Automatic Email Broadcast Solution?


#1

Seeing as how I’ve outgrown the SEND QUOTA limit on my Dreamhost account, I need to start looking into other options to send my daily emails out.

Previously they had been sent via the php mail() function, but with the majority of my subscribers requesting an email in the same hour, I quickly surpassed the 500/hour limit.

My emails are automatically generated, which don’t allow me the ability to use Dreamhost’s Announce List (must log in to the control panel and send a manual email from there).

Does anyone know of a system out there that will allow for re-broadcasting of emails to a list of subscribers, and if so will it do it automatically without any manual logging in/intervention?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


#2

I understand completely. Unfortunately, the changing landscape of email today, in the face of spammers, has made what you are doing pretty difficult to outsource anymore. I don’t know of any reputable third-party service that still does this kind of thing, or I’d be happy to point you to them.

This is one of the reasons that more and more of the kind of synopsis communication you are talking about is now done via RSS subscriptions and folks who follow these kinds of activities are beginning to rely so much on the feeds.

Even if you set up and use your own mailservers to send the mail, and your subscribers want to receive it, many of the large ISPs just refuse to accept and deliver this kind of mail reliably, as it can be very difficult to stay of everyone’s blacklist.

Even our own status blog, which would be a perfect example of a legitimate use of this kind of an email (you subscribe to a synopsis for a daily update) has moved to a purely RSS notification model (and did so quite a long time ago).

I suggest looking at RSS for the way to do this. It is the way the future is going, and the pain of converting those email subscribers to RSS feed subscribers is less, I feel, than the pain by trying to keep mass mailing subscribers every morning (which is only get to get harder as time goes on).

Email just isn’t the best way to do this anymore. I’ll grant you, it is a hard change to adapt to, and some readers will resist, but with some things change is inevitable.

I think that until “email” as we know it is “fixed” (if that is even possible) RSS, or other syndication formats, is the best way to go today to keep large numbers of people regularly informed.

–rlparker
–DreamHost Tech Support


#3

Try a Discussion list. With some creative moderation and permissions, it behaves much like an announce list.
http://wiki.dreamhost.com/KB_/Account_Control_Panel/Mail::_Discussion_Lists

-Scott


#4

rlparker, RSS isn’t always a solution, and it’s an awfully pat answer to be giving as a DH rep.

Why aren’t there any command-line hooks for managing announce-lists from within an application? Why can’t announce-lists be stored in a read-only database? I’ve voted for every relevant suggestion in the Panel, but short of that, I’m not sure what I can do…


#5

Of course RSS, or other syndication, is not always a solution in every case, but I believe it is the best solution in many cases (whether you feel it was a “pat” answer of not). :wink:

We are primarily a web hosting service provider, not a bulk email service provider, and, while we are pleased that what mailing services we offer are useful to a large majority of our customers, we understand that our services will not meet everyone’s needs for email.

We provide no command line hooks at all for our account control panel driven services, and this one is no different. You can script using cURL to provide some of this if you have the expertise, and the patience to deal with account control panel changes that could break your code without notice, but that’s about the best you can manage as we do not publish an API for our account control panel. Some of this has been done, and has been discussed (with working “proof of concept” code) in these forums.

Frankly, I think that is a painful way to approach this, because things in our account control panel change pretty often.

I can’t answer your “why” questions; there are a lot of different ways of implementing anything - our web panel developers have various considerations to take into account when deciding how to implement something. In the case of Announcement lists, one of the over-riding concerns is to not compromise our Announce List’s compliance with our anti-spam and mailing policies, so this is an important consideration.

Suggestions are about all any of us can do when it comes to these things (myself included), but my sense of it is that it is unlikely that you will see changes that will make it easier to send greater quantities of email, with less control of an authorized account control panel user, from our servers. That’s just my feel for the situation, and not an “official” statement; but I’ve been around here for a long time, and I feel pretty confident that I am reading the lay of the land correctly on this. :wink:

–rlparker
–DreamHost Tech Support


#6

Thanks for your insight.

DH’s strict anti-spam measures are certainly commendable…it’s frustrating though that there are only cludgy ways to integrate DH’s established bulk email services into a DH-hosted web application.


#7

I must admit that to my way of thinking, if 500 Emails per hour is not enough for you, I wonder if SPAM is part of your vocabulary???

I am curious to know what you are doing that requires so many announcements via Email?

In any event, the RSS suggestion is a practical one. I would like to add that you can have a Blog, even a non-DreamHost Blog, which can be used for announcements, or status updates in the event that you experience any down time. By using a free Blog, with a link from your main page that can be bookmarked, anyone can read it if they wish to do so, in the same manner as an Email. Although you can have a Blog on a DreamHost account, the advantage to locating it elsewhere is that you will not be adding to your Bandwidth usage or CPU resources.


#8

My firm is creating an internal knowledge sharing network. My firm belongs to an industry association, and employees of the other member firms will also be able to subscribe to the network. Notices/updates from the network will be sporadic, but will be valuable in the moment (think of something like a stock price crossing a certain threshold). Many of the hundreds of people who need to be reached are not office-based, and have little more than a Blackberry-type smartphone.

An RSS feed or a blog works is a good way to reach people who have regular access to a proper computer. An RSS feed or blog also works well when things–and not particularly time-sensitive things at that–are published regularly, as people will start to expect the updates and check for anything new without prompting.

I don’t have a budget for this project, and am therefore limited to using tools already at my disposal.

Given these cicumstances, using a DH announce list is the best option I’ve come up with thus far, and I don’t see how a blog or an RSS feed is a viable means of meeting these needs.

Despite what your nickname claims, there’s very little wisdom in jumping to accusatory–or, at the very least, suggestive–conclusions.


#9

Well, Peter Schwartz, regardless of my nom de plume, I won’t resort to name calling, as there is nothing to be gained by that on this forum.

I really was curious to know how a new user could have a need for over 500 Emails per hour.

My comment was actually intended for the originator of this thread, but it may apply to you as well.
I merely responded to the last post in the thread.

Perhaps I am not “wise enough” to know how a firm can not have budget for this project, but have such a large clientele with a need for such huge amounts of Email.

In any event, I do agree with the suggestion that was made by DreamHost Tech Support.
One other possibility that could be used in combination with a website at DreamHost are mobile phone updates via Twitter, although they do limit one to 146 characters per message. Another option is a free or paid account at Box.net, which is a virtual online server. Paid versions have options for mobile phone applications. The free version provides up to 1 GB of online storage space, (shared or private), which can also be good as a backup for files from a DreamHost website.
http://www.box.net/info/anywhere-access