Send Newsletter for free? Attention and handle with care.

Send Newsletter for free? Attention and handle with care.

Everything about everything has now been written about newsletters. With the entry into force of the GDPR the issue has become further complicated...

...even if the Guarantor has made it known that there is no punishable and/or sanctionable crime if someone sends newsletters without prior acceptance of the recipient(s).

I also came across tutorials and articles, even by highly regarded people such as Francesco Giammanco ( on how to manage, organize and create a DEM campaign and/or how to send newsletters for free without the support of external platforms such as Mailchimp etc.

I firmly believe that "free" does not exist. There is always a price to pay, sooner or later and it can also be very salty. I also believe that the do-it-yourself era is coming to an end despite the explosion and success of many open source CMSs that led us to believe that the "free den for all" was really the future of the online communication and web marketing market. Instead, exactly the opposite is true.

So to get into the subject, I copy here, as I received it, a comment fromEng. Fabio Pagano, CEO di SitoVivo which seems to me deeply spot on even a little in response to the still interesting article by the very good one Francis Giammarco which you can find here:

Here is the comment from Fabio Pagano whom I thank publicly.

Articles like this should be preceded by the words "handle with caution, dangerous article" or accompanied by instructions as in the case of drugs not suitable for self-medication but with the obligation of a doctor's prescription.

The problem is that the newsletter is apparently a harmless problem, easy to solve. In reality, behind this problem lies an often unknown world.
It is very dangerous to think of sending using wordpress plugins, especially if it is a question of a large number of contacts or frequent sendings. In addition to the threshold problems of the recipient providers (mentioned but not well explored in the article), which can lead to blocking an entire sending IP, with consequent blocking by the selected hosting or smpt service (gmail or others)…

Even selecting more advanced stuff, certainly by geeks, such as mailgun, in reality everything is left on the shoulders of the inventor of the solution to pieces all the rest of the management, including privacy and IT security. The least secure place to store a database is on a front-end like wordpress often subject to continuous intrusion attempts, and high risks especially in the absence of periodic updates.

Managing deliverability via an external smtp means not having total control of what you do (with negative consequences on deliverability or on the probability of arriving in the INBOX of recipients).

Generally everything is born and is valid for a specific purpose and remains unfit for other purposes. For example. a service like gmail is suitable for managing personal and non-massive mail. A service like mailgun is valid for those who want to send transactional email and/or then create their own management and maintenance interface for the application that uses it. Other choices (not mentioned in this article) are software to be installed on the customer's PC, who unaware of the consequences, starts sending using the ADSL at home...

ESP services are specific to newslettersr, mass mailings, some are suitable for autoresponders, others for marketing automation actions. Few or almost none are, "alone" without modifications or additions, truly compliant with the GDPR for privacy.

We once wrote, ironically, an article with a photo of a grandmother on the cover with the title: “How to do email marketing with what you have at home”.
It was ironic, because all the "ingredients" that granny had to recover in order to make this "dish" were really too complex to recover... Let alone the tools to mix them together to obtain the desired "dish".

But… the customer is so ignorant that often articles like this lead him to try it on his own (or almost) and are hopelessly in pain.

  • In my experience some anecdotes (that I have seen with my own eyes) that spring to mind are the following:
    the agency that says: "Fabio, look, since the customer doesn't understand and only worries if he sees the counter on the server blocked or slow when sending, I put a script that modifies the counter by tampering with it so that after 5 minutes it seems that the sending is completed for all addresses, then if the emails arrive or don't go he doesn't really care, he doesn't see it and prefers not to pay rather than see more precise statistics..."!!! (He IS a former partner of my company, can you imagine why?)
  • internet connection or hosting provider that blocks the adsl or the site, because you use their services against the contractual specifications, the abuse of sending using that bandwidth and that sending IP.
  • By sharing the site's IP with the shipping IP, you often have the bandwidth saturated by the sending and the site goes slow during the sending or is not reachable at all, and absurdly this is exactly what the customer wanted by sending the newsletter or the people which by clicking should have arrived on the website…
  • the privacy issues deserve a separate comment, so let's first say that do-it-yourself customers have decided (consciously or not, it is not known) that they are not compliant with the law…
    Some examples of more frequent cases, with respect to any possible inspection by the Privacy Guarantor, can be:
  • the single user, recipient of your newsletters complains, says he continues to receive emails despite having unsubscribed 3 times…
  • you do not have control over unsubscriptions, bounce management or bounced emails, which an ESP offers as a basic option in specialized services but are delicate applications that require server resources
  • the customer has not given consent to the profiling or had not unsubscribed elsewhere and you have not synchronized the lists Etc.
  • dedicated SMTP services likewise block accounts if they receive complaints or reports from users complaining of spam or authorities such as the privacy guarantor or other abuses in use and they certainly don't take care of managing everything needed for the complete service.

In short, as long as you go to the beach and the castle is made of sand, all you need to play is a plastic bucket and spade. When the castle has to resist the waves of the sea maybe build it with a material more resistant than sand and use more suitable tools… (wise words… nde)

I was going to say and maybe let yourself be followed by trained consultants, but I corrected myself immediately: it is rare that someone who is not specialized in email marketing knows how to manage a newsletter, more often he makes use of some service based on its costs, trusting and relying on it, without knowing if and what limits it has.

And so?

And therefore whoever sends newsletters should do in-depth studies and training so as to have at least a basis in mind of possible problems or it is better that he does nothing.


Just as sites with wordpress do and then do no maintenance leaving them exposed to minimal security risks, they do the same with newsletters, do-it-yourself or at low cost, while today managing their customers' data (including opening statistics, click on the links and what they then saw on the site) is the new oil, which must be kept like a treasure with a safe and double-locked key…
And above all, the behaviors of individual users within a newsletter and within a site should be used to personalize the content of the messages (behavioral web marketing), thus optimizing the return on investment in time and money to send a newsletter and everything else that it's around.