Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Broadcast Email List Editing Protocol

Here’s some rather mundane, but useful, information I’ve learned about preparing long lists of emails for posting to a broadcast email list. Depending on where your lists originate, the condition of entries can range from perfect to deplorable. The latter is unfortunately most common.

In order for the email engine to accept the batch addition of emails to your list, each entry on the list you’re uploading has to conform to a certain protocol. For every entry that doesn’t conform the uploading process will be interrupted. This can become very time consuming, and it can cause you to lose track of where you’ve started and stopped.

So it’s best to have meticulously edited your batched list additions before attempting to upload them to you list server. This will minimize the time necessary for the uploading process. And it will make your email lists more valuable should you wish to share them with others.

Before uploading to your list engine (server), screen the list as follows:

First, alphabetize the list in Excel. Then copy the list into Word and convert the table to text. Now you’re ready to edit by searching for the protocol breaches.
• Get rid of all caps – change all to lower case (this is easily done by hitting Ctrl A (for all), then Alt O (format), e (change case), then l (lower case), then OK).
• Search for red or green squiggles – they usually point out a problem. If you don’t recognize .extensions, see the list of working extensions below. If you don’t recognize an extension, verify by going to that website. If the website’s there, then you’ve confirmed the validity of that extension.
• Search for white space – blanks breach engine protocol.
• Search for “&” - it can’t be used left or right of @ usually can be replaced with “and”
• Search for “_” underscores: left of @ they are OK, right of @ they have to be changed to dashes –
• Search for commas “,” – they don’t belong in email addresses at all, delete them
• Search for “#” - often it’s typed as a mistake for @
• Search for “2” - often it’s typed as a mistake for @
• Search for “..” – change to just one .
• Search for “,.” – get rid of comma
• Search for “.,” - get rid of comma
• Search for “.com.” – eliminate the last “.”
• Find missing @s every email has to have one or it will be rejected by engine. This requires a careful line-by-line visual examination of your whole list.
• Finally, search for names you don’t want included in the list. Delete them to save embarrassing moments.
• Search for “;” and “!” and “/” – delete all. None have any business in email addresses.

I have found that the following extensions are OK –

ae ar au be br bs cc cn co de es et
gr id il in it jo lb mx no pa pt sg
sn tr ve za hn tv pe

There is probably some software out there that can do all of this, but I haven’t had the privilege. So, if you have a list, but don’t have such editing software, try the above to shorten your posting process.


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