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I think we've all been there, you've been asked to write something to send bulk emails for whatever reason. It's a solved problem, theres a multitude of companies out there to handle this for you, and theres no point in catching up on their many years of single minded focus on making sure your email reaches its destination without being waylaid by spam filters.

Now, I could go into a point by point talk about DKIM, SPF, ISP rate limits, content inspection, bounces, getting blacklisted, getting unblacklisted etc, but the eyes will glaze over.

How do you convince a non technical manager of the issues around bulk email like this?

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Don't tell them details... they will, as you say, glaze over. Just say

"Our e-mails won't get there because of the anti-spam measures in place. Companies who specialize in bulk mailing have methods to solve that issue, and it'd cost us more to reproduce what they make than it would to hire them."

Then leave it at that. IME, once you say "... it'll cost more..." they change their mind. If it's someone who doesn't have any financial pressures (some managers don't have to worry about what things cost) then just tell them it'll take time away from [project x].

You're not there to explain complexities, you're there to simplify complexities so that management can make informed decisions without having to actually know anything in depth.

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Unless you're working for a company, like so many, that has high-level managers who start jonesin' for some pet project, no matter the cost. Then, it doesn't matter whether it makes sense, they want it yesterday and it's "Full steam ahead and damn the torpedos". I've had to drop everything for such a task, even though there are some awesome fully-supported open-source tools that have been around for ages. My manager agrees with me that the open-source tools would be better, but managers above him are doing the jonesin', and well, you know how jonesin' rolls down hill. :-) –  the Tin Man Nov 25 '10 at 4:05
    
@Greg True. That jonesin' rolls right alongside other things as well :) –  Steve Evers Nov 25 '10 at 4:09
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@SnOrfus, What's worse is how it gets all over EVERYONE when it hits the fan. And it does always. –  the Tin Man Nov 25 '10 at 4:47
    
absolutely agree, just be sure that the bulk emailer chosen actually has those measures in place! what is their open rate, do they use double opt-in...or are they just a 'more legit' version of spammer? ;-) –  Steven A. Lowe Nov 25 '10 at 5:22
    
They have to squeeze the internet lan wire until the bytes of the e-mail get to their destinations. The reason it never works is because they aren't squeezing hard enough. ;) –  Neil Nov 25 '10 at 8:15
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Sell them on the value-added services of the bulk emailer of choice, instead of why their idea sucks. Eventually, after you champion the 3rd party services enough a reasonable manager would be able to see that the resource cost of developing your own solution that has all those features is significantly more than the monthly/contract pricing.

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