FAQ
After getting some advice from the list - specifically Mark - last
week, I asked the hosting provider if there was in fact some limit on
outgoing mail, or some other setting on their end which might be
causing the bounces I'm getting. (see previous post for details, but
basically, I set up a new mailman list with around 1300 subscribers and
as best I could tell - without going through ALL of them one by one -
most bounced. I did sample 30 addresses, of which 29 bounced).

Below is the response from the host. They seem to feel it's all on the
recipient's end. Does this make sense? or is it passing the buck?

They suggest sending out 10-15 emails at a time - is there a way to set
mailman up to do this? (and would there be a point?)

Thanks again for your help.

Nathan
There is really no cap as to how many emails you can send out.
However, the more you send out at one time the more likelly they are
to bounce. It has nothing to do with Globaltap, it has alot to do with
the servers that are recieving the email. There is a marker in the
email that marks it as bulk. Most servers including Globaltaps often
rejects those emails to protect their/our customers from spam. Comcast
and aol also do the same thing. For the most part most mail servers
use the same filters and black lists. So the more mail you send out at
one time the more likelly that most of them will get rejected by
recieving server and bounce. It also creates a possiblity that an
entire ip block will get black listed. Which means that ALL your mail
will get rejected, but also ALL other of our customers on the same ip
block as you will get black listed as well.
I'm sure you have a valid subscriber list, but the recieving server
has no way of knowing that. For all they know you're just another guy
peddling viagra. OK, there are options. 1. You can set up to send out
no more then 10-15 emails at a time. 2. There is an organization that
can certify your email as not spam. The ceritification is inserted in
to the header of your email and then the bulk delivery should get
accepted by most other servers, but still not all. And the
cerification isn't free.

Most hosting services frown on people who send out large bulk emails.
It tends to cause problems for other customers and it takes alot of
time to clean up the mess plus explain to other customers why they are
not able to send mail for upto a week.
In those cases you could be held liable for the "clean up" and loss of
revenue.

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  • Todd Zullinger at May 26, 2006 at 3:53 am

    Nathan wrote:
    Below is the response from the host. They seem to feel it's all on
    the recipient's end. Does this make sense? or is it passing the
    buck? [...]
    They suggest sending out 10-15 emails at a time - is there a way to
    set mailman up to do this? (and would there be a point?)
    The SMTP_MAX_RCPTS setting can control the number of emails sent at a
    time. Others with more experience can comment on the worth of doing
    this.
    There is a marker in the email that marks it as bulk. Most servers
    including Globaltaps often rejects those emails to protect
    their/our customers from spam. Comcast and aol also do the same
    thing.
    I have a Comcast address and I receive a lot of mail from mailman run
    lists which contain the Precedence: bulk header. If Globaltap is
    saying that most servers reject mail with those headers I think
    they're wrong on that.

    - --
    Todd OpenPGP -> KeyID: 0xD654075A | URL: www.pobox.com/~tmz/pgp
    ======================================================================
    It was probably drugs more than anything else that made me a
    Libertarian.
    -- John Gilmore
  • Brad Knowles at May 26, 2006 at 6:13 am

    At 11:23 PM -0400 2006-05-25, Nathan wrote:

    They suggest sending out 10-15 emails at a time - is there a way to set
    mailman up to do this? (and would there be a point?)
    I'm calling bull$#!+ on this one. First off, plenty of sites run
    Mailman-hosted mailing lists with thousands, tens of thousands, or
    even hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and they don't have these
    kinds of problems. Secondly, if rate-limiting does solve the
    problem, then you should seriously consider finding another provider.
    There is really no cap as to how many emails you can send out.
    However, the more you send out at one time the more likelly they are
    to bounce. It has nothing to do with Globaltap, it has alot to do with
    the servers that are recieving the email. There is a marker in the
    email that marks it as bulk.
    <BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP> Wrong answer. Thanks for playing.

    Mailman does intentionally add a header for "Precedence: Bulk" to
    all outgoing messages, as is appropriate for the function that it is
    performing. However, I've been involved in running mail services at
    a good number of sites in the world, and I have never, ever heard of
    any site being stupid enough to filter based on this header.

    If this were a problem, then all the Mailman-hosted mailing lists
    with tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of users would never
    have been able to get off the ground.
    Most servers including Globaltaps often
    rejects those emails to protect their/our customers from spam. Comcast
    and aol also do the same thing.
    No, AOL doesn't. I was the Sr. Internet Mail Administrator for
    AOL, and I know perfectly well how they operate, since I helped
    define most of those procedures.

    Anyone else in the world who claims that they know how AOL
    operates without having personal experience at AOL, or without having
    direct recent contact with the guys at AOL, is simply blowing smoke
    up your skirt.
    For the most part most mail servers
    use the same filters and black lists.
    Rate-based activity has nothing to do with filters or black
    lists. Again, clearly a sign of someone who knows the buzzwords but
    doesn't understand how the technology actually works.

    As for most of the rest of this crap, I'm not even going to
    bother. Clearly, they need to steal several clues, since they don't
    have any themselves and it doesn't appear likely that anyone else is
    going to give, sell, or loan them any.
    2. There is an organization that
    can certify your email as not spam. The ceritification is inserted in
    to the header of your email and then the bulk delivery should get
    accepted by most other servers, but still not all. And the
    cerification isn't free.
    Talking about Goodmail? Maybe you might want to do some Googling
    on the phrase "AOL e-mail tax" and see what the community *really*
    thinks of this idea.
    Most hosting services frown on people who send out large bulk emails.
    It tends to cause problems for other customers and it takes alot of
    time to clean up the mess plus explain to other customers why they are
    not able to send mail for upto a week.
    In those cases you could be held liable for the "clean up" and loss of
    revenue.
    Hint: If your hosting provider is sounding this threatening to
    you over a small mailing list, you should seriously consider getting
    a different hosting provider.

    --
    Brad Knowles, <brad at stop.mail-abuse.org>

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little
    temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

    -- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), reply of the Pennsylvania
    Assembly to the Governor, November 11, 1755

    LOPSA member since December 2005. See <http://www.lopsa.org/>.
  • John W. Baxter at May 26, 2006 at 4:56 pm

    On 5/25/06 11:13 PM, "Brad Knowles" wrote:

    Mailman does intentionally add a header for "Precedence: Bulk" to
    all outgoing messages, as is appropriate for the function that it is
    performing.
    Actually,
    Precedence: list

    (As copied from the message I'm replying to.)

    This doesn't change the argument (much), and I agree with Brad's points.

    --John
  • Mark Sapiro at May 26, 2006 at 3:22 pm

    Nathan wrote:
    After getting some advice from the list - specifically Mark - last
    week, I asked the hosting provider if there was in fact some limit on
    outgoing mail, or some other setting on their end which might be
    causing the bounces I'm getting. (see previous post for details, but
    basically, I set up a new mailman list with around 1300 subscribers and
    as best I could tell - without going through ALL of them one by one -
    most bounced. I did sample 30 addresses, of which 29 bounced).

    Below is the response from the host. They seem to feel it's all on the
    recipient's end. Does this make sense? or is it passing the buck?

    Brad has addressed this response from the host, and I agree with Brad
    with one minor exception. The header Mailman adds is 'Precedence:
    list', not 'Precedence: bulk', but as Brad and Todd both point out,
    mail in not generally bounced because of this header.

    They suggest sending out 10-15 emails at a time - is there a way to set
    mailman up to do this? (and would there be a point?)

    Todd mentioned setting SMTP_MAX_RCPTS. This may help, but as I recall,
    you said in your original post that you are dealing with Mailman
    hosted by the same host that gave the bogus reply to your inquiry. So
    you have no control over these 'site' settings.

    Thus, the situation appears to be that that this host offers Mailman
    lists as a service to it's customers, but they are unwilling and or
    unable to make it work, and when you ask for help they offer threats
    that you can get into trouble for using it.

    Note that 1300 is a modest list size for a Mailman list. You certainly
    aren't asking anything out of the ordinary here. If you are interested
    in getting this to work with this host, you are going to have to try
    to escalate this to a management level within the host that cares that
    they are offering a service that doesn't work, and if that is
    unsuccessful, Your friend should take her business elsewhere.

    BTW, Since you are just setting up, you can do the following:

    Mass remove the 1300 members (with notifications set to No).

    Go to the Bounce processing options and set bounce_score_threshold to
    1.0 (or less). Be sure bounce_notify_owner_on_disable is set to Yes.

    Mass subscribe the 1300 (with notifications set to No)

    Send a post.

    This time every bounce will result in a disable, and the owner will be
    notified, and the notice will include the bounce.

    This may help in your discussions with the host.

    Finally, after the problem is resolved, you can remove the 1300 members
    and re-add them with a welcome message if it is important that they
    get that (their passwords will change when you remove and re-add
    them). The remove and re-add is the easiest way to reset their
    bouncing status in this case.

    --
    Mark Sapiro <msapiro at value.net> The highway is for gamblers,
    San Francisco Bay Area, California better use your sense - B. Dylan
  • Nathan at May 26, 2006 at 5:13 pm
    Mark, Todd, Brad, John,
    Thanks very much for your advice. It seems like we're dealing with an
    uninformed host here, and it would be an uphill battle all the way to
    get this thing working. While she will probably continuing the webhost,
    I think we'll look elsewhere for a mailing list option. It's
    unfortunate that a nice piece of software like mailman can be crippled
    by poor hosting.

    Again, I really appreciate all the help.

    Nathan

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postedMay 26, '06 at 3:23a
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