Frequently Asked Questions About Creating A Listserv

What is the difference between an Announcement List and a Discussion Group?
What is plain text email?
Can Attachments be included?
What is a Digest?
What is a “moderated” mailing list?
What if I have a known troublemaker in my group?
How can I put people on my mailing list?
How can people get off the mailing list?
Can my subscribers change their email address?
How do I keep my membership database in sync with the mailing list?
How can I get the list of subscribers ?
How can I get all of the messages ever sent to our mailing list?

Q

What is the difference between an Announcement List and a Discussion Group?

A

Both are mailing lists that send the same message to a group of people (subscribers).

On a Discussion Group, any subscriber can post a message to the mailing list. Discussion Groups are used for special interest groups, where all members share a common interest.

An Announcement List is a one way broadcast message, and only one or a handful of people have permission to send an email to the mailing list.

mail-list.com operates both types of mailing lists.

Q

What is plain text email?

A

Plain text email is when only words are in the email message, without any formatting information. There cannot be any big bold red fonts, and no pictures or graphics can be embedded. You need HTML email to send fancy emails like that.

If subscribers send HTML email to your mailing list, our system will convert it into plain text email and send it to all subscribers.

The advantages of plain text email are

  • can never have a virus, plain text email is always safe
  • no incompatibilities with different email readers
  • compact emails make it ideal for reading on smart phones
  • gets by spam filters better than HTML email
  • subscribers can adjust the font size on their email reader, to see it at any size
  • easy to compose and send quick messages
  • no tracking with plain text emails

Any links (like http://www.mail-list.com) are blue and clickable with plain text email.

Q

Can Attachments be included?

A

You can include attachments, including PDF’s, MS Word documents, spreadsheets, graphics, etc. with your email. You first need to turn on the option allowing attachments.

In addition, you can also enable the option to send attachments as clickable links. Everybody sends attachments as usual, and our system saves the attachment on our server. It automatically inserts a clickable link at the top of the email, so subscribers can click on the link to download the attachment.

This is useful to get around the spam filters, which frequently stop attachments. It also gets around size limitations on email, so you can send large attachments. In addition, it allows only the people who want the attachment to retrieve it, and not clog up everybody’s email readers with attachments they do not want.

Q

What is a Digest?

A

A mailing list digest is one email with all the messages of the day inside. It’s typically sent at midnight, and is useful for people that want to keep current with a listserv, but rarely reply (lurkers).

Mail-List.com has two flavors of digests. The first method is just all the email content run together, in one long email. The second method puts each email into an attachment of sorts, and sends all the attachments together. It is useful for those digest members that do respond to a message, as it allows them to easily respond to just one message.

The list owner can choose which flavor to use, and all digest members get the same flavor.

Q

What is a “moderated” mailing list?

A

In the mailing list world, moderated means that the list owner must give their approval. This could apply to getting on a list, although it usually refers to approving messages before they go to the list.

Each list has an option the list owner can control, that sends all messages to the list moderator(s) for approval. If and when the list owner replies, the message then goes to the entire list.

Most mailing lists are run unmoderated, although when you are just starting a list, or transferring it to Mail-List.com, that is a good time to moderate a list for the first week or two.

Q

What if I have a known troublemaker in my group?

A

Mail-List.com has a special feature where you can leave your mailing list unmoderated, but put selected people into a moderate mode. So when they send a message to your list, it comes to you for approval first.

You can ignore their message, in which case it never goes to your list. Or you can reject the message back to the member, with your comments on why it was rejected. Or you can insert a comment along with their post, and send it to the list. You can not edit their message.

Q

How can I put people on my mailing list?

A

Lots of different ways.

You can add people directly to your list, without needing any confirmation process. They can get your Welcome Message or not, your choice. You can add a bunch of email addresses at the same time, one email address per line. You can put people directly on the digest list too.

You can invite people to join your list. They will receive an email message with your wording, and if and when they reply (or click on a link) they will be put on your mailing list.

You can publish an email address or have a web page signup form for people to ask to join. When they do, you will have to approve them before they get on your list.

Q

How can people get off the mailing list?

A

Each message to your list has a link at the bottom (or the top, your choice), that is blue and clickable. When your subscriber clicks on this link, they will be taken to a web page. The web page asks them to click on a button to confirm their desire to unsubscribe. When that button is clicked, they are removed from your list.

In addition to the clickable link, there is an email address that people can send a message to, that will also remove them from your list.

Q

Can my subscribers change their email address?

A

Yes, if you want them to have this capability. The clickable link to unsubscribe, also allows people to update their email address, should it have changed. They type in their new email address, and our system will remove their old address and add their new email address, after they respond to our confirmation request.

In addition, your subscribers can easily get on or off of vacation or switch to and from the digest by clicking on a link and a button.

Q

How do I keep my membership database in sync with the mailing list?

A

You can get immediate notification via email of any subscriber that changed their email address, unsubscribed, or bounced off your list.

Or you can get a weekly report of this same information.

You can refresh the mailing list with only active members, by sending in one command with your entire database. This will delete all current members, and add the new ones.

Q

How can I get the list of subscribers ?

A

You can retrieve your list of subscribers at any time. Please see the lesson How do I get a list of all of my current subscribers?

In addition, you can tell our system to send your list to you via email, every day, or every week.

Q

How can I get all of the messages ever sent to our mailing list ?

A

If you are using our Premium Option – Searchable Web Archives, you can get all of your messages exported in the industry standard mbox format. This is a simple text file, which you can import into your email reader, or just read with your favorite word processor.