On Tue, 4 Nov 2003, JC Dill wrote:
For those of you who run lists that have a high percentage of
unsophisticated subscribers, are you seeing similar problems with
address verification by AOL and/or Hotmail users? Have you reworded
your welcome message subject line to improve the odds that the
recipient recognizes the email as requested and one that requires
action before they can join your list? If so, what changes have you
made that have helped with this problem?
In general, I don't think there is anything you can do that will
guarantee anything. Most people are too quick to "find spam" if they
don't immediately recognize you. AOL, Hotmail, and others make it too
easy for users to select that choice.
However, there are three things that we have found to help.
1. Everywhere there are instructions make sure they all describe a 3
step process. Request a subscription, reply to the confirmation
request, and finally receive the welcome message. The actual level
of detail varies with the space available but whenever possible we
tell people exactly what the subject line will look like and the
email address the message will be from when they get it.
And a minor nit with your words above. The "welcome message" is the
final message from the server to the subscriber. It's not a welcome
message if the prospective subscriber must reply to it.
2. We put the prefix "ACTION REQUESTED" on the subject line of the
confirmation request, immediately followed by the name of the list,
Subject: ACTION REQUESTED: list-managers ....
3. Make sure your server does everything in real-time. This seems
obvious but there's nothing more annoying than requesting a
subscription and having to wait hours (or even a day) for the
confirmation request. If it doesn't get sent and received with 5
minutes people forget. So you have to do it immediately because you
have no control over AOL and Hotmail, which may or may not deliver
anything in any particular amount of time.
Hope this helps,