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My course newsletter has been hosted at topica.

The first problem I had was when I decided to pay for growth.

I joined a service that provides subscribers for a fee, but after adding a few days worth to the list I was prevented from adding any more without prior permission from the list host.  I would imagine that this is to prevent spammers, but it was highly inconvenient as the list was to be posted that day.
I ended up sending the newsletter in two batches, one to the topica subscribers and one via my own email facility using the bcc field in Outlook Express to include my newly paid for subscription list.

I then received a mail from the Topica support team allowing me to add up to 10,000 subscribers and thought my problems were over and I would continue with them.

Lo and behold, the day before I was to send the next issue I had another problem with them.  My newsletter is sent as an html document and was 125K.  I received a notification from them that on the day I was due to post the newsletter, their policy was changing and that the previous maximum size of 650k would change to 100K.

I solved that one by exporting the email addresses into a text file and once again sending the list via my Outlook Express home email system.  This is not cheap as I pay dearly for local calls, unlike the lucky Canadians and some Americans too I believe.

Now I need to look for alternatives.  Until I reap the fruits of my growth I need to do this as cheaply as possible.  If I plan carefully and send the newsletter at times when our cheap rates apply, the phone call will be very reasonable, but trying to maintain and manage the email through outlook express is hugely time consuming.  

What mail autoresponders do you recommend, or is it better to go with paid services and how much do they cost?

Help will be greatly appreciated.

Denese Sinclair
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