OT: Mail list cleaning

Dan Carl danc at bluestarshows.com
Mon Mar 16 15:53:24 GMT 2009

Paul Welsh wrote:
> 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?
I use bulkmail-perl, it's not fancy but if you don't mind working from 
terminal. It does the job.
You can send both text and html messages with it. Then just put a link 
to a web page for people of unsubscribe.
If you have 50,000 email list thats old. I'd be really surprised if half 
of them are still valid.
A majority of people change their email addresses quite often for 
whatever reason.
You may want to try sending an email out to all of them with some kind 
of an incentive for them to reply back.
Then you'll have a "clean" list.

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