You're Experience with Mailing Lists / Group Communication

Who would YOU use for setting up and running a mailing list (or some form of group communication?) I have many options at my fingertips, but I wonder which is the “best” one.

I believe I have [Mailman] built into my hosting package. [Yahoo Groups] or [Google Groups] seem like they’d be a safe way to go.

[Coollist] ranked pretty high on Google.

The only other thing that comes to mind is a Forum (like this one.)

I’m setting one up for discussions about the LETS (see this thread.) Later I’ll probably want to do a newsletter thing, which wouldn’t be for discussion, it’d just be something that gets mailed to everyone on the list every month.

I don’t know what Google Groups is (I’m going to check it out now), but even just Gmail mail for group mailings is great.

You should watch out when you reach 150 mails in a thread, though. It’s scary :astonished:

Oh, and my favorite part is how everyone in the group gets their own color for the thread :rainbow:

I’m thinking I’ll probably just end up going with Gmail. They seem to be good about keeping things light and having all the features I’d want in something (and adding new ones as they think’m.) is great for that sort of thing…

I’d go for a forum.

Threaded discussions. And you can email everyone, too, via the Admin interface. More hassle, but then the final result is more pleasant to look at.

Email lists are highly overrated, and mostly never get read.

Forums are flexible, rss feedable, and are by definition free of the risk of email spam, since members have to activate their own memberships.

For LETS, might be much more appropriate, too. Visitors will more than likely stop by.

Kenneth is very nice.

The dozen or so people I know who use it for semi-monthly or monthly newsletters say they always get good results (clicks leading to sales) every time. One of the things I like about it (and this feature is a few years old so maybe it’s common now?) is that the subscriber is able to choose between HTML and Text only. Yahoo Groups allows HTML vs Text too but setting up the actual email isn’t easy. Constant Contact just seems so flexible, and idiot proof; you can even try it for free to see if you like it.

Yes Constant Contact is also good, Group Mail has a free trial and you can use their basic program for free always, I found GM interface easier to use and the customer service has been pretty good, are you doing your newsletter in Chinese too? If so when you are looking at a program you have to make sure its functions allow that…

Mailman is great in terms of stability and archiving, but tends to mostly get used by technical people, since the interface for both users and admins is kinda barebones.

I’ve had some issues with Constant Contact in the past - limited, ugly templates, character encoding problems, that sort of thing. Also, it’s one-to-many instead of many-to-many (only one person can send stuff out).

Avoid forum software unless you have a big, dedicated community - the internet is littered with dead forums already and doesn’t need another. Mailing lists and the like feel more personal.

Since it’s a newsletter, have you considered just using a blog? Blogger or Livejournal would work just fine, keep archives for you, look pretty, allow comments if you want them, and let more technical people hook up to the RSS feeds and stuff.

Ah… A blog might work out nice as well. I won’t be doing a news letter for a while (or… maybe I should be doing on sooner.) A blog is a nice idea, I’m suprised I haven’t thought of that. Thanks :slight_smile: