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Cleaning email list

question on response codes from various ISPs

   
4:09 pm on Sep 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Hi all,
I am just in the process of cleaning my email list.
Lots of adresses have accumulated over time and I am pretty sure that not all addreses are valid.
With the emailchecker I am using (it checks MX records for address availability) it is easy to find out the normal 550 code (unknown user). Some systems also send back a 511 or 554 for this case.
The ones having full mailboxes (also returns a 550) I can easily sort out (based on error text), so no problem on that side.
What worries me a little are the messages sent back from Yahoo:
Yahoo sends either 999 (No MX server for domain found) or 9999 (no message or 'failed to connect to server'). Is there any other means to find out if a Yahoo-address is still valid?

An other mystery to solve: according to the program I use it is not possible to check addresses for german provider t-online. Anyone have a clue how to validate their addresses?

Also, is the '550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable' from hotmail similar to a 'user unknown' or something temporary?

All help on resolving the above issues is very much appreciated.
Thanks in advance.

5:34 pm on Sep 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Send out a feeler e-mail/newsletter to the list. Ask folks to re-register under a new list. We did that last year to start over with a fresh list. We started with 20k folks on the list, with an open rate of about 10%, and high spam report rate... Now we have a very clean list of about 10k with an open rate of 25-30%. No spam report issues now.

It took a while to get everyone re-signed up over on the new list, but it helped give us a clean start/foundation to move forward with...

5:48 pm on Sep 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



With a small mailing list I did this manually but I never tried to analyse the returns. I just kept a record, anything that failed on two successive mailouts was zapped.
8:00 pm on Sep 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



With a small mailing list I did this manually but I never tried to analyse the returns. I just kept a record, anything that failed on two successive mailouts was zapped.

Would love to do it this way but unfortunately my mailing program (provided by my host) does not provide me with this data and he doesn't plan to program a few enhancements.
Autoresponder software that could do this job is just too costly for my small list. Have to think about something selfhosted ...
8:11 pm on Sep 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Send out a feeler e-mail/newsletter to the list. Ask folks to re-register under a new list.

Good idea, have already done something similar in the past to get more personal information, like telling people that email is a 2way conversation and I would prefer to address them by their name and not just with Dear Sir or Madam. This resulted in a few updates, so i gather the ones really interested in my information would also re-register with a new mailing software (see my above answer to piatkow).

Anyway, for the moment I am stuck with the software I have at hand and need to clean the DB so I a) don't send too many (I pay for the program on a per email basis) and b) don't trigger any blacklist or whatever to block my future mailings.

Thanks to both of you for your quick and helpful replies.

12:34 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



look for first names like abc, xyz, 123 and something like this. I would advise you remove them from your list..
12:54 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



If you have access to the server and can install email/newsletter program, there are a number of good free listservs that will give you more control over your membership and provide some reporting functionality. Just another option to consider.
9:52 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



look for first names like abc, xyz, 123 and something like this. I would advise you remove them from your list..

not necessary as my list is double opt in and all email addresses were legit when they registered.
9:56 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



tangor,
like I said above, I am looking for something selfhosted. Unfortunately my host (although usually very supportive) is not so helpful in extracting all the data out of the database - so right now I am copy/pasting into Excel whatever data I can retrieve. When I finally find something new, I can import from there.
1:11 am on Oct 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Generally 5XX or 5.x.x errors are permanent failures. Usually associated with mailbox unknown/gone/deleted.

4XX and 4.x.x error are transient failures relating the the receiving mail-server's load factor. Retrying is valid.

Yahoo and MSN/Live give out 5XX/5.x.x errors when the user has been inactive but the mailbox is still present. Typical Yahoo error: "Remote host said: 554 delivery error: dd Sorry your message to #*$!#*$!x@yahoo.com cannot be delivered. This account has been disabled or discontinued [#102]. - mta205.mail.re3.yahoo.com"

A true Yahoo! 5XX/5.x.x error is: "This user doesn't have a yahoo.com account"

6:36 am on Oct 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



@Hoople
thanks for clarifications - i was already aware of the general specifications but worried about status codes for yahoo as the email checking program I use only returns 999 or 9999 (see my original post). Any idea if there is an online-tool to check the validity of emails?

[edited by: phranque at 7:15 am (utc) on Oct. 6, 2009]

3:15 am on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



999 code I have found is the result of hitting Yahoo! too hard with the same or similar action.

When I do a bulk mailing I use a time delay between messages when a lot of Yahoo! domains are in the sending list.

6:20 am on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Thanks for that - makes sense - although I had only a few hundred Y! addresses in the whole list which was divided into small chunks of 100 as the checking tool cannot handle more in one go.
9:21 am on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Partitioning a mail out can have its own problems. AOL in particular will regard multiple batches as spam and bounce everything in the second and subsequent mail outs. I never worked out what time delay was needed.
9:29 am on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



AOL Whitelist Information:
[postmaster.aol.com...]

Yahoo! Postmaster Basics:
[help.yahoo.com...]

10:03 am on Oct 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Hi phranque
The links are quite useful for webmasters. I would've never came accross if not here..

Thank you!

 

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