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261241Re: Email service providers

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  • Bryan Allen
    Dec 30, 2009
      | On 2009-12-30 10:43:48, Port Able wrote:
      | I am currently consulting for a small retailer. They have been using
      | an online email service provider for the past few years to blast
      | personalized emails to their customers (opt-in, and 100-200 thousand
      | emails at a time). They have asked me to see if we can install an
      | email server in house to accomplish the same thing and eliminate the
      | monthly costs. I am fairly familiar with Linux/Unix and with databases
      | (mysql and postgresql). I have not done anything with Sendmail or
      | Postfix but feel comfortable following the documentation. I have also
      | ordered the two books that I could find on Postfix.
      | My questions
      | are: has anyone used Postfix for this purpose? Do the online ESP's
      | develop their own email servers? Do any of them use Sendmail,
      | Postfix or qmail?

      I work for an ESP who provides email forwarding, storage, and as a seperate
      service, email marketing and mailing lists.

      We use Postfix; as other commenters have said, it's a (very good) delivery
      mechanism. But: It doesn't generate messages, just ensures they get where
      they're going.

      Working with Postfix as a delivery platform is very pleasant. It's easy to
      configure, extremely stable, well-documented, the code is super clean, and
      wrapping your application around it is quite easy.

      Our mailing list software is developed in-house. We used to use mailman (almost
      a decade ago?), but it's very limited for email marketing purposes.

      Some general suggestions:

      Keep your streams clear: Never mix IPs sending misc non-bulk mail with IPs
      sending bulk mail. This does not mean snowshoe, but you don't want your CEO's
      mail getting bounced to his best buddy at gmail because gmail now hates your
      marketing dept.

      PTRs are important.

      Sign up for every FBL you can. Track bounces. Never resub someone who has
      unsubscribed from your lists.

      SPF and DKIM matter to varying degrees.

      Some MXes you deliver to will want to be coddled (specific delivery settings).

      IP reputation is key. You have to grow it. Blasting Yahoo with 200k messages in
      5 minutes is going to cause headaches for everyone involved.

      If you end up on a blacklist, treat the operators with respect. Giving them
      crap is not going to help anyone.

      Engaging in scummy behavior for a short-term win is going to screw you
      long-term. Your marketing dept may not understand that; you'll have to stand
      firm with them. Do no let them buy email address lists.

      Delivering email, especially for marketing purposes, is very complex. If it
      isn't your core competency I would suggest outsourcing it to a dedicated ESP.
      cyberpunk is dead. long live cyberpunk.
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