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Automatic Emails

For the longest time we have been using an email service called Mandrill to generate emails to everyone in the club when ever there is a new post added or someone comments on a post. Last month they sent me an email as administrator, that come April in order to continue to use Mandrill you would have to link it to an account with their parent site called Mail Chimp (note the monkey theme.)

No problem I thought I’ll just create a Mail Chimp account, they offer a free one for users who have up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. As it turns out you had to have a PAID account. Well, $%*# that. So I started my search for a replacement. As it turns out I really don’t need an outside service, WordPress can use a plug-in internally to accomplish the task.

The first one I tried worked at first through the Gmail server using the masters.miata.club@gmail account. I want ted to try using the email server available to us via our web host and use the info@mastersmiataclub.com address. Tried every available configuration and I couldn’t get the test email to go. I re-entered the gmail info exactly like it was before and now it wouldn’t either.

Plug-in number two worked fine using our GoDaddy email server first time. Yippee! But then I noticed some return to sender emails. They all had one thing in common, they were to xxxx@AOL.com addresses. Hmmm. I thought maybe I would just use the Gmail servers. But I couldn’t get this plug-in to work over there. Rats!Returned the setting to use GoDaddy and at least it still worked there, but AOL still wouldn’t accept them.

Let’s hope Plug-in #3 is a charm, it’s the one I’m using now and the test mail worked fine first time. It uses the GoDaddy server, so after I publish this post we’ll see if AOL will accept these emails.

This is actually my 3rd post to the site tonight, but the first that will hopefully generate an email, so if you get this, there is a new Drive-In movie and Blipshift T-shirt sale post on the site. Check ’em out.

Blipshift Out – Drive In Movies In

I’ve removed the M + W + F  T-SHIRT, AKA: Bliphsift, Widget from the top of the right sidebar. Just another step in the devaluation of those t-shirts on the site. I will still post any shirt that is Miata related on the front page (which is fairly infrequent) so that members can take advantage of them if they so desire.

In its place I’ve added a Drive In Widget which will show a car related short movie I have found on the web. There has always been a Drive In page, but I haven’t really been looking for new content. That changes now. My plan is to put one up every week on Friday or Saturday. Suggestions are welcome, if you find something car related that you’d like to see there, drop me an email at bogardus@gforcecable.com. First up this week, in honor of last Saturday’s Mini Tec visit, a Petrolicious video about a 1979 Mini Cooper.

Blipshift T-Shirts Emails

MandrilllThis past Monday when I received the Madrill weekly email report I noticed something that made me go hmmm. I you want you can click on the picture on the left to enlarge it and guess what it was or you can keep reading, the choice is yours.

Emails went out on three days, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Those days correspond to the days I’ve been posting the new Blipshift T-shirt announcements. The numbers representing those of you interested were down considerably. Those of you opening the email itself were down 18% from the first Mandrill related post back in October and the click rate was less than half than then too.

Well, I feel your growing indifference too. Back when Blipshirt started out it was one new shirt on Friday each week. Then they started with the Monday/Thursday two shirts a week thing, now they are producing 3 a week so even I am getting overwhelmed by underwhelming designs.

Twelve emails a month from the “Club” is not that many emails, but statistics show that there doesn’t seem to be too many of you who even bother, so no more Blipshift T-shirt emails (although I may still post the shirts on the site.) The few of you who are interested can just subscribe by going to the Blipshift page, scroll down and enter your email address in the “Get Email Updates” box. Same 12 emails a month, you’ve just cut out the middle man.

Whenever they come out with a Miata related design I’ll post it so that an email does go out. We are after all, a Miata related Club.

Mandrill

MandrillBecause the Club’s website is not something everyone checks each day (although I can’t understand why?) someone suggested that maybe every time someone posts something to the site an email could go out to all the members letting them know. I thought that should be easy, WordPress has an email system built in, piece of cake. Well, not so much.

A little Google Fu and I came across Mandrill a program that would do the heavy lifting for free, at least the first 12,000 emails a month (we have been averaging only about a thousand.) Every week I get an email that shows me the stats from the mails they send for us. It is kind of interesting and I figured you might find it interesting too (but probably just once, it is not that interesting.)

The report (click on the image to make it bigger) lets you see how many emails were sent, how many made it and how many didn’t. You can also see how many were opened and how many actually clicked on the link inside.