Managing Mailing Lists in SmarterMail is Painful
Question asked by Ron Raley - 12/12/2017 at 8:45 PM
Guys, I would like to have a serious conversation about subscribers being automatically removed from mailing lists in SmarterMail. 
A few key points:
  • It is a GOOD feature to drop subscribers after X number of delivery failures.
  • In SmarterMail 15 domain admins could set X.
  • In SmarterMail 16, domain admins can no longer control X.  This is set at 3 delivery failures.
We have many customers that use SmarterMail 16 and establish mailing lists.  Some of the customers never visit the mailing list settings again (I know bad) and are disappointed and call us to find out why some of their subscribers have dropped.
The immediate reaction is "please turn it off".  This is the part I agree with them.  Why isn't it turned off and kept off as default?  I get all of the legal spam mumbo jumbo, but that would be more of the customer's liability versus the software provider.
In conclusion, I would like to see SmarterMail 16 never drop subscribers out-of-the-box.  Then, as customers build mailing lists with hundreds and thousands of subscribers, they can opt to turn on such a function.  My vote is cast!

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Ron Raley Replied
I am doing whatever I can to revive this thread to the attention of SmarterTools.  Sorry to pester.
The mailing list subscriber drops go on and on and on and on.
What is really painful is when it is our fault.  Occasionally, a user from our server gets hacked / sends spam, so then we are blocked by various ISPs.  Ultimately, this causes even more mailing list subscribers to drop (at no fault of the customer).
We are between a rock and a hard place and the solution is a setting.  I wish upon a star that it were returned to SmarterMail 16!
Tim Uzzanti please help!
Derek Curtis, what are your thoughts?
Scarab Replied
Although a good number of our customers have been heavy users of the Mailing List feature in SM to be honest over the years we have referred many of our customers to MailChimp & Constant Contact instead as the Mailing List feature in SM has stagnated and not kept up with the industry and the needs of end-users who do mass mailings. It is fine for basic old-school '90s needs, but if you need it for serious marketing then SM Mailing Lists just isn't up to the task.
We still have about a couple dozen users with 75K Subscribers and it has been pretty smooth so long as we enforce Mailing List Footers with the #Unsubscribe# link and set abuse@ and postmaster@ aliases to a monitored address and have subscribed to every Feedback Loop. We've actually made it on multiple Whitelists without trying and never seem to take any reputation hit when an account gets occasionally compromised and sends out spam (which even if their spam isn't caught by Outgoing SMTP Blocking it will be successfully throttled by SM and limit the damage done until a Mail Admin can respond to the Auto Spam Notification from SM).
Be that as it may, it would be nice to have the drop subscribers after X failures be a configurable setting again in v16. Actually having a separate setting for X# Hard Fails (5XX response errors, like "510 Invalid email address") and X# Soft Fails (4XX response errors, like "422 Mailbox size exceeded") would be even better (seriously, why bother with 3 Hard Fail bounces when 1 is more than enough? Whereas I could see 6 being a good value for Soft Fail bounces for twice weekly Mailing Lists and the standard 3 for monthly Mailing Lists). While SmarterTools are at it, better Mailing List Reports would certainly be a welcome addition too. Being able to see Subscriber counts over time or Unsubscribes per mailing would be a valuable addition IMHO.
Ron Raley Replied
I have now noticed that one of our mailing lists has 5 bounces.  The last bounce was on a list message sent on February 6, 2018.
SmarterMail 16 Help indicates:
"Note: Subscribers are automatically removed from a mailing list after 3 bounce messages are received."
This is confusing now.  Is SmarterMail not dropping subscribers any further?  I did not notice any release notes on this.  Clarification from SmarterTools would be very helpful here.
Ron Raley Replied
Still seeking clarification at this time.  Thank you.
Ron Raley Replied
Continuing to seek clarification on what SmarterMail 16 is supposed to be doing versus what it is doing.  My customer has been waiting patiently as well.  Thank you.
Andrea Free Replied
Employee Post Marked As Answer
Hi all, 

I'm sorry for not seeing this and providing an update sooner. In SmarterMail 16.3.6691, we added back the setting to allow Domain Admins to change the subscriber bounce threshold. The setting is now called "Bounces Before Removal" and can be found at Domain Settings > General. See the following release note from that version:
  • Added: The editable Bounces Before Removal setting for mailing lists has been added to the Mailing Lists card on a domain's General Settings.

In 16.3.6775, we also resolved an issue related to that setting, so please be sure to update to the latest minor version to get the best experience:
  • Fixed: The Bounces Before Removal setting was not properly saved, causing the setting to be reset to the default value, 3. Upgrading to this version will reset the value to 3, but going forward, the Bounces Before Removal setting will be saved properly and will not be reset on upgrade or service restarts.

 The Online Help documentation has been updated accordingly.

Andrea Free
SmarterTools Inc.


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