Hosting Bargains for Small Ezines
By Janet Roberts
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It seems like such a 1990s concept now: free hosting for ezine publishers. Most of the free hosts have either sharply cut back their features, been in constant trouble with junk-email blocklists and filters, or just plain run out of money.
However, at least two paid list-hosting companies still maintain no- cost hosting for owners of micro-lists. If you're just starting out, or you keep your list small on purpose, you should check each one out.
The biggest catch with these free resources is that they are only for small lists, either no more then 50 recipients or no more than 1000 messages sent in a month.
However, you do get plenty of benefits not available on less- restricted free services, such as custom subscribe forms, detailed subscriber statistics and database search. Oh, and no outside ads.
Ezine-Tips doesn't endorse either company, but we think they're worth your time to investigate. Here they are:
This service combines paid hosting with free service for up to 1,000 messages a month. Pricing is based on number of messages sent.
This paid service also allows owners with lists of 50 members or fewer to use the service for free. Pricing is based on number of recipients.
EmailExtreme is an established hosting service; owner Clay Ver Valen has contributed to previous Ezine-Tips issues.
EZezine.com is a newcomer in the business. Partners Lisa Micklin and Jopa developed their proprietary list-hosting program last year and opened for business in March 2003.
Lisa is former advertising manager for publishers Ezineville and Coachville and publishes the Weekly Wakeup ezine. Jopa owns http://www.mytechsolutions.com , specializing in customized Web database applications, perl programming, interactive Web form, and customized hosting and publishes http://www.devreal.net for Unix Admin Web Programmers resources.
The company has 200 clients, or "members," Lisa said; 60 percent use the free service, 25 percent are on the company's volunteer research and development team and 98 percent get the company's opt- in email newsletter.
EZezine.com will launch Version 2.0 of its list-hosting program next spring, with features available only to paid clients. However, free clients have access to all features, including tech support, custom subscription forms, archives hosted on its server, no ads, customized list-owner notifications, soft and hard bounce detection and management, subscriber statistics, database search and backup, text or HTML format, online HTML editor and delivery scheduling.
Why offer a free service?
"We understand what it is like to just be starting out and developing an ezine," Lisa said.
"We wanted to offer a place where 'newbies' can develop their publications with the support of our educational arm, while saving on the expense of hosting.
"Towards this end, we offer various classes on ezine development, an ever-evolving article bank of tips and tools, affordable ezine design services and ongoing technical support. This level of supportive customer service has led to a high percentage of word-of-mouth referrals for us."
You can check out all of EZezine.com's resources for new and veteran email publishers at the site.
Both EmailExtreme and EZezine.com also come off well in the spam department. I ran their IP addresses through some of the major blocklists, and both came up clean.
"This is a top priority for us," Lisa said. "We monitor every account. I think most spammers are a bit intimidated by our policy and keep looking for another service provider when they see our position. We have had two incidents of spammers signing up, and we closed both accounts immediately. We are looking towards actively becoming whitelisted with as many ISP's as possible in the future."
FYI -- this is the site I used to run the quick IP check-up.
Use it to see if you're on any blocklists. Don't be alarmed if you do register a ping or two; with all the email viruses and spoofing going around, almost everybody will be on a minor blocklist. However, if you show up on one that major ISPs use, such as SpamCop or SpamHaus, contact those list managers immediately.
Ezine-Tips for July 15, 2003
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