No. of Recommendations: 4

Not to discourage you, but these are some things you should expect, based on my own experience:

- If you use a service that manages your lists and sends from their server, you face the likely possibility of being "blacklisted" because of the efforts of others. For example, I previously used a popular service called Constant Contact. I started noticing bouncebacks for messages sent to particular ISP's. I later learned this was because other people using Constant Contact had been reported for SPAMming and the ISP blocked all messages coming from Constant Contact.

- If your confirmation process requires someone to click on a link in your confirmation message, some people will send a "Reply" instead. If your confirmation process requires someone to "Reply" to the message, some people will send a new email instead. This will basically render your automated confirmation process useless. Then you have to decide whether just to ignore the person and not have that subscriber or whether to compose an email to the person explaining what they did wrong and asking them to follow your confirmation instructions.

- Some people will subscribe to your email publication, confirm the subscription, and maybe even pay for it if you offer a paid subscription, and then complain to you and/or SPAM reporting sites about your sending them email. Granted this will be a small number of people, but it will be enough to cause you grief. To combat this:

>>> Before the subscriber subscribes, tell him or her what to expect and how often and then deliver that. Don't abuse the permission by sending things a reasonable subscriber wouldn't expect. (I stress the word "reasonable")

>>> Don't wait too long between mailings. If you do, people forget they subscribed and complain to you or anti-SPAM sites.

>>> Use a consistent "From" address and a consistent "Subject Line" For example, "Ed's Garden News - Issue 742"

- This one is very opinionated on my part, but if you purchase an email list or if you use a service that promises to send your message to their list of people who want to receive your message, you're just asking for trouble. I don't care if the Pope is selling an email list and God gave him the email addresses on the list - don't use it. Build your own list by your own efforts.

- Include unsubscribe instructions (simple instructions) in every message you send. Even if you do this, some people will still email you at your regular email address and request or demand to be unsubscribed, but at least most people will follow your unsubscribe instructions. In general, people expect to find the unsubscribe instructions at the end of a message.

- If you offer both a HTML version and a plain text message, IMO you should give the subscriber the option to choose whether to receive the HTML version. This is hotly debated in email management forums, but I personally don't like giving someone only an HTML option.

- Include your direct email address in every message to make it easy for subscribers to contact you with any questions or concerns

- Stay informed about SPAM issues. A number of legitimate email newsletters are now avoiding using certain words or intentionally misspelling certain words to avoid having the message deleted by SPAM filters. Sometimes, the intended recipient may never know the message was intercepted and deleted. Of course, SPAMmers are also using this technique, which in time renders the filter basically useless.

That's probably enough to digest for now. :)

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