The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
The following article is for anyone who needs to send a large number of identical, or nearly identical, email messages. Perhaps you need to send 1,000 messages to attendees of your society's annual conference. Perhaps you write a blog and would like to offer email subscriptions to your articles. In either case, using a 50-year-old technology called email can greatly increase the number of readers you have.
COMMENT: If you have a blog, I would suggest that you absolutely need to publish your articles both online and in email. Many people will visit a blog daily or at least several times a week in order to read the news offered. However, as time goes by, many blog readers will forget to check frequently or will become distracted by other priorities in their lives. Little by little, they will check the blog less and less often. Eventually, they "drift away," even though they may still be interested in the articles offered in your blog. The simple solution is to send each person an email message every day or every few days containing all the new articles posted since the last such message.
The advantage of sending blog articles by email is that the recipient doesn't need to remember to check the blog frequently. All new articles arrive automatically in the recipient's in-box without any action required by the recipient.
Blogs are easy to build, and RSS feeds enable powerful distribution for the savvy. However, the majority of potential readers don't even know what RSS is. For proof, just ask your parents. In contrast, just about EVERYONE knows what email is! The choice is yours: either try to educate all your readers about the advantages of RSS or else use something they already know about and use comfortably: email. Even better, offer both! You can do so with no extra work. I will suggest that if you are not sending your blog articles by email, you are losing readers!
Of course, any email distribution system needs to have a simple method for readers to subscribe and unsubscribe. Subscriptions should be handled online with no action required on your part. Blog readers should be able to instantly subscribe or unsubscribe within seconds at any time of the day.
Sending announcements or blog articles or newsletters by email to a large number of recipients turns out to be a rather complex process. To be sure, if you only need to send it to 25 or 50 people, the process is rather easy: send it with your standard email program, and include the email address of every recipient in the "bcc:" field of the email program.
Handling new subscribers or unsubscribe requests is easy when you have only a few subscribers. You simply keep a list of subscribers on your computer and manually update it as needed.
However, as you start sending the email messages to more and more people, the complexity increases.
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