How to send emails to all our customers


#1

We’ve been users of Dreamhost for over 5 years, and have over 1000 customers that have purchased products on our site, but we’ve never sent a group email out to all of them.

How does one send an email to all of ones customers without getting into trouble with Dreamhost’s limits on numbers of email/hour.

Can someone point us in the right direction to where we can learn how to set this up?

many thanks!


#2

The best, and probably the only, way to pretty much guarantee avoiding potential spamming issues under the TOS is by using the DH supplied Announce Lists.

You can configure them within the Control Panel (under the “Mail” menu), and learn more about them there, or in the DH wiki:

http://wiki.dreamhost.com/KB_/Account_Control_Panel/Mail::_Announce_Lists
http://wiki.dreamhost.com/KB_/Web_Programming/_CGI,_PHP,and_Databases/_Announcement_Mailing_List

–rlparker


#3

Lets say we have a database of all customers, maybe through Zen Cart or similar.

If I “imported” my customers into the announce list, each one would receive an email asking their permission to sign up…

Is there a way to avoid this?

Better still is there a way to auto-enrol them via a script or SOAP interface?

I could see anything relevant to answer these questions in the Wiki.

Cheers,
Karl

web design, development & seo by DigitalVibe


#4

You need a way to make it opt-in to meet the TOS. Flooding them with signup requests may run afoul of spamming rules here. You’d be sunk if some of these people would start complaining.

If you already have a webspace all of these people visit, you’d have to post a Subscribe link to build up your mailing list.

-Scott


#5

[quote]If I “imported” my customers into the announce list, each one would receive an email
asking their permission to sign up…

Is there a way to avoid this?[/quote]
Not that I know of, and still remain completely compliant with the DH Anti-spam policy.

They consider it a “NEW” list, and require a confirmed opt-in. I’m assuming you saw this article.

In addition to the Anti-Spam policy, and the Wiki, the information at the DreamHost Abuse Center regarding SPAM/UBE might help you understand their thinking on this.

All that said, I am unable to use the DH announcement list system with my clients in most cases, as there is presently no way to have them confirm their opt-in to an address at my clients’ domains (all confirmation links are to a "@dreamhost.com" address, and that is a major issue for many because:

  1. It can appear to the user that your site’s privacy policy is being ignored ("WTF? I subscribed to girlygoatsgonewild.com’s newsletter, and they promised they wouldn’t share my email address, and now I’m being asked to confirm to some “DreamHost.com thing! Who is DreamHost.com and why should they have my email address?”)

  2. It looks extremely unprofessional

–rlparker


#6

Thanks, rlparker. I’m checking out those links now.

Much appreciated.


#7

What a shame…

Is there anything you would advise as a third party service, paid or free? - Ideally something that can act “transparently” so it still looks like it’s coming from your own domain?

I could write my own system using cron to send 70 an hour (allowing for 30 per hour across the domain for staff to consume as normal email service), but with a client list of just 5000, that’d take 71 hours to send to everyone…

Cheers,
Karl

web design, development & seo by DigitalVibe


#8

Those are probably out there, but I have no personal experience with one such that I would recommend it.

One of my clients uses a third-party shopping cart “service” primarily because they provide a mass mail manager as an “add-on”. The service is outrageously expensive for what it does, IMO, but the client thinks it is worth it because he can also manage his newsletters there.

For myself, I’m pushing RSS subscriptions as a more manageable alternative, and I think they are really a better way of doing this than "mass mail. I do realize, however, that for many it will be a long time before RSS is as heavily used, and relied upon, as email. :wink:

–rlparker


#9

Third Party mailers also typically follow the same anti-spam guidelines as DH. Your users will still have to opt-in to the mailing list.

-Scott


#10

We’re currently using www.constantcontact.com as our email marketing solution.

You can add the emails in yourself (although the TOS need you to confirm that all have agreed to be included in the list) and you can also have people subscribe to the list by putting a link on your website.

They monthly charges are quite reasonable, based on number of subsrcibers and they have a plethora of templates that you can use.

I suppose what you can do is a one off email to everybody manually telling them that you will be adding their email to an email marketing list, and asking them to reply if they wish to opt out.

I was looking at the announcement lists, and it does say that if you already have a confirmed list, you can contact DH with that list and they may be able to set up the list for you without sending the initial confirmation email. Not sure what they will need as proof

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#11

Can’t find the newsletter subscription link on that site.

Hook me up rl !! :wink:


#12

Remember that you’re required to comply with Dreamhosts provable double-opt-in email policies even if you use a third-party email solution if it’s for a Dreamhost-hosted site. Here’s a quote from the Dreamhost anti-spam policy:

[quote]1. Recipients must specifically ask to be placed on your distribution list (“opt-in”).
2. Recipients must confirm their intent to be placed on your distribution list (“opt-in confirmation”).
3. You must be able to prove that the opt-in confirmation occurred (provide date/time/IP logging of confirmations).[/quote]

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#13

How do you get on then if you have a general website registration form with a checkbox labelled “Tick this box if you would like to receive our email newsletter.”?

Does that not constitute acceptance?

I’d be pretty peeved if i signed up, ticked the box, then got an email saying “do you REALLY want to sign up to this newsletter? Reply to blah@dreamhost.com”.

Clients want transparency, and as was said earlier in the thread, replying to a dreamhost address look unprofessional, and they’ve technically already agreed.

Cheers,
Karl

web design, development & seo by DigitalVibe


#14

Caveat: I don’t do bulk mailings so I don’t have any personal experience with this.

I suspect that double opt-in is needed because anyone can submit your email address on a website for subscription to a newsletter, but only the actual email user can confirm their desire to receive mail from an email sent to that address.

It can be a “click here to confirm you want to receive this newsletter” kind of thing. That seems pretty professional to me!

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#15

That part is professional, but the lack of professionalism i was referring to comes into play when you have your “we won’t share you details” text, then the next thing the customer is being asked to verify their opt-in by replying to dreamhost.com, not the site they signed up through.

It’s a shame we can’t create our own email alises which forward the newsletter subscription confirmation to dreamhost so that the customer confirms by emailing a special address at your own domain.

Cheers,
Karl

web design, development & seo by DigitalVibe


#16

[quote]How do you get on then if you have a general website registration form with a checkbox labelled “Tick this box if you would like to receive our email newsletter.”?

Does that not constitute acceptance?

I’d be pretty peeved if i signed up, ticked the box, then got an email saying “do you REALLY want to sign up to this newsletter? Reply to blah@dreamhost.com”.[/quote]
Wouldn’t you be more peeved if no one used double opt-in… and someone signed you up for 1,000 spam letters, checking the box on your behalf? :stuck_out_tongue:

Anything less than double opt-in is asking for a spam-related termination.

Anyone can check a box and enter an email address… but only the recipient of the email can confirm the action.

Having confirmation through the email that’s entered is the only way to prove that person signed up.

Having said all that, I’ve never bothered with any mailing lists because even legit ones are going to get spam reports. There are people out there that (even though they signed up) seem to think the proper unsubscribe method is to start forwarding the announcements to spamcop.net instead of simply unsubscribing.

Basically, I think spammers using “unsubscribe” to confirm that you’re a good victim has made some people stop using the feature, even when they know it’s legit.


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#17

Yeah, sorry, it’s not the confirmation email i have an issue with per se. It’s more the fact that the confirmation comes from “another website”… that being Dreamhost.

If the opt-in was subscribe@mydomain.com, i wouldn’t have an issue.

Indeed security and user protection is paramount.

Cheers,
Karl

web design, development & seo by DigitalVibe


#18

I was just generally speaking… to cover those that were thinking about the third-party option. :wink:

Maybe see if there’s a third-party that will work with you based on your own double opt-in list?

Not sure if it’s an option, since you could just create a fake DB full of people you want to spam… but if it is okay, then there shouldn’t be a problem with using your own scripts to collect the required info using your own domain, then maybe importing it elsewhere.

Another option, though it seems somewhat sneaky & could be a spammer trick (?), would be to dedicate an entirely different domain to your list & host that wherever the processing will be done.

So, if your company’s name is Google, you could create a domain for handling mail and call it something like Gmail.com. Wasn’t that an awesome display of creativity on my part? :stuck_out_tongue: Not your name, but could be branded to it… and at least it’s not your host’s name.

Plus, having a separate domain would also give you the control to move it elsewhere, if you want to change mailing services, and not have to worry about the rest of your site.

Personally… I think if I had the urge to do any type of mailing list, I’d go the RSS route instead, like rlparker said.


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#19

[quote]it’s not the confirmation email i have an issue with per se. It’s more the fact that the confirmation comes from “another website”… that being Dreamhost.

If the opt-in was subscribe@mydomain.com, i wouldn’t have an issue.[/quote]
Actually, you can set it up so that it the subscribe address “is on your website” easily enough, but what you can’t do is alter the link that is included in the confirmation email, which is a link to a url at “dreamhost.com”, and they have to “click” to confirm.

It’s more like the confirmation “goes to” another website; which is just as bad, or even worse, then the other way around. :wink:

–rlparker


#20

That is most certainly not compliant with the DH Anti-Spam policy.

They do allow you to do a “one off email to every one” on an existing list to tell them of the “new” list, but it must inform them they will not be added to the list if they do not opt-in, and it can’t be left as an opt out.

If they don’t specifically “opt-in”, and confirm, then they must be removed from the list.

–rlparker