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Getting Started With Your Listserve

Adding initial listserve members

In order to use your list you must first add your members. Log in to your account using the account name and password that you selected and click the List members menu. There are a number of ways to add members, including uploading a file. The easiest method to add a single member is to click "Add member". Enter the user's details and click the Add button.

Before members become active on your list they must confirm their email address. They do this by clicking a link in a confirmation email that must be sent to them from your account. The confirmation email contains a link for them to click on (the contents can be customised using General Settings). Once they have clicked the link, their email address is confirmed and they become an active member of your list. This is shown by a green tick next to their name in the address book.

Please note that in order to combat spam, there is a daily limit of 200 confirmation requests for unverified accounts. Please contact support to remove this limit.

To send confirmation requests when adding a new member, select the tick box entitled "send email confirmation request to address". Confirmation requests can be sent (or resent) to existing members using the main address book page.

If you are transferring over from another provider or system then please contact us about avoiding the need for people to re-confirm their email address.

Sending your first group email

Once members are added and confirmed you can send them all a message directly from your own email account. Simply send an email to your list email address. An email sent to this email address will be distributed straight to all members of your list who are confirmed. For a single list your list email address is your account name as shown at the top of the Members Home page. For a multiple list the list email address is shown in the List Members menu for each list.

Please note: the default setting is to allow any list member to send a message. Therefore any confirmed member of your list can distribute a posting straight to the list, but any others are held for your approval. This behaviour can be configured using List Settings.

Creating a group (Multiple Lists only)

Before you can use your Multiple List you must first create a list within your account. To do this, go to the Manage Lists menu and use the "Create a list" function.

The list name that you choose will form the email address that you will use for the list. For example if you chose "mylist" then your list email address will be mylist@yourdomain.com, where yourdomain.com is your account name.

Once you have created a list you will need to add some members to it using the List Members menu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Simplelists better than one of the free group email list providers?

As with all things in life you get what you pay for:

  • We consider Simplelists to be more reliable and easier to use than free email list providers.

  • All list emails are free from any adverts.

  • You can add people directly to your list without the user needing to do any signing up.

  • We guarantee that the email addresses you add to your email list will not be used for any other purpose.

Why should Simplelists be used instead of an Outlook distribution list?

There are several reasons that make our service an advantage over an Outlook distribution list:

  • An email can be sent by anybody to the list email address and distributed. There is no need for someone to take on the task of doing so.

  • We can deliver much larger numbers of emails than most Outlook setups.

  • People can add and remove themselves to your list automatically.

  • Our email deliverability is generally better.

  • All messages can be automatically archived on a website should you choose to do so.

  • Bounced emails are processed automatically.

Can an email list be transferred from another email listserve provider without members needing to reconfirm their addresses?

Yes. Signup up for a free trial, let us know your listname and current email list members, and we will arrange for them to be transferred to your email list directly, without users needing to re-confirm their addresses.

How long does it take for email list renewals to be processed?

Renewals are processed immediately and are visible in accounts straight away. If your renewal has not been processed within a few minutes then please contact support.

Can HTML formatted emails or attachments be sent using Simplelists?

Yes, any sort of emails that you normally send can be sent through Simplelists - Simplelists just forwards them on as they are received to all your email list members.

Support by Topics

General

Can an email list be transferred from another email listserve provider without members needing to reconfirm their addresses?

Yes. Signup up for a free trial, let us know your listname and current email list members, and we will arrange for them to be transferred to your email list directly, without users needing to re-confirm their addresses.

Is it possible to get a virus through Simplelists?

It is very unlikely. We use regularly updated anti-virus software to scan all messages, and should you choose to do so then you can configure your list to hold messages for approval.

Why do emails sometimes have a sender similar to "list-manager@simplelists.com on behalf of sender@email.com"?

This is how some email clients choose to display the messages. We distribute messages with the same From address that they are received with, but we have to add sender information to sign the messages with our DKIM signature (this proves they came from us and improves deliverability) and we also have to add a return address so that bounces are handled automatically. It is these addresses that some email clients display.

The only way to stop the above being displayed would be to remove the extra sender information, which would break our automatic bounce handling and also reduce the chance of your message getting delivered.

How secure are Simplelists' systems?

We use a number of security measures. All management of your email list through the web interface, and the login itself, is performed over an SSL encrypted connection. Any credit or debit card payments you make are also all performed over an encrypted link. The password on your account is stored encrypted on our servers, and all your email addresses are not available to anyone except in the course of system maintenance.

Aliases and auto-forwarders (Multiple List product)

For Multiple List accounts, aliases provide a facility to forward email addresses at your domain to other email accounts. They can also be used to group several lists into one list or to create a list of moderators as described in Moderating your Email List.

Aliases are managed using the Aliases section of an account. To add an alias click on 'Add alias' after clicking on the Alias menu. You will be presented with a dialogue to enter an alias name and a number of addresses. The alias name becomes an email address at the domain, for example alias@yourdomain.com, and is forwarded to all the addresses listed below it.

Email addresses can either be normal email addresses or other lists and aliases at your domain. In either case, the full email address should be entered (such as listname@domain.com for a list).

Aliases can be edited by clicking on the alias name in the main aliases page. To remove an email address, delete it from the list and click 'Update'. To delete the entire alias click 'Delete'.

Changing general account settings

Settings applicable to your account (or that apply to all lists in the case of a Multiple List) can be viewed by clicking General Settings in the account menu. Available settings are:

Your email address: This address is the email address that we will use if we need to contact you. Please ensure that you keep this address up to date. Multiple addresses can be entered by separating them by commas.

Password change: If you wish to change your password click on 'change'. To change your password you must first enter your old password, and then enter a new password twice.

List manager address: This address will be used for any automated emails to do with lists, such as subscription requests, bounce notifications, auto-removal and approval notification.

Approval notifications: Select how messages held for approval should be managed. The following self-explanatory options are available: Do not notify me of messages held for approval; Email me when any messages are held for approval; Delete all messages held for approval; Delete messages held for approval if not from list member.

Web subscriptions: See Web Subscriptions

List description: Confirmation and Daily Digest emails will appear to come from this name. The actual email address will always be list-manager@yourdomain.com for a Multiple List and listname-manager@simplelists.com for a Single List.

Confirmation subject: This is the subject of the confirmation email message sent from the address book for members to confirm their address with.

Confirmation message: This text will form the body of the confirmation email. By default the link to click on will be appended to the end of the message, although this can be changed by inserting the text $LINK somewhere within the text.

Custom message: This message, if configured, will be displayed to the user when they confirm their email address, and will also be emailed to them if the checkbox below is ticked.

Account homepage

The Member's Homepage contains details of your account including your Data Transfer allowance and the expiry date of your list.

Making Purchases
Additional data transfer can be bought (for PAYG pricing plans) or the expiry of your account extended (for Unlimited pricing plans) by selecting an amount and adding it to your shopping basket using the relevant 'Add to basket' button. Once you have the items required in your basket use the 'Pay' button to purchase them. You may buy items as many times as you want and they will be added to the current value. Any unwanted items can be removed by clicking the red cross next to the item.

Why do I receive the error message "your confirmation request limit for today has been reached"?

In order to combat spam, there is a daily limit of 200 confirmation requests for unverified accounts. Please contact support to have this limit removed.

Billing, pricing and accounts

What payment methods are accepted?

We accept the following credit and debit cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Switch, Visa Delta, Visa Electron, Solo and JCB. We also accept Paypal as well as cheques from the UK and US, and international payments via SWIFT. If you wish to send a cheque for payment, please send it (payable to Simplelists.com), along with details of what your payment is for and your username, to the following address: Simplelists.com, BCM 6673, London, WC1N 3XX, England

How long does it take for email list renewals to be processed?

Renewals are processed immediately and are visible in accounts straight away. If your renewal has not been processed within a few minutes then please contact support.

What happens if the data limit is exceeded for a Pay As You Go account?

Simply login to your account and purchase some more. We will allow a 7 day grace period to do so, after which your account will be disabled, although we always send a warning before doing so. If you are frequently needing to purchase additional data allowance then you might want to consider our Unlimited price plan instead.

Pay As You Go pricing plan - Data Allowance

Our Pay As You Go pricing plan measures list use by the amount of data sent. Unlike other email list providers that measure your list use by the number of emails sent, this provides a much fairer pricing mechanism: the more emails you send and the larger the emails the more data allowance you use.

There is a minimum purchase level that applies to Pay As You Go accounts, as defined on our pricing pages. If data is not purchased at this frequency then an account will be temporarily disabled until more is bought.

If for any reason a list exceeds its credited amount of data, then a warning is emailed to the list manager and 7 days allowed to purchase more.

Full details of the amount of data that your account has used can be displayed by clicking the current totals; full details will be displayed in a pop-up window:

How do I change my account between a Single List and a Multiple List

If you wish to upgrade your Single List account to a Multiple List account, or change your Multiple List account to a Single List account, then please contact support who will do this for you.

I have a Single List. How do I add another list?

If you wish to add another Single List to your account, then simply register for a new Single List using the Products page on our website. If you enter the same administrator email address when registering, then this new account will be added to your existing login. You can switch between different accounts using the drop-down menu in the top-right corner of your login.

How do I change between Pay As You Go pricing and Unlmited pricing?

Please contact support if you wish to change your price plan, who will transfer your account for you.

Message Formatting

Subject prefixes and message footers

Yes. This facility can be enabled in the web management interface of your email list. See List Settings. A prefix to list messages can also be configured - please contact Support.

Can HTML formatted emails or attachments be sent using Simplelists?

Yes, any sort of emails that you normally send can be sent through Simplelists - Simplelists just forwards them on as they are received to all your email list members.

Can email replies go to a different address other than the original sender or the list itself?

Yes, please contact support.

Can attachments and other graphics be stripped from list emails?

Attachments can be removed using the relevant setting in List Settings. If you would also like all messages to be converted to plain text, then please contact Support.

Can a sender's email address be hidden?

All list messages must have a "from" email address, but we can set this to be an email address of your choice for all list messages. We can also change only the email address or the name/description of the email address, in order to hide only the sender's email address or name. Please contact Support with your request.

Customising listserve messages

Use the List Settings page to customise your list messages:

Subject Prefix: Text entered here will be inserted before the subject of all emails sent to the list.

Message Footer: Text entered here will be added to the bottom of all emails sent to the list in plain or HTML format.

HTML Message Footer: Optionally enter HTML text in this box. Any emails sent in HTML will use this footer instead of the footer above. If this box is left blank the footer above will be used for HTML emails.

Attachments: Tick the Attachments box to strip all attachments from list emails.

Daily summary digest emails

For busy lists, members can receive list messages in digest format. Instead of receiving list messages as soon as they are posted, members using the digest format will receive one email every 24 hours containing all the previous 24 hours' messages.

If your members sign up using Web Subscriptions then they can opt to receive the digest format at the same time as subscribing. Alternatively, members can be configured to receive digest emails by selecting the appropriate option when adding or editing emails in the address book.

Is it possible to personalize each list email with the recipient's name?

Yes, it's possible to use variables in your list emails, which will be replaced with the recipient's name. In order to have this feature activated for your account, please contact Support. You will need to specify text that is used if the recipient's name is missing (e.g. "Member", so that the email becomes "Dear Member" instead of Dear John Smith

User Subscriptions

Can people add themselves to my group email list?

We provide the facility for people to add and remove themselves from your email list via a web form, should you wish to enable the facility. The webform can be either a small form on your own website (details under "General Settings"->"Web Subscription Settings" in your account), or can be hosted by Simplelists.com. See this support topic for more information.

Can list subscription forms be fully integrated into a website without users seeing the final Simplelists landing page?

Yes, you can use server side scripts on your website. For example, using PHP (and cURL), you can contact the Simplelists subscriptions server and process the subscription in the background. Sample PHP code is shown below, but this could equally well be done using ASP or other server side scripts.
$ch = curl_init();
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL,"http://www.simplelists.com/subscribe.php");
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POST, 1);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS,"name=$Name&email=$Email&list=$List&action=$Subscribe");
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER,1);
curl_exec($ch);
curl_close($ch);
Please note: If your hosting company uses a proxy server for cURL communication then you may have to reference that in fsockopen.

Enabling subscriptions and unsubscriptions using a website

Users can add and remove themselves to your lists using a subscription page on a website. The website can either be your own, in which case the form will be fully integrated, or if required can be hosted by Simplelists. All Single Lists have a default web subscriptions page (which we will customise on your request). For all Multiple Lists we will create a web subscriptions page on request. Web subscriptions are enabled and disabled using the 'web subscriptions settings' link under General Settings.

Web subscription forms are fully customisable. By default the form contains fields for the member's name and email address, a checkbox for the format of the messages (digest or normal) and an option to subscribe or unsubscribe. However, the form can contain as few or many of these as required; for example, it is possible to set up a form with just an email address field in order to allow members to unsubscribe only. In this case a hidden form field must be used to designate the action required. Available form fields are as follows:

nameThe member's full name. This will be split into first name and surname by Simplelists
emailThe member's email address
digestIf checked the user will receive list emails in Digest Format
notesOptional. Any text that you want in the 'notes' area of the member's details
actionShould be either 'subscribe' or 'unsubscribe' as applicable
listThe full list email address such as listname@simplelists.com or list@domain.com
Multiple lists can also use an asterisk (*@domain.com) to make the request apply to all lists

All forms should be submitted using a POST request to http://www.simplelists.com/subscribe.php using a form such as the one in the example below. If you want to further integrate your website with Simplelists you can use server side scripts. For example, using PHP (and cURL), you can contact the Simplelists subscriptions server and process the subscription in the background. Sample PHP code is shown at the end of the examples below, but this could equally well be done using ASP or other server side scripts. Please note: If your hosting company uses a proxy server for cURL communication then you may have to reference that in fsockopen.

Example forms
Specific example forms are contained within each account's Member Subscription self-management section. A generic example is also shown below:

<form method="POST" action="http://www.simplelists.com/subscribe.php">
<table>
<tr><td>Full Name:</td><td><input type="text" name="name"></td></tr>
<tr><td>Email:</td><td><input type="text" name="email"></td></tr>
<tr><td></td><td><input type="checkbox" name="digest" value="digest">Daily digest summary format</td></tr>
<tr><td></td><td><input type="radio" name="action" value="subscribe" checked>Subscribe</td></tr>
<tr><td></td><td><input type="radio" name="action" value="unsubscribe">Unsubscribe</td></tr>
<tr><td></td><td><input type="submit" class="input" name="submit" value="Submit"></td></tr>
</table>
<input type="hidden" name="list" value="test@simplelists.com">
</form>

Example server-side subscription using PHP and cURL

$ch = curl_init();
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL,'http://www.simplelists.com/subscribe.php');
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POST, 1);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS,"name=$Name&email=$Email&list=$List&action=$Subscribe");
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER,1);
curl_exec($ch);
curl_close($ch);

Methods for list members to unsubscribe

There are a number of methods that List Members can be removed from a list:

A web subscriptions form: See Web subscriptions

List-Unsubscribe header: All our lists now feature the List-Unsubscribe Header which is hidden in all list messages. Some email clients display this as a one-click link for members to click on and unsubscribe.

Spam reports: Many email providers now offer an option for users to report emails as spam. If a user reports Simplelists email as spam we will receive notification from the email provider. If we receive one of these notifications we will automatically remove the list member. Both the List Manager and the member will receive notification that this has happened; the list member will be provided with a one-click link in order to resubscribe to the list should they have inadvertently reported the list emails as spam.

Using Domain Names with Simplelists

Is it possible to forward emails elsewhere that are sent to a Multiple List account?

You can do this by selecting aliases from the web management interface. Here you specify email addresses at your account that you want forwarded to other email addresses. For example you could specify sales@yourlist.com to be redirected to sales@yourcompany.com.

Can my own domain name be used with a Single List?

You can do so by setting a forward on your domain to forward all mail for the address you want to use (e.g. list@yourdomain.com) to your Simplelists email address. Your list emails can then be sent to your domain address. It is also possible for a "virtual" list email address to be set within Simplelists, which will be used in most places instead of the Simplelists email address. Please contact us if you would like to do this.

Simplelists MX settings for Multiple Lists

The primary mail server needs to be set to mx1.simplelists.com and the secondary mail server needs to mx2.simplelists.com. It should be ensured that both mail servers are not set at the same priority - if they are then some messages will send to the email list but some will be rejected.

Managing Members

Using the address book

The address book gives full control over your members and is opened by clicking 'Address book' from the menu of a multiple list or 'List Members' of a Single List.

There are several ways of adding and editing members as detailed below, although before members become active on your list they must first confirm their address.

To add a single member Click 'Add member' and enter the member's details. At the same time you can choose to send them an email in order to confirm their address and elect to send them list messages in digest format. Notes can be added to each member if required. Multiple list account holders can also choose the lists that a user should be a member of.

To add a large number of email addresses it is possible to upload a CSV (Comma Separated Variable) file. This file can be produced from most database and spreadsheet applications, as well as email clients such as Microsoft Outlook. Use the Save As or Export functions of the program to do so. The file at a minimum must contain the full name and email address of each member but can also detail the notes for each entry. The entries can be in any order and be comma or tab separated.

A large number of email addresses can also be added by copying and pasting them into the 'Add Many' box. In this case the name of each member is optional. For a multiple list a list can be selected to add them to in addition to the main address book.

Handling messages that cannot be delivered (bounces)

Simplelists will automatically handle any messages from your list that cannot be delivered to members. Details of any undeliverable emails are displayed by selecting the 'Bounces' menu once logged in to your account.

In order to keep high deliverability rates to ISPs and to make it easier for you to manage your list, we automatically delete any members from your list if within any month either of the following happen:

  • Have a bounce rate higher than 75%

  • Have more than a total of 30 bounces


The List Manager will be notified of any members that have been deleted and will also receive a warning towards the end of each month if any members are over the 75% bounce rate. Using the same Bounces page it is also possible to configure accounts to send a daily message detailing all bounces.

Addresses on low volume lists (less than 4 postings a month) will have their bounces averaged over more than 1 month.

Confirmation of member email addresses

Before members can be added to lists, they must confirm their email address to show that they want to receive list emails. This is achieved by the sending of a confirmation email; the user receives the email which contains a link for them to click on. Once they select the link, their email address is confirmed, and they become an active member of your address book. This is shown by a green tick next to their name in the address book.

Confirmation requests can be sent in one of two ways: either by selecting the tick box entitled 'send email confirmation request to address' when adding a member, or once the member has been added to the address book a confirmation can be sent (or indeed resent) by selecting the address in the address book and clicking on 'send confirmation' at the bottom of the page.

If you are transferring email addresses from another provider or if you have other proof that your members wish to receive emails from your list, then please contact us to discuss other options to make managing your account easier.

Adding and removing list members - Multiple List

To add and remove list members in a Multiple List use the List Members menu. Select the required list from the drop down box and then add and remove its members by selecting the appropriate people and clicking '>>' to add them and '<<' to remove them. Multiple members can be selected using the ctrl and shift keys of your keyboard. Use ctrl to select multiple names individually and use shift to select two names and all those names in between.

Any members can be added and removed to lists, but they will only receive list emails once their address is confirmed (shown by the red and green highlighting of each member).

If preferred, members can be added and removed using email addresses instead of names; just click the 'View by email' link.

Other advanced features in List Members allow list members to be viewed in a printable format or downloaded.

Creating, deleting and managing Lists - Multiple List

Create and delete lists in your Multiple List account using the 'Manage Lists' menu. Lists are created by entering a name into the text box and clicking 'create'. Lists are removed by selecting the name from the drop down box and clicking 'Delete'. List names can consist of the characters a-z, 0-9, hyphen (-), period (.) and underscore (_).

You can also use Manage Lists to move or copy members between lists.

Archives

Deleting messages from archives

If you would like any messages deleted from your list archives, then please contact us. Please provide either a link to the messages in question, or the ID numbers of the messages (this is the last few digits at the end of the URL of the message in the archives

Archiving list emails to a website

Searchable web archives are available for all lists at no extra cost. By default, archives are not enabled but they can be turned on through the Archives menu of an account. The Archives menu also provides the ability to customise the archive web pages. Archives can be password protected and if desired all email addresses within the archives can be hidden.

There is no limit on the size of archives.

Restricting access to archive pages

Restricting access to archives is done within the Archives tab of the "list settings" menu. Access can be restricted either by a single password (shared amongst those that need it), or by allowing any list member access. In the case of the latter, a member simply enters their email address when requiring access, and the user then receives an email with a link in, in order to prove that they are actually a list member. The link in the email can only be used once, but as long as the member does not log out of the archives, then they can continue to view them for 3 months. The default setting is to allow list member access only.

Controlling List Messages

Moderating listserve emails

Any list can be configured (using the List Settings page) to define which messages will be distributed straight to the list and which will be held for approval. The following options are available:

No moderation - all messages will be distributed to your list regardless who sent them.
Moderate all messages - all messages will be held for approval regardless.
Allow specific members - in a Single List select either the whole list or detail specific email addresses. In a Multiple List you also have the option to define lists whose members can post.

Max message size - this value defines the maximum message size in kilobytes before a message is held for approval.

The List Code detailed on the same page can be used as a prefix to any list messages to override any moderation settings.

Approving listserve messages

Any emails that are held for approval are viewed and approved in the approval page. Emails will need approving due to the list settings. Messages waiting to be approved can be viewed by clicking on the sender's name. The reason that a message has been held will be annotated within the list of messages waiting for approval.

If an email is sent to a list that has attachments or is in multiple formats then the email will be presented as a number of 'parts'. Each part can be viewed by clicking on it. If the part is text or an image then it will be displayed in the web browser. If the part is an attachment then you will be prompted to download it by your web browser. Although it is not possible to catch a virus by viewing text or images of a message, it may be possible to catch a virus when downloading and opening attachments. For this reason we do not recommend downloading any attachments, or approving any emails with attachments, unless you are 100% certain what the attachment is.

Minor changes can be made to messages before they are distributed using the 'Edit Message Source' link. A preview of a message can also be sent to from this link.
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