Macjordomo: Mirroring the Subscription List

A problem I used to have with using Macjordomo was with people sending subscription emails that were either in HTML format or had misspelt or missing subscription commands. Whenever I would receive such email, it would generate an error in Macjordomo.

MacjordomoOf course, I had set up my error messages to tell people what may have been wrong, how to fix it, and how to contact me directly, but what I found was that people were either lazy or confused by it all. The end result was that I would not hear from these potential new subscribers again – even after I sent them a personal email to ask what list they were trying to subscribe to.

Now you might say that these subscribers aren’t worth having, but since I use these lists as part of my small business, I can’t afford to let customers walk back out the door because they found it too hard. As a business person you need to go the extra mile to ensure that customers find your services easy to use and processes like subscribing to an emailing list straightforward and hassle free.

The extra part of my problem comes about because I didn’t used to have my own domain or my own email addresses. I had to resort to using free web-based email accounts that allowed POP3 connections. Since Macjordomo deletes messages from the server after it has processed them, I could not inspect emails that had caused errors.

The answer was to check them before getting Macjordomo to process them. To do this, I set up another Eudora settings file that pointed to my subscription address. By checking the preference to leave messages on the server, I could download new messages, visual inspect that they were okay, and, if so, run Macjordomo. If I encountered problems, I could fix them by first unchecking the leave on server preference and checking mail again to delete it from the server. Then I would edit the email, fixing the problems, and redirect it back to the subscription address. (Don’t forget to change the leave on server preference back on). Then I could run Macjordomo for it to process the email.

Other options:

  1. I could log into the web-based email application that is provided with these free emails, but on my machines this is too slow and cumbersome. And the email service I use changes the status of the message to read after you open it to inspect it, thereby making those emails invisible to Macjordomo.
  2. I suppose I could also have cut and pasted email addresses and manually added them into Macjordomo, but not only is that extra mouse clicks but it would mean that a welcoming “you are subscribed” message would not be sent to the new subscriber as is done by Macjordomo when a person joins a list.
  3. Another suggestion I have heard is to create a dummy subscription email address. This is the one you advertise and the one people send their emails to. But you set up another address that is the real subscription address for Macjordomo. This way you will receive emails directly from new subscribers. You can then check the emails, and if they are okay, you can redirect them to the second (real) Macjordomo subscription list for processing. You could also use this method as a way of moderating your discussion lists too or for providing a buffer from annoying vacation bounces.

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