Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(December 1996)

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Subject: Re: Large Mailing Lists
From: Eric Thomas <ERIC @ VM . SE . LSOFT . COM>
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 1996 11:27:15 +0100
To: James Cook <jcook @ netcom . com>
Cc: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: Message of Sun, 8 Dec 1996 12:44:23 -0800 (PST) from list-managers-owner @ GreatCircle . COM

On Sun,  8 Dec  1996 12:44:23 -0800  (PST) James  Cook <jcook @
 netcom .

>3. Is  this kind of "management"  of the delivery transport  side of the
>equation a key part of Lsoft's products or other "high end" MLM's?

LISTSERV does  not include  a MTA  (we do sell  a MTA,  LSMTP, but  it is
technically a separate  product, even if you bought the  two as a package
and  installed them  together). When  you set  up LISTSERV,  you indicate
where outgoing mail should  be sent. This could be to  LSMTP, or it could
be a local Linux box with sendmail, or a MTA run by your ISP, etc.

Perhaps I should  clarify what the process Brent described  does and does
not do:

1. It quickly  FORWARDS the delivery chore  to your ISP. This  makes it a
   very convenient way  to run a list over dial-up  (presumably the ISP's
   machine has 24h uptime).

2. Your  ISP bears the  (resource/bandwidth) cost of  actually delivering
   the mail. This means you had  better check with them beforehand unless
   it is very little traffic, or they might just send you a bill.

3. It does  not DELIVER anything. It  may give the illusion  of fast mail
   delivery because the messages leave your machine quickly, but they are
   just  being moved  around to  the machine  that will  actually deliver

I'd like  to insist  on #2.  When we developed  the shareware  version of
LISTSERV for  Win95, all the  beta sites  were happily using  their ISP's
machine for mail delivery.  Well, most of them had one  list of 10 people
with 5 postings  a day, which is  well within the amount  of mail traffic
that an ISP  can expect an active/enthusiastic user to  have. But some of
them ran lists with nearly a  thousand subscribers, and they were dumping
it all  on the  ISP. In  very rough  figures, we  were talking  50k daily
deliveries  offloaded to  the  ISP -  for just  ONE  customer. A  typical
sendmail  server  has  a  capacity of  100-200k/day.  The  potential  for
overloading the server  and impacting its other users was  very real, and
at $19.95/month it is highly unlikely that the ISP's reaction would be to
buy more  sendmail servers so  that people can  run more large  lists. We
were in  fact concerned about  getting sued,  so we configured  the trial
copies to deliver all their mail through  our machines (in a way that the
user cannot  override until a registered  copy is bought -  this way *we*
bear the  costs of  the trial), and  we also sold  a cheap  mail delivery
service to go with the shareware version.

>I'm thinking of Lost's LSMTP as I write this.

LSMTP  actually delivers  all the  mail  you send  it, unless  instructed
otherwise (you can  set up special forwarding rules  for certain domains,
etc). You don't need LSMTP to  offload your deliveries to a third party's
server (LISTSERV can do that for  you), and it would be false advertising
to publish  delivery figures that  turned out to  be for tossing  the hot
potato to a third server.


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