Web Administrator's Guide
Tuesday, June 18, 2024

How can I send mass emails?

We recognize that nearly every organization that utilizes email as a form of communication occasionally, if not often, needs to email to a large group of people at once.  In the past, this was as simple as putting all of the recipient addresses in your email program and sending the message.  Due to laws and rules that have been put into place to protect email consumers, it has become necessary to use new methods for sending mass or bulk email. 
This article seeks to answer some common questions regarding bulk email:
Question:  What is the limit of emails I can send using my email account hosted on your mail system?
Answer:  Our mail provider, Rackspace, currently has an outbound limit of 250 recipients at any given time.  The amount of time is purposely ambiguous to prevent intentional spamming.  If this policy is repetitively broken, our provider will require us to disable your mail accounts.  This is an industry-standard practice that is likely to get more strict in the future as more email hosts are attempting to help stop spam mail before it leaves their server.
Question:  Why is there a limit to the number of messages I can send?
Answer:  This limit is in place to protect you and all email consumers from spammers.  If more email hosts have tighter rules for outgoing message limits, it is less likely that a true spammer will be able to use any particular mail host to send spam.  Additionally, most of the major ISPs have their own inbound limits as well, so even if your mail host allowed you to send 1,000 emails at once, if the majority of those were going to addresses on a particular ISP, such as AOL, and the messages weren't sent in using CAN-SPAM compliancy, they may blacklist your domain name.  If your domain gets blacklisted by an ISP, you will not be able to send any mail to their customers until you get your domain off of the blacklist.  This can take several weeks and is a time-consuming process.
Question:   Can I use the Communications manager to send bulk mail?
Answer:  No.  The Communications manager is meant to send targeted email to small groups of people based on their specific interests.  Small groups being defined as 50 or less.  The Communications manager cannot send mail to more than 250 addresses at any given time.
Question:  What service(s) can I use to send bulk mail?
Answer:  There are several third party services which provide a wealth of valuable tools like the ability to track opens and click-throughs.  You must use one of these services if you ever intend to send email to more than 250 recipients at any given period of time (the period of time is intentionally ambiguous).  Below is a list of some suggestions:
*Discount or free accounts for non-profit organizations who can provide proper documentation
Question:  What can I do to ensure that all of my email messages are CAN-SPAM compliant?
Answer:  See below...
As a general rule, non-profit organizations such as political groups, churches, and ministries are exempt from the CAN-SPAM legislation.  However, it is a good idea to check out the official CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 page for more information.  However, here are some additional pointers for ensuring that your email reaches the majority of its intended recipients (this applies to all email, not just bulk lists):
  • Send email only to individuals who have affirmatively indicated they wish to receive it
  • Use reasonable means to ensure that the person giving consent is the owner of the email address for which consent is given
  • Retain evidence of each recipient's consent in a form that can be promptly produced on request
  • Allow recipients to revoke their consent – can be through a link in the body of the email, or instructions to reply with the word "Remove" in the subject line
  • Honor revocations of consent within 48 hours, and notify recipients that the revocation of their consent will be implemented within 48 hours
  • Put procedures in place to prevent adding a recipient to a list who has previously revoked their consent
  • Post an email address for complaints (such as abuse@yourdomain.com) in a conspicuous place on any website associated with the email, register that address at abuse.net, and promptly respond to messages sent to that address
  • Post a privacy policy online for each domain associated with the email message
  • The subject line of the email must clearly describe the subject matter contained in the email
  • Include valid contact information in the message body, including your physical address
  • Use a means to track anonymous complaints
  • Do not attempt to send any message to an email address if 3 consecutive delivery rejections have occurred and the time between the first and third rejection is longer than fifteen days
Using these pointers for sending email can drastically reduce the chances of your mail getting rejected by a mail server's spam filter or being trapped in the spam folder of the recipient's email box.
For more info, see:

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