It's not spam, I swear.
August 15, 2006 2:52 PM   Subscribe

I need to buy a HTML email program

I am in dire need to create HTML emails with text, hyperlinks, and with pictures to send out to subscribers, so not technically spam. But i don't want to have to pay every time i send (about 5C per email plus whatever fees there are) as there are over 1000 address and i will be sending them out periodically throughout the day. Any suggestions for a Mac compatible product? I have checked out Jangomail and Mailchimp and they are not what I am looking for.
posted by dieguido to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You don't need a special mail program to send HTML-encoded email. Just compose your HTML using something like FrontPage, and then copy and paste the HTML source into an email to send it.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:11 PM on August 15, 2006

What Steven C said.

But do you really need to send HTML? That really ticks some people off.
posted by lemonfridge at 3:22 PM on August 15, 2006

But do you really need to send HTML? That really ticks some people off.

As does this...

i will be sending them out periodically throughout the day
posted by matthewr at 3:24 PM on August 15, 2006

Steven's absolutely right. Most email programs will let you compose HTML messages, though you should take his advice and use an HTML composition prgram (like the free NVU) to generate the content if you want to have more layout control.

Where are you getting this 5c per email + fees figure, just out of curiosity. Does your ISP levy a fee or something for all the email you send?
posted by wejones at 3:32 PM on August 15, 2006

I've not used it - but have seen the webpage. $60, and has some form of download trial available.
posted by devbrain at 3:33 PM on August 15, 2006

If you're up for installing it on your webserver, phplist has been very good to me w/ a ~2k person HTML-mail list I maintain ... plus it lets people opt-in/out via web interface, which is good
posted by bhance at 3:37 PM on August 15, 2006

pay every time i send (about 5C per email plus whatever fees there are)


Email is still free, last I checked.
posted by reklaw at 3:38 PM on August 15, 2006

Actually, HTML e-mail isn't just e-mail containing HTML. Even if you're just using HTML for text formatting, the message needs to have a "Content-type: text/html" header, which your mail tool may or may not automagically add if it sees only HTML in the message. But you should be sending the HTML as one part of a MIME multipart/alternative message, with a text-only part for non-HTML-capable mail readers to show. And if you want to include images, you either have to host them on a Web server somewhere or include them as MIME parts with Content-ID headers in a multipart/related message that nests the multipart/alternative HTML and text as the first part, and in the HTML links to the images using cid: URLs.

You can do this pretty easily in Perl if you're a programmer, but you probably want a program to automate all that. Apparently Apple Mail 2 "uses the Safari engine to format newly composed email using HTML", but I'm not sure how you go about it.
posted by nicwolff at 3:46 PM on August 15, 2006

Or, devbrain's recommendation of Maildrop looks like a good one.
posted by nicwolff at 3:49 PM on August 15, 2006

Some ISPs will block you from sending bulk email. Call your provider to check. There is software for sending mass emails, like newsletters. I've seen one called Mach V is use by a Development (fundraising) office. Searching for it gets lots of ads for similar Windows (sorry) products.

You can format mail as valid HTML in most emal programs, including Thunderbird, but HTML in email is unwelcome in my inbox.
posted by theora55 at 4:03 PM on August 15, 2006

I know lots of folks who swear by Campaign Monitor for this exact task. And odinsdream's protestations aside, most normal/mainstream Internet users expect HTML mail from the companies they do business with; It's seen as more produced/polished and therefore more professional.

The point about messages sometimes not being displayed as intended still stands, though, as discussed extensively in this article, which is (not so coincidentally) written by one of the Campaign Monitor guys. I don't have any affiliation with them, and have never used the service, but it seems like what you're looking for.
posted by anildash at 4:19 PM on August 15, 2006

for a local client i highly recommend

have used it for years and love it. awesome support.
posted by pallen123 at 4:21 PM on August 15, 2006

Newsletter is freeware, a snap to use and works with the OS X or Entourage address book, or you can use a Filemaker database. I had problems sending directly but you can also send using Entourage.
posted by tellurian at 6:51 PM on August 15, 2006

At work (we have a legitimate contact list and reason for sending out several thousand emails at once every month or so, thank you) we use groupmail. Easy to use, easy to compose emails in it (though i usually hand code). I'd add that hotmail and yahoo require inline styling (more or less), and that while the outlook preview deal in groupmail works, most clients strip out the head.
posted by shownomercy at 7:54 PM on August 15, 2006

Thunderbird is great and offers you the choice of plain tgexgt or html with every email. you can configure it how you want, and you can load as many extentions as you want. i embed flash and music, pictures, ect all time.

thunderbird - its free.

but you said Mac... hrm. i dont know how well thunderbird runs on Mac.

posted by Davaal at 8:06 PM on August 15, 2006

Same as shownomercy: we also send out (opted in) newsletters every fortnight or so and use Groupmail. It's pretty perfect; after the initial cost, all you're paying for is your connection time, which if you're on broadband/a company is zero.

You can do what you like in it, including using filters to send text only mail to those who wish (and yes, you will hear people describe all HTML email as a pox on humanity, but that's just daft. Bad HTML email possibly, but the vast majority of 'normal' people (i.e. our customers/clients) would rather recieve a nicely formatted email with pictures and pretty colours). It also has bonus features and plugins to manage subscription, send SMS messages etc.

Oh; one thing is: the information at MailChimp is really useful in terms of composing cross-platform HTML emails, although only if you can write your own HTML.
posted by Hartster at 1:51 AM on August 16, 2006

You should consider making an RSS feed instead, and giving people information about how to subscribe to it using a feed reader (like Bloglines online, or Thunderbird).

For content that comes out several times a day, a feed is a much nicer way to do it, because it changes the metaphor from "push" (you're pushing this content out to people's inboxes, like it or not) to "pull" (people are pulling the content on their own schedule). That's a better model for distributing information in general, because it respects people's (virtual) space. Additionally, you'll have a MUCH higher delivery rate, because you'll eliminate the spam filter problem (since feeds are pull-based, there's no such thing as spam, because you control which feeds you look at).

Plus, if you use Feedburner to create the feed, it actually gives people the option to get it delivered via email instead, thus meeting your original objective.
posted by ivarley at 6:50 AM on August 16, 2006

If you really are sending out multiple emails a day, I think ivarley's idea about turning it into a RSS feed is the way to go.

An easy way to create the email is to use a Mac WYSIWYG editor. I've been really happy with nvu (open-source, free as in beer).

As far as actually sending the message out, I've had great luck using dada mail to manage (legitimate) mailing lists of up to 3k people. You'd have to install it on your webserver.
posted by wearyaswater at 8:12 AM on August 16, 2006

Direct Mail. I've recommended it to several clients, of various levels of web- and computer-savvy, and they've all been really happy with it. It's straightforward, doesn't have a zillion confusing options you're never going to use, lives on your Mac so you don't have to mess with any server stuff, and costs about $30.
posted by sonofslim at 8:27 AM on August 16, 2006

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