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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    879
    Plugin Contributions
    1

    Default Re: Newsletters-When to Hit the Bigtime

    I've had a request for a more flexible and ISP friendly newsletter solution. I looked at a bunch of open source solutions and it looks like we are going to go with phplist.

    It has many features for subscribing, sending and formatting email and subscription screens.

    Big plus is that it can be configured to batch and throttle large lists to fit into your ISPs email policy. ie: so many emails pr/hour, delay between emails, length of batch 'window' (how many emails pr batch over time)

    Good bounce handling, admin, and its FREE!!!

    Integrates very well as EZ-Pages.

    Can selectively email customers based on criteria you define. (very cool)

    There is a third party Zen Cart mod for this (link from phplist web site) but it seems a little buggy and it integrates so well with just EZ-Pages, no mod is really needed.

    Worth checking out.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Tampa Bay, Florida
    Posts
    5,611
    Plugin Contributions
    64

    Default Re: Newsletters-When to Hit the Bigtime

    Quote Originally Posted by kiddo View Post
    Good bounce handling, admin, and its FREE!!!
    Nothing is free. Your client is paying you to install, maintain, troubleshoot, monitor and upgrade this system. Have you done an apples to apples cost comparison of your hourly rate with MailChimp or any other commercial vendor who provides a maintenance-free hosted solution?

    And how prepared are you for a CAN-SPAM (or similar) complaint? A hosted provider takes care of these for you.

    No one approach is ideal for everyone, and phplist might be perfect for your clients, but it is not free. I would argue that for the shopkeeper who is not a professional programmer and just runs one Zen Cart, MailChimp is an incredible bargain.

    Good luck,
    Scott
    That Software Guy, Plugin Moderator. Store: Zen Cart Modifications
    Contributions: Quantity Discounts, Better Together, SMS on Sale, Gift Wrap at Checkout, and more.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    4,608
    Plugin Contributions
    1

    Default Re: Newsletters-When to Hit the Bigtime

    Adding to the mix, unless one has a few thousand Subscribers it can be better to use your own, in-house solution. Be it pay-for or free, a stand alone script is usually better suited for most Store Owners.

    And no matter what is used for sending out Newsletter, opt-in and batch mailing are a must. Opt-in is the Subscriber giving documented permission to use their eMail address; double opt-in is an even greater benefit. Batch mailing allows one to send out so many eMails per hour. Majority of Hosters have no problem with 9 - 12 per minute which is 500 - 700 per hour. Shouldn't be a problem if it takes a few hours to send out all Newsletters.

    Another thing to consider, be it a script or a service, who teaches the Client how to operate/use it? Setting up a Client with a service then telling them to figure it themselves is not good. But most Clients don't want to pay for you to teach them how to use or if there is a problem with using the service. At least with a script the Coder is familiar with, training time can be very quick and any troubleshooting quickly done as well.

    As mentioned though, each situation has to be considered with the Coder explaining pros & cons of both to the Client.
    The learning is in the doing.

    Potent Products

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    879
    Plugin Contributions
    1

    Default Re: Newsletters-When to Hit the Bigtime

    Well, by 'free' I mean as in Open Source. And yes, I agree there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this or most other needs.

    One factor in choosing an in-house solution is that there is one less third party involved in keeping everything running. And either way, i will still need to be the one customizing the mail templates, training the client and taking the calls when there are questions or issues. So the difference in cost to the client isn't as great as it may seem.

    Spam complaints generated from recipients on a double-opt-in list do happen, but are much easier to deal with, and much less likely to get you black-listed or RBL'ed than true spam. And making sure the client knows the ins and outs of email net-iquette should be part of the whole package (IMHO that is...)

    None of the above thoughts would prevent me from choosing mailChimp, or any other option for the next client. By the time a decision needs to be made, I know the client and their needs pretty well and will try to recommend the best options.

 

 
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