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Guess what? Nobody uses email anymore

Rigel Kentaurus

Well-known member
#1
There is a little bit of exaggeration here, but bear with me.

I did a small experiment. Basically, I followed my own suggestion, here:
http://xenforo.com/community/thread...-add-campaign-to-the-subscription-links.21800

And everytime someone comes to my board, from an email subscription, I track it. That way I can know exactly how many people come from email. Is it useful for people?

Now. Evilness begins (please do not continue reading if you feel unconfortable about being evil)
  1. I changed the default subscription method, for all members, to "receive email" (yes, I overrode their preferences)
  2. I changed all the subscriptions to "email" (yes, I overrode existing user subscriptions)
I created a thread telling the users that I was enabling email features that were not enabled before, that they could go to Watched Threads to disable them, and I offered to disable all subscriptions for people that had dozens (database query for me, lots of clicks for them).

In 7 days the forum sent a total of ..
.... 21,000 emails
.... and, 684 bounced

From the other 20,300, I should have gotten a bunch of return traffic, right ?
Wrong

I got 19.
19 people clicked on the thread subscription to get to my forum

This makes whatsover absolutely no sense for me. I started making theories like "The members registered with an email they don't check", "They have been registered for so long their email address changed", "All of that is going to the spam folder", or "It is not being tracked"

Whatever it is, I got a serious problem. Either people don't use email anymore (in which case I might as well, disable email subscriptions altogether), or the mail cannot be delivered.

And now to the conclusion.

We should probably keep up with the times. 10 years ago, sending an email subscription was the thing to do, maybe today I should send them a tweet with the link to the updated thread, or a Facebook message, whatever. I really hope "subscribe with twitter" is the next killer option in XenForo.
 
R

ragtek

Guest
#3
Now. Evilness begins (please do not continue reading if you feel unconfortable about being evil)
  1. I changed the default subscription method, for all members, to "receive email" (yes, I overrode their preferences)
  2. I changed all the subscriptions to "email" (yes, I overrode existing user subscriptions)
[ot]
That's illegal (at least here in austria & germany) and called spam:p
If somebody don't wants to get mails (and he didn't activate these feature) you're NOT allowed to do this. (except: if it's somethign really important like you're going to delete his account if he wasn't online for some time..)

even if you created the thread AFTER this action...
[/ot]

I agree with the mail because even i recive some subscription mails, i never use the direct link.
I go automatic to forum/whats-new, search.php?do=getdaily&contenttype=vBForum_Post or to the subscripts page
 

Rigel Kentaurus

Well-known member
#4
[ot]
That's illegal (at least here in austria & germany) and called spam:p
If somebody don't wants to get mails (and he didn't activate these feature) you're NOT allowed to do this. (except: if it's somethign really important like you're going to delete his account if he wasn't online for some time..)

even if you created the thread AFTER this action...
[/ot]

I agree with the mail because even i recive some subscription mails, i never use the direct link.
I go automatic to forum/whats-new, search.php?do=getdaily&contenttype=vBForum_Post or to the subscripts page
Good thing I am not located in either Austria or Germany :) Please note I am not suggesting that people do this, I am commenting about the results of an experiment.

Either way, this experiment was done to check how much email counts these days, and I think it is valid input for site admins. At least for me, it didn't seem effective at all. Emails that are clicked on are the confirmation link, and pretty much after that people seem to start ignoring the rest.
 
F

Floris

Guest
#6
lol, justifying your own behavior knowing you're doing something morally questionable. Why not! It's the 90's aft.. oh wait.

But anyway, don't think you know it all. I even don't read the mails I get for my own site, but I do scan over them. and it helps me remind that I should check the site out later that day. I read the private msgs so I know I've read them, and they will be pending when I have the time to go to the site.

No indication that I followed or read the email, yet I end up on the site. That's a 100% success rate.

In your theory it's a 100% fail rate.
 

Andy.N

Well-known member
#7
No indication that I followed or read the email, yet I end up on the site. That's a 100% success rate.

In your theory it's a 100% fail rate.
That's exactly why I ask how the OP sent email. I use Mailchimp and I can track the open rate and who received/open the email/click on them.
 

Rigel Kentaurus

Well-known member
#9
That's exactly why I ask how the OP sent email. I use Mailchimp and I can track the open rate and who received/open the email/click on them.
I just let XenForo send the mail through generic sendmail, and it was tracked using a campaign code using google analytics

However, what Floris is suggesting, and I think is a valid point, is that some people might not even open it, they might just glance over the title, make a mental note about visiting the site later, and carry on.
 

Crazyfruitbat

Well-known member
#11
Having said that, I have sent out emails to people who have subscribed and had similar results in the past(even with mailchimp - a few got opened, and very little got clicked on) . I think that people certainly have so much junk mail these days they just dismiss anything that isn't from a direct friend. My mac filters 90% of my email before I even see it.
 

Andy.N

Well-known member
#12
Are they able to track it for plain-text mails too? If yes, how?
Yes, each html email has a plain-text version. They probably place a small bit image that will get tracked when the email is opened. It's just a simple explanation but it's pretty more complex than that.

By the way, Mailchimp is free if your list is 2,000 max
 
R

ragtek

Guest
#13
Yes, each html email has a plain-text version. They probably place a small bit image that will get tracked when the email is opened. It's just a simple explanation but it's pretty more complex than that.

By the way, Mailchimp is free if your list is 2,000 max
yes, but the image won't be shown in plain text mails and i'm sure that many use only plain text (like me:D )
that's why i asked how they track the plain text mails.

Like riegel said, i'm also not aware of any way to track them without html support
 
F

Floris

Guest
#15
I just let XenForo send the mail through generic sendmail, and it was tracked using a campaign code using google analytics

However, what Floris is suggesting, and I think is a valid point, is that some people might not even open it, they might just glance over the title, make a mental note about visiting the site later, and carry on.
You said it: They make a mental note to visit the site later.

The mail is just a tool to aggregate the content, and a reminder of watched threads, private msgs, etc.
And you don't need to read the emails, as the web site has it, and organized. It's a reminder.
 

Morgain

Well-known member
#16
I use gmail and it shows me the start of the message content.
Often that is enough to either see what I need to see without opening it, or else triage it as unwanted.
A minority of mails I do click on.Usually if I've been sleeping and there's a pile for me to cull and choose.

They do arrive quite slowly, often some time after I have visited the site, checked Whats New and read whatever it is. As I check email around every 15 -20 mins through a long working day of 12 - 20 hours (!) this is an issue. It's quite irritating to get a lot of slow arriving junk I've already read up to half an hour before it lumbers in.
 

Brett Peters

Well-known member
#17
Glad I wasn't a member that got spammed, I would probably have had thoughts like registering to your forum 3 times a day for several months using email addresses like @spamcop and so on.
 

Jason

Well-known member
#18
I don't find this surprising.

You sent out a bunch of unsolicited emails. In other words, you sent out emails your users probably didn't want to begin with, so it's not at all surprising many didn't act upon it. It's also a good way to get yourself blacklisted.

When I get unsolicited emails, and it's obvious it's not someone genuinely trying to get in contact with me, I mark it as spam and move on (like many others I know).
 

Lisa

Well-known member
#19
I rarely click the links in emails - from known sources or not. I'll use the preview pane to check out what the email's about and if it's from a forum will usually go directly to the forumhome via my bookmarks when I'm ready to.
 
F

Floris

Guest
#20
For security reasons one should a) not accept html emails, and b) not click on the links in it.
They can always manually go to the site.

Things like a firewall, anti virus, trojan scanners, etc are nothing but an additional layer of security. Human behavior is first, and people still go "hey look, an email I didn't ask for, let's open it and see what this html link pretending to be something (and is hard to double check) saying my bank details are compromised on a bank where I have no account, uhm wait .. it won't let me see if I got compromised unless I fill in my current bank details, ok .. says I am fine, YAY...."