After I got phplist up and working, and I cleaned my old survey respondents email addresses up, I purchased a Dewahost’s SMTP service package to send the mail. They were recommended by Plimus (who processes Behold purchases for me) and do mailing lists for Plimus, so I assumed that was a good enough reference and I went with them.
Sorry, Dewahost, but this is not going to be a nice post for you.
When I purchased the service, I sent them a note with the purchase asking them for the SMTP setting so I could send out the Behold News newsletter. I waited a day with no response. I then sent an email to them and waited 3 more days. Nothing.
Being very patient, and assuming nothing, I submitted a support ticket on their support site. Someone there responded on the ticket only 9 minutes later that he’s forwarding my ticket to their sales team who will be able to assist me better. I then responded that it was not a sales issue, but a technical issue. Three days later. No response at all on that ticket. I then went to their online chat.
I had a pleasant talk and was told that they’d give my ticket a higher priority. That night, they responded to my ticket. They said: “We didn’t receive your order. What’s the order reference number?”. Now I’m starting to get frustrated and I posted my whole Plimus receipt from what was already 10 days earlier.
Two more days went by and I went on chat again. The friendly fellow apologised and added a new ticket for me that was quite forceful and said that if they cannot handle this order, to let me know so I can look into other providers and a refund.
That was yesterday. Today I got no response on either ticket. So I’m now looking at other providers of a non-spam bulk email SMTP service. I found a few possibilities:
Authsmtp does not appear too bad. They charge about 0.2 cents per address and that goes down to about 0.13 cents as the volume increases.
Sendblastersmtp looks good. They’re a little more starting at 0.3 cents (which is the same level that Dewahost starts at) and going down to 0.2 cents. But at the high end they have a dedicated server offer for $300 a month. They have bulk emailing software that looks good and might be useful for those who need it. But I expect I’ll be happier with phplist running from my ISP, rather than trying to maintain my list myself on my own PC.
Dewahost has an unexpected pricing scheme. It starts out high at 0.3 cents per address and decreases until for $40 a month, you have unlimited emails. *Alarm Bells* - The word unlimited never means unlimited. There’s got to be something that they’ll impose if you start using “too much”. Also, they do not have dedicated servers for this “unlimited” plan, so there is an uncertain future there when the list gets large.
Of all the companies, the one that now seems the best to me is LuxSci. They seem very professional. Their prices surprisingly start lower, at 0.1 cents per address but grow to 0.18 cents as the volume increases. But then they have a dedicated server offering at only $200 per month which I can move to once Behold News starts going out to 100,000 or more people. They also have a free bounce analysis that will promptly remove invalid email addresses from my list. I was planning on doing that with phplist, but it would be better to offload that where it won’t slow down the Behold website.
If I don’t hear back from DewaHost by tomorrow night (and maybe even if I do), I think I’ll sign up for service with LuxSci. Then hopefully I can restart the Behold News newsletter and send it out to everyone over the weekend.
In the meantime, I have been making good progress on the log files and probably will have another beta out in a couple of weeks.