Just Say No: Listserv Confirmation Email Pioneer Reinvents Self

The world of email marketing changed much when Eric Thomas, an engineering student in Paris pioneered Listserv in 1986. Listserv automated the management of email lists and allowed list owners to create templates and customize replies to subscribers based on specific commands. In 1987, database functions were added which allowed users to search the database. Listserv was also very ethical; giving the subscriber the right to unsubscribe anytime. By 2001, it had surpassed over 100M subscribers and managed over 170,000 email lists. Up until 1993, it was released as a freeware and even now, could still be downloaded free for a maximum of 10 lists with up to 500 subscribers.

L Soft, the company founded by Eric Thomas, released the paid version that included more management tools. Through the years, it incorporated email tracking, customized reporting, built-in antivirus capability, analytics, email marketing, hosting, and integration with emerging social media platforms, especially on content creation; all the while respecting privacy and the freedom of choice.

“In 1993, LISTSERV was the first software to introduce double opt-in, which becomes the global gold standard for permission email. Double opt-in protects subscribers by requiring them to confirm their subscriptions before being added to a mailing list.” – L Soft site

However, other entities were not as stringent and by 2008, spam plagued the online world reaching an all-time high of 92.6% of email worldwide. Despite tighter controls on permissions, the worldwide scam rate was still at an appalling 59.8% two years ago. Just how big is this? As reported by the Radicati Group the volume of spam and unwanted email has risen to 32 Billion email users globally. Just imagine, the distress and anxiety over receiving these annoyances; and the fear that these carry with it malware that can retrieve confidential personal information.

With an eye to take the lead in email marketing while keeping it safe, ethical, as well as more responsive and profitable, Listserv reinvented itself with new features over 30 years after its initial launch – or 25 years after it introduced permission email.

“Successful mass communication is ethical: It comes from a sender-subscriber relationship based on strong prior consent. Eric Thomas, L-Soft’s CEO, invented automated subscription confirmation to prevent unreliable email addresses from being added to an email list. This also protects the list and its subscribers from fraudulent subscriptions and puts permission in the hands of the recipient, where it belongs.” —  Outi Tuomaala, L-Soft’s EVP ( in Newswire)

Currently, Listserv, Listserv Lite, Listserv Free, and Listserv Maestro can be downloaded from the site. Apart from the email list software, L-Soft products include email hosting (ListPlex®), and email marketing (Maestro Add-On). Competitive Features of Listserv include:

  • Integrated Virus protection
  • Double opt-in support
  • Automatic email handling
  • Web integration
  • Support for all list types
  • Automatic Bounce Handling
  • Security options
  • Message posting
  • Message scheduling
  • Content Analysis
  • Newsletter Template Gallery
  • Customizable Mail templates and styles
  • Attachment and content filter
  • Subscriber activity reports
  • CSV reports
  • List reports
  • Moderation sharing
  • Full RSS support and others that increase engagement.

Because of the backlash from users complaining about the incessant deluge of unwanted mail, digital marketers are now more compliant about requesting consent and observing data privacy; including the user’s right to prevent the sale of any information to a third. Consent is now a primary gateway especially in the age of fraud, phishing, and other cyber crimes. Listserv is now at the forefront of all these cautioning users to:

  • be explicit about subscriber opt-in
  • set specific expectations about content that will be received
  • confirm that the subscription was initiated by the subscriber and
  • reassure subscribers that they can opt-out anytime.

Resources:

L-Soft Website

Newswire Press Release

Statista.com

Radicati Group

Facebook rolls out more Subscribe buttons to websites

Facebook has started rolling out its “Subscribe” feature to websites, giving the ability to its subscribers to view public post even if they are “friends”.

When people subscribe to third party sites, they are able to see updates in these sites’ newsfeeds, very similar to subscribing to someone’s profile on Facebook.

A blog post from Facebook further explains the new feature:

The Subscribe button for websites works just like the button on Facebook; once clicked the user will begin seeing the public posts of the person they have subscribed to in his or her News Feed. The subscribe action is also shared — allowing others to subscribe directly via the News Feed stories, and further increasing viral distribution.

Raju Narisetti, the managing director at The Post said, with the click of a button, users can seamlessly get updates to their FB walls from some of the journalists behind Post stories.

The Post has aggressively embraced the integration of Facebook. It started last September when newspaper and FB launched a social reader app that enables individuals to read and post articles for The Post and its partner sources.

Other companies have also started to use the Subscribe button. Among these are Absolute Radio, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, The huffington Post, Today.com and one of the world’s leading magazines, Time.com.