What is your experience with the built in email users features?

snoopy5

Well-known member
Hi,

I user XF 1.5.12 and use the email to users feature in ACP very often (at least once a week). For around 30.000 users.

But it seems to me that not all users do actually get the newsletter. At least the number of users coming on the same day and on the next day is by far not in relation to those 30.000 users who (hopefully) got the email. All of my dummy accounts get the email though.

We do not earn enough money yet with the forum, so I can not switch to a payed service for a newsletter.

So my question is, what your experiences are so far with the built in email to users feature. Do you have the feeling all of the emails come through?

I would love to have a built in statistic how many users opened the email etc., to improve my mailings and get more traffic...
 

M@rc

Well-known member
I'm signing up for Amazon SES to let them handle mass emails - https://aws.amazon.com/ses/ (it's cheap so don't worry about spending too much, but they're strict).

Your server most likely has a limit so not everyone will get emails right away.
 

Live Free

Active member
It works okay for transactional emails/email confirmations but if you're sending announcements or newsletters you need an external solution. This is mostly because servers/email providers may throttle mass emails from IPs without good reputation and it's easy for mass mailings from the default Xenforo admincp to be automatically flagged as spam, at least with good.

I recommend using an external service for both transactional and newsletters. Such services, some starting for free, will show you open rates and other statistics.

Right now I use SendGrid for transactional emails, it's free up to 10k/month.

For newsletters I recommend exporting a list, then filtering it against bounces and unsubscribes, and importing the list into a service like MailJet (which also has statistics and starts for free).

There are some Xenforo add-ons that make some elements of emailing easier but none of them are comprehensive unfortunately, I use the above method. I know a lot of people use Amazon SES/Sendy so that's another option worth looking into.

If you go with an external provider(s) pay extra attention to your configuration to ensure your emails reach your users inboxes and that thier emails to you reach yours.
 

Anthony Parsons

Well-known member
So my question is, what your experiences are so far with the built in email to users feature. Do you have the feeling all of the emails come through?
People don't take email as seriously as it should be taken. It is extremely difficult to run your own email server nowadays. You have to warm up IP's, you need to rotate them, you need to swap them when burnt because a bunch of subscribers bounce / report your email they requested, repeatedly.

You need to have strict bounce and report feedback as to who is marking any email you send as spam / are hard bouncing. You need to action them.

You can't take a server IP and just start sending 30k of email to users... you will kill your IP near instantly in the world of spam reporting databases.

Even if you have an excellent email server system in place, strictly monitor and action issues, you won't come close to the negative score assigned to professional solutions, such as Amazon SES and other professional providers. With correctly setup DKIM, SPF and DMARC, you can start with a negative spam score around 0.1 - 0.2, which will get you into Microsoft inboxes, being the toughest filter to get through... yes, tougher than gmail.

Now if you warm up an IP with that negative spam score, your score improves, and with strict monitoring and action you achieve an awesome score to send bulk email. You still won't get close to Amazon though, who you sign with and get a starting score of -2 typically, from any of their IP's. But they monitor you and kick you to the curb if you don't action your email and maintain healthy sending policy.

Spam is big business now... as a result, getting into the inbox is harder than ever before. You either do it right, with fail over IP's, or get a professional solution, such as external SMTP that you send via. Amazon is the cheapest with the highest inbox deliverability... near perfect if not perfect.
I would love to have a built in statistic how many users opened the email etc., to improve my mailings and get more traffic...
Very simple to setup tracking. Add a tracking 1px gif to your email template and assign it into say... Google analytics. Well ah... you have full tracking data of your emails. Use Sendy or such otherwise, via an SMTP provider.

30k email is a couple of dollars at Amazon. Why wouldn't you?
 

sheel

Active member
Don't want to step on anyones toes, but maybe, just maybe, the problem lies on your side. Have a newsletter too, and *never* had any problem with the IP being listed in some spam database. Still sending from the same server and IP like always.

The mail content is pure information (and a bit of style stuff) without any nonsense, there is absolutely no tracking stuff in the mails (including nothing that "could" be used for tracking), no IP rotating or anything (which adds fuel to the fire ... the defensive side knows that trick too), no external service that is used by spammers too, etc.etc.
 

snoopy5

Well-known member
Don't want to step on anyones toes, but maybe, just maybe, the problem lies on your side. Have a newsletter too, and *never* had any problem with the IP being listed in some spam database. Still sending from the same server and IP like always.

The mail content is pure information (and a bit of style stuff) without any nonsense, there is absolutely no tracking stuff in the mails (including nothing that "could" be used for tracking), no IP rotating or anything (which adds fuel to the fire ... the defensive side knows that trick too), no external service that is used by spammers too, etc.etc.
I do think the main problem for me is, that I even do not know whether I am blacklisted at all with any kind of webhoster. I mean I have never gotten an email regarding this or an alert from my webhoster. It is like a big fog and you do not know whether the emails get 100% delivered or not and if not, what could be the reason if you do not get any alerts or hints...
 

Pierce

Well-known member
This is where having alternative methods to contact users and re-engage guests is important like browser push notifications.
 

Anthony Parsons

Well-known member
that I even do not know whether I am blacklisted
https://mxtoolbox.com and many other tools exist to manage this.
I have never gotten an email regarding this
And you won't. Your email management, not someone else.
It is like a big fog and you do not know whether the emails get 100% delivered or not
You do actually... because if your email from address is legit / redirected, you will get a bounce if not delivered. The problem is whether your email is delivered and lands in their spam box.
what could be the reason if you do not get any alerts or hints
Your email. Your responsibility.

/var/log/maillog shows everything you send and whether your email is being used maliciously, whether an email is bouncing, marked as spam, so forth.

If you own a website, but don't really run it (manage your server), that is what managed hosting can look at if you have problems. This is additionally why professional SMTP providers exist, so you send everything from them which provides graphs and stats on everything you do -- which will answer these questions for you.
 
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