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Sundry Additional Advice

If possible, provide another way for subscribers to contact you (or somebody else who can administer the user list) besides through the mailing list manager. This way, in case they can't unsubscribe through the regular methods, they can reach somebody to be taken off. It's important to make it easy to get off the list because otherwise, people may decide that the mail has become spam and report you to one or more spam lists—who may not check whether the report is erroneous.

If you're running the list program rather than using a third-party service, be sure to read the documentation—and check the program's main site for FAQs, community discussions and other resources. "You want a wide user community, to help set things up properly," suggests Dan Ritter.

"Keep an audit trail of everything," advises Steve Atkins, CTO of Word To The Wise. "Make sure that when someone signs up through the Web, when you send out a confirmation message, include 'You have signed up for this list, etc.' on the outgoing confirmation message. So if someone is being maliciously signed up, they'll know. And you should permanently archive these outgoing messages to defend yourself legally and/or against accusations. Because anybody sending E-mail gets accused of spamming...If you have a good audit trail of who signed up, where, when, and the confirmation message, it's easy to defend yourself. Some people simply forget they signed up—we typically see one in a thousand list members complaining."

Atkins also offers a few technical reminders for people running mailing list systems: "The machines you send from must have reverse DNS, or spam filters will bounce most of your mail. The FROM address and the FROM in the body must be valid. They don't have to be the same, but they must be valid—there must be an MX record."

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