News About News
I've learned a lot about how to properly manage an email newsletter over the past couple of months, and I'm making some big changes.
The biggest change is that I'm switching to a commercial email distribution service and will no longer be sending the newsletter from Outlook using BCC.
This will result in fewer weird formatting problems and a reduction in the number of times this newsletter gets flagged as junk mail. I've put together a page that goes into detail about all the reasons why the commercial distribution service is better than using Outlook. In brief:
Most webmail-type email clients totally mangle the style information in the HTML code header of emails, resulting in awful problems like black text on a black background, loss of page layout information, and other text styling information. The new email service lets me test things before sending to make sure they look right.
In addition, many people would rather receive emails in plain text. The service I'm using provides a tool to convert HTML to plain text relatively painlessly.
This newsletter has been flagged as the S word (more on why I can't say it here) quite a bit, especially by Yahoo. What I've been doing -- putting everyone's name in the BCC field of Outlook -- is actually a major red flag for S filters.
The commercial service I'm now using can send individual emails to everyone with their actual name. That looks much less like junk mail.
There are also some legal implications to this, and I'm not in the mood to get fined or put in jail. If you read the applicable Federal laws, this newsletter is in kind of a gray zone. Again, more on this here.
Tracking and Privacy
The service allows message tracking so I can monitor how frequently emails are opened, etc. I have disabled all that stuff for my account since it makes the newsletter look more like spam. Plus, even though it doesn't provide personally identifiable statistics, it still seems like spying on people.