Are Your Subscribers Receiving Your Newsletter?


    In my e-mail one day, I received the following message:"Hello, I am a subscriber to your ezine and received the attached e-mail. Please advise if this is actually from your website. Thank you."

    The attachment was from my mailing list program. It wasinforming my dear subscriber that since her mail keptbouncing, "I`m not going to try again; this message has been in the queue too long."

    1. The Problem

    Basically, I was being accused of sending unsolicited commercial e-mail. This was a double opt-in subscriber. I don`t do spam!

    America Online, Inc. (AOL) had blocked my subscriber from receiving the e-zine she requested. About fifteen percent of my subscribers use an AOL e-mail address. Not only am I adversely affected, but my AOL subscribersare not getting their e-mails.

    In contacting AOL sales and technical support, I foundmyself against a brick wall. Although, I was repeatedlyoffered a free trial to their service, they were unableto help me regain my subscriber.

    "Why don`t you contact your subscriber and have themwhitelist your e-mail address?" How? All I haveis her AOL e-mail address and everything I send to herfails. Believe me, I`ve tried. (You could useanother e-mail address, I suppose, to trick AOL, butwhy should you have to?)

    Of course, they absolutely refused to remove the blockagainst me. (If you would like to learn more about AOL, try the search terms "AOL" and "AOL sucks" in a majorsearch engine.)

    By the way, it isn`t just AOL that is doing this. Someother major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are doingthe same thing. As well, some popular e-mail software programs also filter out wanted e-mails.

    2. Some Solutions

    If your subscribers are not receiving your newsletter, here are some things you can do to alleviate the problem.

    1. Warn your subscribers. On your newsletter signup page, explain why they might not receive your e-zine. Explain about e-mail filters; ask them to whitelist yourdomain, not only to bypass the ISP spam filters but also to allow mail through any e-mail software they may have.

    2. Try to avoid using words that trigger spam filters. Personally, I don`t like this one; it smacks of violatingmy right to free speech, freedom of the press, et cetera. (Yes, I know. With rights come responsibilities. However, I am acting responsibly!) As a practical matter, though, it`s something you have to consider. (I had my newsletter checked by a popular spam checker and it passed with flying colours.)

    3. Send a text e-mail informing your subscribers that the current issue of your newsletter is available online at your website. (It could also be a good moveto have an archive of past issues there, too, to boostyour content and search engine rankings).

    4. Consider using alternative ways of communicating. For example, you might try Really Simple Syndication (RSS).

    Oh, by the way, my replies (with read receipt requested) to my dear subscriber`s e-mail address appear to never have made it. To her I say: "If you`re out there somewhere, please re-subscribe. You might want to think about using a different e-mail address, though."



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