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Newsletter Software or Newsletter Service?

Whether you already have a newsletter or just think of starting one, you have two choices:

Newsletter Software which you purchase and install on your computer.

Newsletter Service which is usually Web based, and which you rent to perform your mailings for a monthly fee.

Which approach is best for you?


Newsletter service does not require any installation on your computer, but you still may have to do some work. For example, you may need to install a subscription or unsubscription form on your server.

Newsletter software must be installed on your computer. You may need to enter settings and it generally takes more work to set everything up. However, once installed, it doesn't requite any additional efforts.

Flexibility and Versatility

Newsletter software is generally more flexible. It can deal with the files on you computer, has direct access to your databases. Therefore, you can do more tasks with less efforts. For example, you can manage multiple lists, combine them, easily edit recipients data. Native user interface let you operate your software faster and easier than clumsy Web interface of the newsletter service.

Newsletter software will let you send exactly what you want and when you want it. You're not limited to your main list. Whenever a task comes up that requires bulk emailing, such as notifying all the employees, you own the software and you can use whenever you want to.

On the other hand, newsletter service is working on the Internet, and it is therefore much easier to do tracking of clicks through and open messages. If you use software, you may need to install scripts on your Web server to perform these tasks.

Spam Filters

If you're sending newsletters, you'll unavoidably face the problem of spam filters. See the article on Bulk Email Filtering for the explanation of what you can expect.

If you use newsletter software, you will be able to send through SMTP server given to you by your ISP. Your ISP may impose several limits against bulk email. This problem can usually be resolved either by means of your newsletter software, or by talking to your ISP.

If you use newsletter service, you are more likely to encounter problems with spam filters on the receiving servers. Since newsletter service providers are sending all the mail through the same channel, even a single spammer among their clients may cause the whole service to be blacklisted.

We have checked several newsletter service providers with Open RBL and 8 out of 11 newsletter service providers were blacklisted by at least one of the black lists. In average, a newsletter service provider has been blacklisted by 3.9 black lists, with Roving leading with the score of 12. For comparison, 10 randomly selected actual spam messages had an average score of 8.3. This means that messages from some newsletter service providers may have higher probability of being filtered out than genuine spam.

To find out if the newsletter service provider is blacklisted, enter their SMTP server IP here:


With Newsletter service you do not have to worry about speed. Once you commit, the service will be sending everything without your participation. It doesn't mean that it's going to be delivered immediately, but you do not have to worry about this.

Newsletter software will take some time to send. If you decide to send non-personalized messages, this is not a problem because even large mailing will go out fast, but if you decide to personalize them, the low Internet connection speed may become a problem with large mailings. For more details on speed, see the article on bulk email speed.


The table below shows annual prices (as posted by newsletter service providers on July 3, 2003) for three differently sized newsletter.

Newsletter Service Provider (listed alphabetically)

1,000 monthly

10,000 twice a month

100,000 weekly

eList eXpress




Ezine Manager
















GetResponse Nesletter Hosting
















Topica Email Publisher




Zinester Premium




Even if you only send as little as 1,000 messages once a month, your average cost is $300 per year.

If you decide to purchase a software program, it will pay for itself in few months, and it is still yours to use for as long as you want. Not to mention, that the software can be used for other tasks at no additional cost to you.

The prices for newsletter services go up sharply as the number of subscribers and frequency of mailing increase. Newsletter software does not have any limits, and the cost is the same no matter how many messages you send.


In short, newsletter services are easier to set up and will send mailing faster, however they are less flexible, prone to anti-spam blacklisting, and much more expensive than newsletter software.

What software is best for you? Take a look at AY Mail. We did our best to engineer AY Mail to meet the needs of newsletter publishers.

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