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I have a client that wants to send out 1 million personalized (firstname, lastname) emails in one go.
what problems do you think I might have doing this?
I know there are companies out there that offer this service,
but the client insists the data is kept on a server
that they control plus they need it to all go out in
one go, so spreading it out over a few weeks or a week is not
has anyone ever done this?
1 million emails is not a good place to start in on this learning curve, IMO. I've never sent out that many emails in one campaign, but even at a lower level and using well vetted double opt-in lists, I've had my share of troubles.
it's not spam
a national company
About the only scenario I can envision where a mailing like this is valid would be a situation like the recent data leak of millions of veterans personal information. The VA had no choice but to send that many emails, and even at that, I seriously doubt that they were all sent on the same day.
If you insist on going forward, at least set up a couple of thousand throw-away email servers around the globe. With a single server you probably won't get more than a hundred-thousand emails out before the rest of them hit the bit bucket.
Regardless of everyone's feelings on this issue, you've been tasked with a job and you're going to do it one way or the other, legit or not legit, so here are a few grains that will at least spare fellow Internet users some down time, rather than just have you plod forward and hit the send button.
Personally I'm with physics, if Ford, Chevy, or GM's webmasters are here asking about this it's truly a sad state. But you are seeing a part of the problem in the reactions you see here. It would be in your best interests to find a way to conduct this to your employer.
You are best advised not to do this "all in one shot" but in chunks, I wold say maximum of 100,000 per day. What if it gets through a portion of the 1 mil and the server croaks? How will you know where to pick up, how many of the original 1 mill are going to get 2, 3, 10 enmails, or however many times it takes you to restart the mailing and get through the list?
You must also have a VERY good sense of how much load your server can handle. Do you have a dedicated mail server or are you operating on shared bandwidth? If shared, you are going to have SERIOUS problems, I would say only attempt 10 or 20 K per day, at best.
You may be able to get all 1 mil into the queue, but even a dedicated mail server will chew on this for as much as 1 or 1 days. One of the large mailings with my client takes up to 3 hours to process, and it's not even sending to all 600 K. Yes he has a dedicated mail server.
Lastly on something of this size I would use some sort of scripting solution that tracks how many emails you ATTEMPTED to send (sent to mail program and queued,) how many actually were sent (a second script that parses out your mail logs into some intelligible format) so you know exactly where you stand if the server croaks.
If you hope to push some theoretical button and generate 1 million fresh leads, you're in for some late nights and disappointments, best of luck.
I send out about half a million emails each week and we have a lot of technology and process devoted to it. I can't go into all of CAN-SPAM in a forum post but needless to say, if you are doing it wrong you can go to JAIL.
My advice is talk to a email service provider, I have a service I love, but it aint cheap. But it lets me sleep well at night knowing that I am not getting blacklisted, reported to the FTC, or annoying my ISP.