.
> It strikes me that we need a "proper" mailing list application to
> process the bounce backs and unsubscribes.  Any suggestions?  Is
> unsubscribing via a web link the way to go these days?

For mailing list applications we used to use mailman, which is ok, but the bounce handling in it isn't great (or didn't use to be!). Now we use sympa, which takes a fair bit more configuring, but seems to do the job nicely and you can have multiple outgoing smtp gateways linked in with it. Both of these you can just cut and paste a list into them. Just make sure you have an unsubscribe link that works and an abuse@ mailbox in case anybody gets irate.


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