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Bulk Mail System

by existem (Sexton)
on Feb 18, 2005 at 11:11 UTC ( #432278=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

existem has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

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Tracking Email Views
by dorward (Curate) on Feb 18, 2005 at 11:37 UTC

    I'm going to focus on a small part of your query:

    We would like a solution that will let us send out HTML emails and then monitor who opens them etc.

    There are two ways to monitor who reads a message.

    First we have read receipts. These are useless as the majority of email clients are configured to ignore them (or don't implement RFC 2289 (which is not yet a standard) in the first place), and the majority of clients which aren't flash up a (very annoying) dialog box to ask the user if they want to send the receipt. Thus, the technique gives such inaccurate results as to be useless.

    Second, we have webbugs. This involves sticking an external image reference in an HTML formatted email with a unique tracking ID in the query string of the URI. Since most email clients block external images by default, and since people do read mail offline, the results are (again) inaccurate. It gets worse though, unique tracking IDs are a favoured technique of Evil Spammers (TM), so spam blocking software looks for the presence of webbugs and pushes the score of messages in which it finds them that bit closer to 'spam' (not that using HTML formatting in the first place helps in this regard). This makes webbugs worse then useless for such tracking.

    In a nutshell you can't get good results and you can't get bad results without annoying your readers - so forget about tracking.

    Oh, and as an aside, if you want mailing list software, I suggest Mailman (even though it isn't Perl).

      Or to bring this more toward Perl, how about Siesta which can also be found on CPAN.


        or sympa -
Re: Bulk Mail System
by fraktalisman (Hermit) on Feb 18, 2005 at 12:15 UTC

    What you can do: if you have any links inside the mail, add a token to them that you can count by a script, like
    These are people who actively click on a link, i.e. they are potentially interested in your content.
    People who aren't, can't and shouldn't be counted, like dorward just pointed out. You won't get the accurate number, and you're going to bother them.

    As a sender of bulk mail, you should be extremely careful about what you do, otherwise you will find your company in spam filtering lists quickly. Email marketing already has a very bad reputation these days, so please be careful not to make things worse!

Re: Bulk Mail System
by neilwatson (Priest) on Feb 18, 2005 at 14:02 UTC
    I wrote this application for mailing newletters where I work. It does not handle receipts but, I think the effort in doing so is not worth the gains. Face it, with SPAM so high these days, most recipients are unlikely to read what you send them.

    Neil Watson

      thanks for the advice, I think we might end up going for an off the shelf solution, we found this don't know if anyone has used it, but it certainly looks like it should do the job.

      cheers, Tom

      >> Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open <<
      - Sir James Dewar, Scientist (1877-1925)
      Existem Ltd

        $500 for emailing software? I think I'm doing the wrong work. I didn't think people actualy paid for that stuff ;) No Offence to you, I just realy didn't think people bought those things. /me considers producing such software....hmmm.

        Eric Hodges
Re: Bulk Mail System
by Anonymous Monk on Feb 21, 2005 at 11:57 UTC
    I welcome your usage of HTML for bulk email. I wish all bulk email would use HTML. Since I junk all HTML email I get automatically, I wouldn't see any spam. ;-).

    False positives you say? Well, there was one guy who used to send HTML email I did want to keep. It was just a matter of whitelisting him - but since then, he has been enlightned (clue by fours are such useful devices) and doesn't sent HTML email anymore anyway.

    I guess many people call be old-fashioned, but for me, mail is plain text ASCII, and nothing else.

Re: Bulk Mail System
by FitTrend (Pilgrim) on Feb 18, 2005 at 13:39 UTC
Re: Bulk Mail System
by existem (Sexton) on Feb 18, 2005 at 12:10 UTC
    thanks for the response, Mailman looks good. Does it support HTML emails though? I can't see any reference to this on their site, although the list of sites using the software is impressive ;) ps. just wondering why this post has a minus reputation? Is this bad? Should I have not posted? sorry if thats the case.

      It is a mailling list manager - it doesn't care about the content of the messages :-)


        ah ok thats cool then, thanks

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