IT Pros: Need Help Setting Up Public Email Distro List

soloman02

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The NHleg.com email list is no longer working. Microsoft (who I was using due to ease of setup since I am familiar with it) limits the number of emails that flow through it. I didn't realize such a limit existed and my brief research into finding a replacement has shown that this limit is industry wide to cut down on spam.

My goal is to replicate an internal email distribution list, which is what the official [email protected] was before the statehouse killed it off.

So effectively I am trying to make a public distribution list. 1 email to 400 that anyone can send to. I had done this by making the rep emails as external contacts in O365. The email volume gets large very quickly. 50 people emailing this list will generate 20,000 emails and far more than that a day will be sending emails.

I've been searching for a bulk mail service to do this but non of them seem to allow this functionality.

Does anyone have any ideas on how I can accomplish this? The other part of this is I am trying to not spend a whole lot of money on this. $10/month (what I spent on O365) is low enough that I can eat that cost. But if costs get much higher than that I'm not going to be able to cover that on my own and will have to seek donations. Cost is secondary to getting this working but it is still a big factor.


So far I have found this site but I'm not sure if it can help.
Free, Encrypted, and Open-Source Email Forwarding Service for Custom Domains

I also found these guys but again it looks like they limit you.
Cross-Domain Email Forwarding Made Simple - DuoCircle
 

chrbla2000

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Well... I have never seen public email distro's that large, usually internal only or restricted to a few individuals who can send to it to cut down on exactly what you're talking about, 20K+ emails and responses from all the 'reply-all's' etc.

Have you tried embedding groups in the group? For instance where I work, we have like 20 remote sites, each site has their own group and they all roll up to a 'all remote sites' group, which in itself rolls up to a company wide distro. Not sure if that will actually solve your problem or not, but I think O365 sees a group as in individual entry.

Good luck! :)

-chris
 

swatgig

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I am subscribed to two listserves. One is run through googlegroups and the other is yahoogroups. I do not know if there is a monthly fee.

The one run through yahoogroups is administered by the Committee for Public Counsel Services, a public agency within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
 

Kevin_NH

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That kind of email volume can be tricky to host, as most providers will see that sort of outbound-email volume and assume you're running a spam operation.
 

soloman02

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That kind of email volume can be tricky to host, as most providers will see that sort of outbound-email volume and assume you're running a spam operation.
I mean technically it is spam cause many reps don't bother to read them. But still, we should be able to email all reps at once and since the bastard politicians took that ability away I'm determined to bring that functionality back.
 

Prepper

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Would a comma separated list of all 400 be a start? I could paste that into BCC and press send. Of course that is not as convenient and has to be maintained in all copies, so.....
 

soloman02

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Would a comma separated list of all 400 be a start? I could paste that into BCC and press send. Of course that is not as convenient and has to be maintained in all copies, so.....
That will work but it is not as easy for everyone to use. In the interim, that is the best method to email all reps until I find a solution that works.
 

Prepper

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That will work but it is not as easy for everyone to use. In the interim, that is the best method to email all reps until I find a solution that works.
I haven't tried it with more than one, but a mailto: does support more than one, and for a BCC list. Of course, that would mean anyone clicking on it needs an email program associated with mailto:. Many will, but web users likely won't.
 

lazypengu1n

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That kind of email volume can be tricky to host, as most providers will see that sort of outbound-email volume and assume you're running a spam operation.
2nd this. MailChimp and others are mass-mailers but are usually blocked due to their nature. Most services will see the volume of emails over a specific time as a spamming operation.

That will work but it is not as easy for everyone to use. In the interim, that is the best method to email all reps until I find a solution that works.
This is ok for a small volume. Generally 5000 messages is the max set by the hosting services. If this generates a lot of bounce backs it may cause the hosting provider to disable the account used for sending.

The only way I know you can kick off 20K+ emails and not care is to setup your own Mailman server and use that to send emails. You risk your IP being blacklisted but you will be able to send messages and the only way to block it is on the recipient end by IP address.

Mailman List - Old true tried and still used today when we need to send 200K emails.

GNU Mailman - Installation Manual

*** This is used a lot my nefarious users, as the list will "forward" any incoming messages to the members of the list.... ***
 

RapidTransit

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I would look at Moosend, you can use their server to send emails Moosend API and Integrations

SMTP
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Moosend offers a professional SMTP service in case you are looking for a quick and clean SMTP integration with your website or app. Send your transactional emails extremely fast with our SMTP service and increase your delivery rate by utilizing our world class infrastructure.
 

AHM

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I am subscribed to two listserves. One is run through googlegroups and the other is yahoogroups. I do not know if there is a monthly fee.
Sounds to me like you're subscribed to two mailing lists,
not two "listserves".


I always figured my mineral club would get around to setting up a Yahoo group.

But when I last looked at the details a few seasons ago,
there was a definite scent of death around Yahoo groups.

Non-stop complaints from users about broken stuff,
and no response whatsoever from Yahoo.

I formed the distinct concern it would implode sooner rather than later.
(Albeit about 5 minutes before all of Yahoo imploded).

Just be mindful that whatever solution you use, they may want opt-in for mass mailing, and don't expect a democrat to opt in when you call them on their statist and tax-and-spend no liberty bullshit
Yep.
 

42!

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Lots of cheap solutions but the problem you going to keep running into with a public list that large is itwiit quickly be labeled spam and blocked altogether.

You are going to need to limit the senders if you want it to not be a spam relay.
 

soloman02

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Just be mindful that whatever solution you use, they may want opt-in for mass mailing, and don't expect a democrat to opt in when you call them on their statist and tax-and-spend no liberty bullshit
Well state rep emails are public so no they do not get to opt out. And since their emails are public and they opted in when they signed the dotted line to run for office. Don't want email from voters? Don't run for office. Simple. Anyone can compile the emails of all 400 reps and email them together. My goal was to make that process automated and easy for voters and activists.

Lots of cheap solutions but the problem you going to keep running into with a public list that large is itwiit quickly be labeled spam and blocked altogether.

You are going to need to limit the senders if you want it to not be a spam relay.
I can't limit senders other than to block known bad IP ranges but that is a game of whack a mole...
 

Kevin_NH

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There are several ways to pre-populate a draft email for a large list of recipients, but most are specific to just one email service or client -- a mail merge plugin for GMail won't work for people who use Office/Outlook/etc.

Well state rep emails are public so no they do not get to opt out. And since their emails are public and they opted in when they signed the dotted line to run for office. Don't want email from voters? Don't run for office. Simple. Anyone can compile the emails of all 400 reps and email them together. My goal was to make that process automated and easy for voters and activists.
That's all well and good, but won't stop your ISP from terminating service due to violating the black & white terms of your contract.

I can't limit senders other than to block known bad IP ranges but that is a game of whack a mole...
There are several tools for slowing down bad actors and automating IP-based blocking, including doing a lookup against realtime blacklists.
 
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I have a bunch of experience setting these up, you'll need an email server that will allow that volume to be forwarded, and it can't get blacklisted. You can basically pay for a mailing list service, pay for an outbound email relay, or pay for a colocated server on a static IP that you need to keep clean. It really comes down to how much control you need. I really like phpList on a LAMP instance with Zimbra coupled with dnsEXIT, pretty simple to setup and maintain.
 
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phpList has a built-in opt out database, can opt out if someone replies to [email protected] to keep you compliant with email standards and keep you out of trouble, and you can use zimbra a spamfilter and a rate-limiting firewall to help prevent you getting blacklisted. I also set up a secondary outbound IP so if one gets blacklisted you already have DNS MX and CNAME records populated to make the failover work. You can also build templates and read from a database,

dear %firstname% %lastname%, our records indicate that you're overdue for %pendingservice_array%, if you return for service this week, we will %oilchange_promotion%, use the coupon below

phpList will also aggregate emails returned with invalid sender and add to a table to be excluded from future mailings, reducing your footprint and chances of getting flagged

youll probably want a rate limiting spamfilter, or use some kind of ACL to stop people from abusing this relay. There's a nasty way to leverage these relays called message amplification to DDOS mail servers, you need to make sure you're invulnerable to these attacks with rate limiting, and you'll want to monitor the whole thing for abuse. There's also the backscatter attack, which is the most fkin annoying thing in the world, and a huge problem for improperly configured mailing lists.

I have dozens of these running out there with really minimal issues, the only problem being maintenance. PHP version sensitivity is still a big problem.
 

fshalor

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I would use mailgun. Their subscription self serve features are solid. Graylisting almost never happened. Costs are low.

You have to do your thing right. (Don't spam with it ) but if done right your email will always get delivered and you won't get instantly greylisted like a lot of the cheap ways.
 

BostonVI

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A dirty way would be to create one hell of a mailbox rule. Auto-forward all incoming mail to the 400 recipients.

- Edit -
Stand alone mailbox with an auto fwd rule to a Mail Chimp instance. They should be able to handle the volume since some of those Reps. are using the exact same service for their campaign distributions.
 

42!

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Well if you email provider will let you send 400 emails at a time, mine will, all you need is a text file with the email addresses. Of course I think individuals sending emails on their own, to select reps, senators, and the governor would be far more effective than spamming everyone and getting blocked.
If someone sends me an email and I'm one of hundreds, it will end up directly into my spam, I'll never see it.
 
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Well if you email provider will let you send 400 emails at a time, mine will, all you need is a text file with the email addresses. Of course I think individuals sending emails on their own, to select reps, senators, and the governor would be far more effective than spamming everyone and getting blocked.
If someone sends me an email and I'm one of hundreds, it will end up directly into my spam, I'll never see it.
That's why promo systems use BCC, so you don't see the other recipients.
 

drgrant

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I can't limit senders other than to block known bad IP ranges but that is a game of whack a mole...
IMHO not doing a moderated list (eg, make like a dozen or so trustworthy people moderators) on something like this is suicidal. It has to have some kind of front end constraints. Eg AT LEAST only members can post, at a bare minimum, although moderation is much safer, in case someones email acct gets hacked, etc. Even where I work we tightly constrain the number of "anyone can post" groups to only small volume groups.

-Mike
 
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lazypengu1n

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IMHO not doing a moderated list (eg, make like a dozen or so trustworthy people moderators) on something like this is suicidal. It has to have some kind of front end constraints. Eg AT LEAST only members can post, at a bare minimum, although moderation is much safer, in case someones email acct gets hacked, etc. Even where I work we tightly constrain the number of "anyone can post" groups to only small volume groups.

-Mike
I definitely agree here. We had a HUGE incident were all the lists were not moderated and were being used to SPAM the populations we have. Since then, lists will only accept emails from specific email addresses (this can also be spoofed) and/or have moderation in place. With this, any emails received will just sit there until an Admin reviews and releases it. It allows us to have "second chance" in case the email was a mistake or something needs to be changed.
 
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If you want to set up your own server, Here is the software: GNU Mailman

You can also try to find a site that hosts it. However the large mailing lists i am on runs it in house.

Update: Cant vouch for this service, but was at the top of a google search: MailmanLists: Mailman hosting in Australia, Europe, UK, USA

Update2: OK, this is for subscribers, not for sending a single email to many reps that did not subscribe. Sorry about the confusion.
 
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JayMcB

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I have a bunch of experience setting these up, you'll need an email server that will allow that volume to be forwarded, and it can't get blacklisted. You can basically pay for a mailing list service, pay for an outbound email relay, or pay for a colocated server on a static IP that you need to keep clean. It really comes down to how much control you need. I really like phpList on a LAMP instance with Zimbra coupled with dnsEXIT, pretty simple to setup and maintain.
If this is the case, can you put together a number and see if will work for him?

I see this as a value, and I am IN on $upporting it with moderation time and $ help. We all should be, as our freedom counts on it
 
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Ill
If this is the case, can you put together a number and see if will work for him?

I see this as a value, and I am IN on $upporting it with moderation time and $ help. We all should be, as our freedom counts on it
Ill put a quote together and get back to you tomorrow.
 

42!

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Any mail system worth anything will identify all this email, coming in nearly simultaneously from one or a small number of IPs with a PTR that doesn't match the sender's domain, as spam and treat it accordingly.

You're working against yourself, stop looking for an easy way out and send emails to individuals that are relevant to you. My focus now is Senators and the Gov, they are individual and designed to start a conversation. An exchange of emails, even with an intern, will get more notice that a bunch of spam.
 
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strangenh

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The problem as others have said is that creating an open-access mass mailer not only looks like spam on the receiving end, but is a spammer magnet for sending through.

The house really should be doing this themselves - as the breakout point, they would be able to implement various spam and IP-based controls, as well as filters.

The best you can do is publish a list of email addresses by committee membership and full reps for people to use. Anything else is likely to get turned into a spam intake (or look enough like to get shut down).
 
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I use Mailchimp for our club. The free version lets you do up to maybe a couple thousand over some period of time. If you need more, you can pay for it.

Otherwise, I did some googling for you. Here are some fruits of the search. You need to do a little reading, but a lot of the parts and pieces are in here. This stuff isn't happening overnight. Like I said elsewhere before, the other side has a big technological lead over us. Good luck:

Tools of Resistance

How Resistbot Makes It Simple and Consistent to Write to State Lawmakers

View: https://medium.com/civic-tech-thoughts-from-joshdata/how-to-build-an-app-to-call-write-congress-f79771addc2b


Want to Email Your State Representative? First Fill Out the Form.

Public Citizen

legislation at Open Democracy Action

Two other Calls for Action this week: If you wish to ask questions (via email or phone) of the House members on the election law committee re bills they are hearing this week (see our Hot Legislationnotice), here are some prepared by a former League member to get you going.
Action & Testimony - LWV of New Hampshire
 
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