Date: Sat, 29 Jun 1996 00:21:33 -0400
From: Brad Knowles <email@example.com>
Brad, thanks for posting all this great info.
If you do your flashsessions reasonably frequently, then you have
the same situation as when you do POP3 sessions frequently to
download your mail -- your mailbox is never full.
Unless email/net access is not all that important to you and you "forget"
to log in for a week or two...regularly. I mean, it's hard for us diehards
to remember not having the net in our lives :-)) but lots of people just
don't treat logging in in the same way. Yes, I know, people like that
shouldn't subscribe to large or even medium-sized mailings list... But if
they don't get the culture, it's hard to expect them to get the culture...
Mailing lists that have this kind of traffic should have digests,
and users on systems that limit the number of messages a user should
subscribe to them. Alternatively, mailing lists with this kind of
traffic should be gatewayed to Usenet newsgroups, where users can hop
on and off at will, and read messages as they get a chance, but don't
have their mailbox get filled by too many messages sent per day.
I wanted to comment here. I've decided (and the subject comes up on my
list every 6 months or so) not to gateway to usenet. A few ISP's though do
gateway my list to local groups. A large percentage of my subscribers
(about 25%) were from AOL and they disporportionately bounced and
unsubscribed due to volume (about 20 posts/day). So I wrote AOL and now my
list is echoed to the "usenet" but local to AOL (aol.lists.immune). This
helped tremendously. The people who want to read but can't really keep up,
can still see posts. The people who are only interested in a few of the
messages can easily browse the subject headers. One of my worries with a
usenet feed was that the volume of posts would increase dramactically,
especially the "me too" style of posts. But I only get a handful of posts
a month from the AOL news browser.
We have six million users (approximately 20% of the entire
Internet, at least according to estimates I've heard). Any place
that has this many users will have more problems than any other,
simply because they have more users than any other. Compare the
number of problems you have with our users relative to how many users
we have, and how many users we have that are subscribed to your list,
and I think you'll find that our "problem" rate is roughly about the
same per user as the average for the list.
Actually, I think the bounce rate is about the same per user (higher for
full mailboxes, but almost absent for system errors or even connection
errors; oh and lots higher on unknown users). But I'd say a disporportate
number of problem *users* come from AOL (due to the ease of getting an
account, the ease of extra account names, and the freebie sign-ons).
What we typically don't have is system-type problems, because if
we have a problem that stops all mail from getting through, you
better believe that we hear about it and fix it fast (you really
don't want to be responsible for losing two or three million
messages, trust me). I guess we trade system-type problems that are
more likely for other sites to have for more user-type problems, but
overall, I honestly think that we're probably at or somewhat below
your average error rate.
The problem is that certain email "offenders" are more likely to
get themselves on a lot of high-traffic lists, and then suddenly go
away for a short period of time, and be unable or unwilling to
properly deal with the consequences (and unable or unwilling to take
the responsibility for making sure that these kinds of problems don't
occur in the first place, by properly unsubscribing/setting NOMAIL
before they leave).
This is a *huge* problem. I maintain my list by hand (don't ask!) and am
behind on new subs right now (long story(ies)!) and find that about 20-40%
of sub requests from aol result in unknown user bounces at the point they
get on to the list. I'm guessing most of those are from people using the
free 10 (or 15) hr accounts. these are usually internet newbies who have
no clue what a mailing list is. They do a search for a keyword on yahoo,
find my webpage, and think it'd be fun to subscribe to this list, and then
they send me mail and ask to get on the list. I wish those freebie
accounts had more restrictions...
"There's nothing wrong with me. Maybe there's Cyndi Norman
something wrong with the universe." (ST:TNG) firstname.lastname@example.org