OT: Mail list cleaning

Alex Neuman alex at rtpty.com
Mon Mar 16 19:01:08 GMT 2009

My ESP advisor reads peoples minds ;-)

On Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 12:24 PM, Alex Broens <ms-list at alexb.ch> wrote:

> On 3/16/2009 4:53 PM, Dan Carl wrote:
>> 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.
> and possibly be blacklisted if you hit traps - what you want to do is
> technically simple - but the methods and possible outcome are not trivial.
> Get advice from a decent ESP before you ruin your reputation.
> (sadly ESPs standards are falling and they're all letting their pants down
> for a buck)
> have fun.
> Alex
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Alex Neuman van der Hans
Reliant Technologies
+507 6781-9505
+507 202-1525
alex at rtpty.com
Skype: alexneuman
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