How do I send a broadcast e-mail?
August 15, 2005 12:09 PM   Subscribe

I want to send an e-mail to 2000+ people who entered their address on my website and opted-in to receiving occasional mailings. I just have the list of addresses in excel. I thought that I could just copy-and-paste them into BCC in outlook, but there are too many to fit in the box. What do I do?
posted by TurkishGolds to Technology (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Send out more than one e-mail?
posted by Robot Johnny at 12:18 PM on August 15, 2005

Response by poster: I want to send the same e-mail to 2000+ recipients. At some point in the future, I'm going to want to do the same thing.
posted by TurkishGolds at 12:20 PM on August 15, 2005

I think RJ means that you could send to the first, say, 500, then to the next 500, etc.

Can you import them all as a contact list into Outlook and then send to that contact?
posted by some chick at 12:25 PM on August 15, 2005

There is a whole cottage industry for this kind of software. I don't have any specific recommendations, as I don't live in the Windows world, but I'm sure there are a ton of cheap-or-free apps that can take a list of emails and do what you want.
posted by mkultra at 12:32 PM on August 15, 2005

If you do a big mailing that way, whether it's 100, 500 or 200 BCCs, a lot of spam detecting filters, such as AOL's , will automatically reject the lot, and quite possibly blacklist your sending address as well.

What you need to do is sign up with a third-party message service. Their servers will send out individual messages properly timed so they don't set off alarms. Or you can get software to do that yourself. Just Google "opt in bulk email". Specific suggestions will follow, I'm sure.
posted by beagle at 12:36 PM on August 15, 2005

If you're willing to spend a little money, I would recommend using CampaignMonitor.
posted by silusGROK at 12:37 PM on August 15, 2005

Response by poster: Any suggestions for FREE software that will help me accomplish this?
posted by TurkishGolds at 12:40 PM on August 15, 2005

worldcast ( used to be free for non-commercial use--not sure if it still is. i used it a few times with much success
posted by mdpc98 at 12:41 PM on August 15, 2005

Your web host may offer some sort of "announcement" list or mailing list. I know that dreamhost (no referral code cuz that's lame) has announcement lists specifically for the sort of one-way mailings you are describing, as well as regular (mailman) mailing lists, where you could add everyone, and they could manage their subscribe status from then on.
posted by misterbrandt at 12:43 PM on August 15, 2005

My boyfriend set me up with Dada Mail for my mailing list. It's free.
posted by KathyK at 12:58 PM on August 15, 2005

I use Dreamhost for web hosting and a ton of email lists. One is over 3000 subscribers and they're mailed to every week. I use their Announce list tool. All of the subscribing and unsubscribing is done via a web form. It's pretty easy and excellent. Bounces are taken care of without me needing to do anything.
posted by jdl at 1:15 PM on August 15, 2005

Nothing can reject you based on the BCC you use. It's blind. As in, the recipients, and the recipient's mail servers, do not get to see it. If you have 100 BCCs, 100 seperate emails will get generated and sent to each of them.

I use majordomo for stuff like this, but it's unixy and it's not exactly what you want anyway. But there are doubtless lots and lots of windows things too. majordomo is nice because it allows users to sign themselves up, remove themselves, etc, and it's 2-way: users can send emails to everyone on the list. It's free.
posted by RustyBrooks at 1:20 PM on August 15, 2005

Don't do the outlook thing. You will get banned for sending bulk mail as above. And It'll be heck managing all the subscribes and unsubscribes for a 2,000 emailing list. Plus you want to make the emails nice looking

I'm a big fan of constant contact. It's about the most common sense one I've seen. Plu it gives you stats on who opens your emails - a lot lower than you think, sometimes just 20-25% of the list. And then you will know who's opening every time, who clicks on links, who really cares.

I had a LYris list server and felt like I needed to be a techie to make use of the features.

It cost about $30 a month for that size list, I believe.
posted by brucec at 1:23 PM on August 15, 2005

If you really don't want to set up a mailing list on your web site using something like Mailman (which you should; it's the best way of doing this and most hosting companies offer it), then you can either do Mail Merge as has been recommended above, or you can download a program like this to send your 2000 mails from a list of addresses in a text file.

Two problems with this approach:
1) It sends each mail separately. This could take some time.
2) Your ISP may have some alert for someone sending out something like 2000 messages in a short span of time, usually to flag possible spammers.
posted by madman at 1:28 PM on August 15, 2005

I use Ecartis for all my mailing list needs (Mailman is the spawn of satan). It's also Unixy, though, so may be more of an investment in time/effort than you're willing to spend. Announcement-only lists are trivial to set up, though, and importing your address list won't be a problem (export them to a text file, one per line).

If you have any scripting/programming skills, it's pretty simple to write a script that sends a text file to as many users as you like. You'd probably have done it already if you were so inclined, but maybe you can coerce someone.

As for rejecting on BCC's, that's unlikely. The recipient's mail servers will get to see that you're sending a single email to multiple recipients on the same domain, but it's doubtful they'll consider this anything special since it's common behavior for most legitimate mass-mailing software too (plus you'll probably not have *that* many on a single domain). Just make sure you're using a reputable mail relay (your ISP's should do fine) and make sure the mail is structured well enough that people are unlikely to report you as a spammer.
posted by Freaky at 1:33 PM on August 15, 2005

I'll second Dada Mail... I've had good luck with that. Or, if you don't want to mess with installing and configuring anything, you really can't beat MailChimp for user-friendly simplicity.
posted by spilon at 1:38 PM on August 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

Nothing can reject you based on the BCC you use. It's blind. As in, the recipients, and the recipient's mail servers, do not get to see it.

This is incorrect. The recipient's mail server certainly gets to see at least one of the recipients listed in the Bcc -- otherwise it would not know how to deliver the message.

One recipient won't see another recipient's address, but every mail server will know about all the recipients it receives the message for -- and with things like AOL and Hotmail and Comcast that can be a lot of users, and they'll notice the pattern pretty quickly.
posted by mendel at 2:03 PM on August 15, 2005

posted by Vidiot at 2:24 PM on August 15, 2005

Two solutions: Constant Contact (handles the whole list, tracking, subscriptions etc) or MailChimp (just handles the sending part)
posted by blag at 4:19 PM on August 15, 2005

I was just looking for an answer to this question today for an html newsletter i want to do, and couldn't get onto ask.mefi! Here are my results worth noting, none of them tested yet:

3rd party sources:

1. Mailworx which is a downloadable application (windows only i believe)

2. Constant Contact mentioned previously

3. And then there is Topica

the main thing that annoys me about all of the above is their branding added onto the mail, in addition to subscription charges.

I started digging into some php-based open source solutions and found:

1. Dada Mail also previously mentioned above

2. Phplist which looks promising

3. and PHP multiple newsletters which for some reason didn't like my browser so much on their demo page.
posted by freq at 5:04 PM on August 15, 2005

If you're a programmer, I suggest Python. The standard packages include e-mail support. I created something similar to what you want, from pig-ignorant to completed project, in about half an hour.
posted by SPrintF at 6:33 PM on August 15, 2005

I use GroupMail for my mailing list [ recommended in a past AskMe] which is good as although there is an initial charge for the software, that's it (apart from the time you need to be online to send the emails), no monthly charges or charges per 1000 email, which was the barrier for me (15,000+, twice a month).
posted by Hartster at 1:45 AM on August 16, 2005

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