|| Frequently Asked Questions (Last
revised: February 27, 2006)
(MT1) Q: Why is the email message sometimes blue and sometimes
A: The message displays in blue when CustomMailer is in View as Template mode and displays in black when it is in View as Message mode. View as Template mode lets you edit the message template which will affect all recipients, whereas View as Message shows the actual, customized message that will be sent to a selected recipient, which changes for each row of your mailing list. Either the View menu or the buttons to the left of the message body let you select which mode to be in. CustomMailer automatically goes into View as Template mode when 1) no recipient is selected in the mailing list or 2) there is an error in expanding the message tags, such as a tag in the message not found in the mailing list or a bad email address.
(MT2) Q: I changed my message but it keeps going back to the
A: If you change the message while the message is displayed in black, you have only changed the message for the currently selected recipient, not the message template itself (this is how CustomMailer works). In this case, sending this message or clicking on another (or the same) recipient causes the message to be re-expanded from the still-unchanged message template. To change the message template so the changes affect all recipients, choose Template mode (either using the View as Template menu item or the Template button to the left of the message body) and make your changes while the message is displayed in blue. You may wish to save these changes in a new message template file or replace your old one. CustomMailer will warn you if you try to read in a new message template or exit the application without saving changes to your current message template.
(MT3) Q: Can I change the relative sizes of the message and the
A: Yes. You can resize the split panel between the message and the mailing list by dragging the horizontal bar that is drawn between them. You can also resize the main CustomMailer window. CustomMailer remembers your most recently selected window size, screen location, and split panel setting for the next time you run CustomMailer. You can also click on the "enlarge" box (middle box in the right hand side of the CustomMailer window title bar) to make CustomMailer fill your screen.
(MT4) Q: Can I embed graphics in my message? Can I use
different fonts in my message?
A: Yes if you use HTML mail (see below). Regular (non-HTML) messages conform to the basic internet email protocol of plain text with no embedded graphics and only plain, single font ASCII text.
(MT5) Q: Can I cut-copy-and-paste between other other
and my message?
A: Yes (either as plain text or as HTML source).
(MT6) Q: Is there a limit to the size of a message that can be
A: Not any more. Prior to CustomMailer 4.0, we used a TextArea component for the message body that imposed a 32K character limit (similar to the limitation in Notepad). CustomMailer 4.0 uses a new TextArea component that removes this limitation.
(MT7) Q: I'm using | (vertical bar) as my tag indicator
character. What if I want to insert an actual | in my message?
A: Type two vertical bars in a row, with nothing between them, to indicate that you want an actual | inserted in your message.
(MT8) Q: How do I include Internet hyperlinks in my message?
A: There are two ways to do this. One is to use HTML mail. This allows you to compose a regular web page as your email message, complete with rich text, links, images, sounds, CGI scripts, even applets. However, there are some drawbacks to using HTML mail: 1) it is harder to set up and 2) not all email readers support it. Please review the section on HTML Mail and study the sample message SampleHTMLMessageTemplate.html so you see what is involved.
The second way is less powerful but works for any plain text message. Any time you type a URL string (e.g., http://www.wildcrest.com) in the body of an email message, almost all email readers will convert this to a clickable link. When the recipient gets your message, the link will be underlined and highlighted in color like a usual link and clicking on it will open the URL either in their email reader or in a separate browser window depending on their email software. You can also include URLs to .gif or .jpg files (clicking on them displays the image), .wav files (clicking on it plays the sound), .zip, .doc, or .exe files (clicking on them downloads the file and asks if you want to save or open it), etc. You can even use special URL commands like mailto: (clicking on it opens a preaddressed mail message), news: (clicking on it opens a newsgroup), or ftp: (clicking on it causes a file transfer). See "Useful Tips" under HTML Mail for more details.
(MT9) Q: My line wrap looks wrong, I appear to be sending
with regular lines alternating with short lines, why?
A: CustomMailer has a feature that it will automatically "wrap" long lines after, typically, 72 characters (this value may be set in Preferences). In general, you are not supposed to type carriage returns ("Enter") as you type your message into CustomMailer, unless you really want to force a "hard" carriage return such as the start of a paragraph or to insert blank lines. If you did manually enter carriage returns for each line (or perhaps cut-and-pasted your message from another application that inserted the carriage returns), you might have carriage returns in your message at the end of every line and your lines might be somewhat longer, say, 90 characters. In that case when the message is sent, CustomMailer would wrap these lines at 72 characters, breaking each line into a full line followed by partial line containing the remainder of your line. To fix this problem, edit your message to remove all the extra carriage returns and let CustomMailer handle the line wrap for you.
(MT10) Q: The line wrap in template mode has different line
lengths than in message mode, why?
A: In template mode, CustomMailer wraps the body of your message to the width of your window as a convenience. When you switch to message mode, CustomMailer wraps the body of your message to the line wrap value set in Preferences, which is how the message will actually go out. The wrap to the width you specify in Preferences doesn't happen until you go into message mode because it is only after all tags and macros have been expanded that CustomMailer can perform the line wrap correctly. Also, CustomMailer does not rewrap if you subsequently make manual entries in your message body, so you can control the length of lines precisely if, for example, you want a long unbroken line for a URL.
(MT11) Q: Can CustomMailer send emails in Chinese, Japanese,
Korean, Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, German, French, etc.?
A: Yes, CustomMailer 4.0 supports full Unicode (double-byte) character sets in the email message body, headers, and mailing list, and automatically converts to the industry-standard UTF-8 encoding for sending Unicode-based email over the Internet. In addition, extensions are available to support reading message templates and mailing lists and sending messages in other international character sets such as Big5, GB2312, and Shift-JIS, as well as displaying messages and mailing lists using ideographic fonts appropriate for Asian locales. See "Internationalization" for more details..
(ML1) Q: Can I edit the mailing list inside CustomMailer?
A: Yes. You can add, delete, and edit mailing list rows and columns, append other mailing lists, and start new mailing lists from scratch.
(ML2) Q: What is the easiest way to create a mailing list?
A: Creating your mailing list inside CustomMailer is the quickest solution. However, a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel is an effective tool for maintaining and manipulating mailing lists (see "Mailing Lists" and "Tips for Effective Use"). A database such as Microsoft Access, Oracle, or MySQL is useful for more sophisticated customer database needs, including network shared access and complex query commands.
(ML3) Q: Can I save my mailing list back into the same file name
from which it was read in?
A: Yes. This will, of course, replace your old mailing list with the new one, so make sure this is what you want to do. As a safety measure, you will be asked to confirm this action.
(ML4) Q: Can I export the mailing list back to my database?
A: No, the component we use for reading the database is read-only. You'll need to export the mailing list to a file and import from there into your database using your database client program.
(ML5) Q: Can I change the file (or database) containing my
list while CustomMailer is running and have it take effect?
A: Yes, but not automatically. You can force a re-read of your mailing list by choosing the "Reload Mailing List" command under the File menu, or equivalently, by choosing the "Open Mailing List" command under the File menu and selecting the first item in the file "history" list or selecting the database DSN, whichever you were using most recently. If you have also made changes to your mailing list that is already inside CustomMailer, you will be asked if you wish to save these changes. Obviously, if you save this back into the same file name, you will overwrite any changes made there, so you need to be careful about which changes you really want. Changing any of the mailing list parameters in Preferences will also cause a reread of your mailing list file or database. NOTE: re-reading your mailing list also causes the "SendStatus" values to be reset to their original values and clears your "duplicate history" information used to detect whether you've already sent mail to a given address.
(ML6) Q: How do I import my address book from Netscape
A: Netscape Communicator can export your address box as tab-delimited text. Under the "Communicator" menu, choose "Address Book". Then under the "File" menu, choose "Export". Change "Save as type" to "Tab-delimited (*.txt)", provide a file name ending in .txt, and hit "Save". In CustomMailer, under "Settings" menu, choose "Preferences". Go to the "Mailing List" tab, make sure the field delimiter is set to "tab". Communicator doesn't export the column headings, so uncheck the box for "Use first line as column names" (you can subsequently rename the columns to better names if you like). Or you can edit your exported address book .txt file and add the following new first line:
This should be all on one line with a tab in place of each "*".
(ML7) Q: How do I import my address book from Microsoft Outlook?
A: Microsoft Outlook can export your address box as tab-delimited text. Under the "File" menu, choose "Import and Export" which brings up a Wizard. Choose "Export to a File" and hit "Next". In the next window, select "Contacts" and hit "Next". In the next window, select "Tab Separated Values (Windows)" which is the last item. In the next window, specify a file name ending in .txt, then hit "Next" and "Finish". In CustomMailer, under "Settings" menu, choose "Preferences". Go to the "Mailing List" tab, make sure the field delimiter is set to "tab". Microsoft Outlook does automatically export the column headings (81 in all!), so leave the "Use first line as column names" checked. However, Microsoft Outlook inserts 5 extra lines after the first column headings line. You can either delete these 5 rows in CustomMailer or delete them in Notepad or Wordpad in advance of running CustomMailer.
(ML8) Q: What happened to the "Send status" column? Is it
the same as the "SendStatus" column?
A: Beginning with CustomMailer 3.0, the "Send status" column was renamed to "SendStatus". This was because if you saved this column in your mailing list and you wanted to use "space" as your mailing list delimiter, this name would be incorrectly detected as two column names because it has a space in it. If you read an old mailing list with the name "Send status" (assuming you are using tab or comma as your mailing list delimiter), CustomMailer will automatically convert the name of this column to "SendStatus".
(ML9) Q: Do the "SendStatus", "LastSent", and "#" columns need to
be the first 3 columns?
A: No. CustomMailer will insert "SendStatus" as the first column if you don't have a "SendStatus" column, and it will insert "LastSent" and/or "#" in the next position(s) if those features are enabled in Preferences. However, if you reorder these using the Edit Mailing List Column menu command, or insert and/or rename columns so that they appear in different locations, or if you have these names in other positions in your mailing list when read in, CustomMailer will find, use, and preserve them in those locations.
(ML10) Q: Can I read a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet directly into
CustomMailer as my mailing list?
A: Yes, if you have the CustomMailer Enterprise Edition, you can use the JDBC/ODBC database input option together with the Microsoft Excel ODBC drivers to read your data directly from your Excel spreadsheet. See Example #3 in the "Mailing List from Database" section of "Mailing List Files and Databases". If you do not have the CustomMailer Enterprise Edition, you need to save your Microsoft Excel spreadsheet into a separate text file as tab-delimited or comma-separated values and read the resulting file into CustomMailer.
(EA1) Q: Will my different email recipients see each others'
A: Unlike "bulk" or "spam" mailers or mail sent to a group email address, each email sent by CustomMailer is individually customized and independently sent one at a time, one per selected row in your mailing list. Thus, the email sent for each row of your mailing list has absolutely no visibility relative to the email sent for any other row. In the typical use of CustomMailer, with one TO address per line of your mailing list, that recipient will see only their own address and their own customized message. The only return address they will see is the one you put in the FROM field and, optionally, the REPLY-TO field. Of course, if for a given email message and a single row of your mailing list, you cause there to be multiple email addresses in the TO or CC fields, those recipients can see each others' email addresses like any other normal email message with multiple addresses.
(EA2) Q: Can I send the same email to CC: or BCC: recipients?
(EA3) Q: How does BCC: work?
A: BCC means "blind copy" to the given recipients. Recipients you include in the BCC field are not visible to any other recipient in the TO, CC, or BCC fields. Of course, anyone in the BCC list can see the TO and CC recipients (but not the other BCC recipients). All this is exactly the same as any ordinary email.
(EA4) Q: Can I send to more than one recipient in the TO:, CC:,
A: Yes, just include the multiple addresses separated by commas. Of course, the typical mailing list has only one email address per row of the mailing list, so the additional addresses would likely be fixed addresses like: firstname.lastname@example.org. It is not possible to send a single email that makes use of the data, such as email addresses, from more than one row of your mailing list at a time.
(EA5) Q: How many emails are actually sent out when there are
multiple TO:, CC:, and BCC: recipients?
A: One SMTP mail is sent out addressed to all these recipients, just like in a regular email program. The rule is one actual email sent per selected row of the mailing list.
(EA6) Q: Should I use email@example.com or John Smith
<firstname.lastname@example.org> for my email addressing?
A: Both of these will work inside CustomMailer. The latter two of these produce more professional-looking results and are recommended. In the case of the FROM address, the proper name portion (e.g. John Smith) will show up in the recipient's email reader in the "Sender" column, which looks better than a plain email address. For more details on email addressing, see "Email Addresses" under "Message Templates".
(EA7) Q: Can I include a comma in the proper name portion of an
A: Yes, provided you put the proper name portion inside quotation marks, for example:
"Last, First" email@example.com.
If you don't include the quotation marks, the comma will be interpreted by CustomMailer as indicative of multiple email addresses separated by commas.
(EA8) Q: What happens if I have an incorrect email address?
A: If the email address in the TO or FROM fields does not contain an address in the form firstname.lastname@example.org, CustomMailer will display "MESSAGE ERROR" in the status bar and enter View as Template mode to let you fix it. If the email address syntax is valid, then CustomMailer will send the message to your SMTP mail server. If SMTP is unhappy with the email address (e.g., unrecognized host name), the message will not be sent and you will see the SMTP error message in the status bar as well as in the "SendStatus" column which will say "SEND ERROR". If the email address is acceptable to the SMTP mail server, the message will go out on the Internet, but if there is actually no such recipient at that address, you will eventually get a "bounceback" email describing the problem. This will not show up in CustomMailer but rather some time later as a regular "bounceback" email returned to the address you specified in the RETURN-TO field (or if RETURN-TO is empty, the FROM field) and read by your regular email reader.
(EA9) Q: How does CustomMailer check for correct email address
A: Internet email addresses supported by CustomMailer can only contain letters, digits, hyphens, periods, underscores, plus signs, ampersands, and a single at sign. Addresses are of the form email@example.com where username and domain can contain contain letters and digits with intermediate hyphens, periods, underscores, plus signs, and ampersands. All other addresses are regarded as illegal syntax. Strictly speaking, there are other forms of addresses that are possible according to the Internet standards, but they are little-used and in fact don't work in many standard email programs and mail servers. These include using "IPv4" domain names (e.g., [184.108.40.206]), "quoted" special characters in names (e.g. \m, \036), etc. At present, these are not supported by CustomMailer.
(EA10) Q: What's the difference between FROM, REPLY-TO,
A: FROM is the email address your recipient will see in the "Sender" field of the Inbox of their regular mail reader. REPLY-TO is the address that will be used to fill out the TO field if they hit "REPLY" in their regular email reader when reading your message. If REPLY-TO is not given, hitting "REPLY" will use the FROM address to fill in the TO field of the reply. RETURN-TO will not be seen by the recipient, but rather will be the address your email will be returned to if it "bounces", that is, if it is undeliverable for whatever reason. If RETURN-TO is not given, then the bounceback will usually be addressed to the FROM address. The CustomMailer RETURN-TO supports Variable Envelope Return Paths, allowing you to encode the TO address in the name portion of the RETURN-TO address so as to more easily detect and remove bouncing addresses from your mailing list (see "Tags and macros in RETURN-TO" in the "Tags and Macros" section).
(SM1) Q: Can I try CustomMailer without actually sending
messages? What does "Using mail server TEST" mean?
A: Yes. Go into Preferences and enter "test" (or "TEST") in the SMTP mail server field. This causes CustomMailer to simulate sending messages. Everything will function normally including selection of recipients, message expansion, automated sending, etc. except that instead of actually sending messages, CustomMailer will perform a 1.5 second pause per message and the status line and the "SendStatus" column of your mailing list will remind you that you are in "test" mode. Be sure to specify a real SMTP mail server in Preferences once you are ready to send out actual messages.
(SM2) Q: Are there other ways to test my mailing before I send it
out "for real"?
A: Yes. It is always a good idea to begin by sending your message to yourself as the first recipient. Use your regular email reader to verify that you actually receive the message and that everything about it looks as you expect. Then, you should also send your message out to a few colleagues or friends to make sure the message is being customized and can go out to external addresses. You might also find it useful to send the message to some "dummy" test addresses. As a convenience to our customers, we have set up our Wildcrest Associates mail server to autoreply to any email you send to any user name beginning with "testXX" at wildcrest.com. (where XX can be any 0, 1, or 2 characters) . The autoreply will generate an automatic reply acknowledging receipt of the message and including a copy of the message as received (in raw encoded form). Thus, you can send any test email you like to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc. to try your emails out and see if they work. The file SampleMailingList.txt included with CustomMailer makes use of these "test" addresses. For the ultimate safety, you may also wish to CC or BCC yourself to verify how the email looks and provide an extra confirmation that it actually got sent. CustomMailer also has an option to add the FROM address (presumably your own address) to the BCC list for the copy of a message sent to your first recipient, so that you get a verification and retain a copy of the message being sent.
(SM3) Q: Can I review and edit my messages individually before
they are sent?
A: Yes. You can always select one recipient at a time, edit the expanded message (black), and then hit "Send" to send the edited message. This editing is temporary and does not affect your underlying message template. Alternatively, you can go to Preferences and turn off the "'Send' sends to all selected addresses" feature. This allows you to make multiple selections but still only send one message each time you hit "Send" (think of this as "semi-automatic" mode, as opposed to the "fully automatic" mode you get when this feature is turned on). This allows you to review and edit each message individually as you wish.
(SM4) Q: Can I send messages to multiple rows of the mailing list
without pausing for edits?
A: Yes. Go to Preferences and turn on the "'Send' sends to all selected addresses" feature. If you select (highlight) multiple recipients in the mailing list and hit "Send", CustomMailer will send a customized version of your message to each selected recipient without pausing (this is the "fully automatic" mode of CustomMailer mentioned above). You can hit the "Cancel" button at any time to interrupt the send operation in progress for the current recipient and not send to any further recipients.
(SM5) Q: How do I select multiple recipients in my mailing list?
A: You can select (highlight) multiple recipients by (1) choosing "Select All" under the Select menu, (2) clicking on the list, then hold down "Shift" and click elsewhere in the list, (3) by holding down "Ctrl" and clicking on different recipients in the list, (4) by using the Select using Filters feature to match values in individual fields or all fields, or (5) by using various of the mailing list tools under the "Tools" menu to select rows detected as duplicates, rows with addresses matching (or not matching) addresses found in a file, or rows with addresses verified as valid or invalid. You can also unselect recipients using techniques (2), (3), and (4). If you accidentally make an unintended selection or deselection, the "Undo Selection Change" command under the Select menu (or Ctrl-Z) will restore the immediately preceding set of selections (however, there is only one level of this "undo" function).
(SM6) Q: I carefully selected the recipients I wanted, but then I
accidentally clicked on a different recipient and lost all my
selections. How can I restore them?
A: Hit Ctrl-Z or under the Select menu, choose Undo Selection Changes. You must do this immediately, before you make any other selections, as CustomMailer only has one level of "undo".
(SM7) Q: Can I send file attachments?
A: Yes. This feature requires the CustomMailer Business Edition or Enterprise Edition. You can send any number of attachments consisting of files of any type. You can type the Windows file name (including folder location) directly into the ATTACHMENTS field. Or you can synthesize part or all of this name using tags and macros and have it change per recipient. You can also hit the "Edit" button to the right of the ATTACHMENTS field and use the Windows file dialog to find your desired file and add it to your ATTACHMENTS list. The file names selected using the Edit button automatically go into the message template field, even if you aren't in template mode. This is so you don't accidentally spend time selecting files and have them apply to only the current recipient, which we have assumed is not likely to be anyone's intentional use of CustomMailer.
(SM8) Q: What happened to the file CustomMailerLog.txt that was
previous versions of CustomMailer?
A: Beginning with CustomMailer 3.0 this file was renamed to SendLog.txt to differentiate it from the SMTPLog.txt file. SendLog.txt contains all the information in the former CustomMailerLog.txt file as well as some additional details.
(SM9) Q: I had LastSent (or NumberSent) turned on, then I turned
it off, but it is still there, why?
A: When you turn LastSent and/or NumberSent on in Preferences, corresponding columns are added to your mailing list if they are not already present, and after that the values in these columns will be updated accordingly for any mailing list rows that are sent. If you then turn off LastSent and/or NumberSent, that means that CustomMailer simply stops updating these columns, but it does not remove them. You can later turn them back on and resume updating them for subsequent sending of mail. If you actually want to remove these columns after turning them off in Preferences, use Delete Mailing List Columns under the Edit menu.
(SM10) Q: Can I send email and get a return receipt or confirmation?
A: Not at present. In particular, CustomMailer does not support the "DSN" (Delivery Status Notification) mechanism of requesting return receipts. We will consider adding this feature in the future based on customer demand.
(MA1) Q: I have a macro where for some row two rules evaluate to
"true". What will happen?
A: The second rule will prevail. The rules are evaluated in top-to-bottom order and the last rule evaluating to "true" wins. You can reorder your rules using the Macro dialog. Some users exploit this feature by making the first macro rule always evaluate to "true" (e.g. IF |Email| EQUALS |Email|) in order to provide a default value to use unless some subsequent rule evaluates to "true" and thereby provides a different value.
(MA2) Q: I have a macro where for some row no rule evaluates to
"true". What will happen?
A: This will be detected as a error for this row. The "SendStatus" column of this row will be set to MACRO/TAG ERROR and the email will not be sent. Some users use this feature to control when not to send a given email for a particular recipient.
(MA3) Q: Can macros call other macros?
A: Yes. For example, in SampleMacros.txt the macro |DateReference| can produce results containing |MonthName| and |DayName|, which are themselves macros that will produce final strings. The only restriction is that a macro cannot produce a result that calls itself, either directly or through a chain of other macros, since such a "circular" sequence will never terminate. This will be flagged as a MACRO/TAG ERROR and the message will not be sent..
(MA4) Q: Under CustomMailer 2.0 some of my macro rule used the
tests "LENGTH < OR =" or "LENGTH > OR =". Now I see there
only rules for LENGTH <, LENGTH >, and LENGTH =. Will my
old rules still work?
A: Yes. The first time we read any macros file and detect the use of either of these old rules, we automatically convert it to two equivalent rules, a LENGTH < (or LENGTH >) in addition to a LENGTH = and update your macros file accordingly.
(MA5) Q: What happens if I edit a macro rule whose first operand
is not a column heading in my current mailing list?
A: This works OK. In early releases of CustomMailer, if you tried to edit such a macro rule, your first operand choices were limited to your current mailing list column headings and the currently selected column heading would be substituted. Now we add your current first operand to the first operand choice list so you can edit other parts of such a macro rule without changing the first operand.
SMTP Setup Wizard
(TO1) Q: How do I get CustomMailer set up correctly for my SMTP
A: The easiest way to configure CustomMailer for your SMTP server is to run the "SMTP Setup Wizard" under "Tools". This will guide you through a process where you can verify whether your Internet connection is working, enter your SMTP server name (or get help determining what it is if you aren't sure), testing for whether your SMTP server requires SMTP Authentication (name and password for outgoing mail), send test email to verify that this SMTP configuration will work properly inside CustomMailer, and set the Preferences values accordingly.
(TO2) Q: How does CustomMailer verify that my internet connection
A: CustomMailer tests your internet connection as the first step in the SMTP Setup Wizard and also before sending the first email for a given message template if you have "Verify Internet connection working before first Send" feature is selected in Preferences. The test is performed by trying to open an HTTP socket on any one of 5 popular web sites (Yahoo, IBM, MSN, Sun, and AOL), which is essentially the same test as running your browser and verifying that you have access to the World-Wide Web.
(TO3) Q: Can I use an SMTP mail server outside my firewall?
A: Yes. Some firewalls allow you to use SMTP servers outside the firewall without any problem. But if yours does not, CustomMailer will let you use a proxy ("socks") server to access SMTP mail servers outside your firewall. You can turn the proxy server feature on and provide your proxy server name using Preferences. Get your proxy server name from your network administrator or by looking at the preferences in your regular browser or email program.
(TO4) Q: The wizard says I need SMTP authentication, but I don't think I do, what should I do?
A: Normally when servers say they support SMTP authentication, they mean it is required and they won't send mail without a name and password. But we've seen cases where servers say they support SMTP authentication and will verify a name and password if entered, but in fact they will also send mail if you turn SMTP authentication off. If you suspect this is your situation, try leaving the name and password blank in the wizard. If the test mail works, then you can try turning SMTP authentication off in Preferences, as you may be able to run without it. Or you can just uncheck SMTP authentication in Preferences and ignore what the wizard says.
(TO4) Q: What do the designations VALID USER, INVALID USER, VALID
DOMAIN, INVALID DOMAIN, SYNTAX ERROR, and ERROR RETURN mean?
A: These designations are described in detail in the section "Verify Addresses" section of "Mailing List Tools".
(TO5) Q: Does Verify Addresses reliably report VALID DOMAIN vs.
A: Yes for VALID DOMAIN, no for INVALID DOMAIN. Domains are detected using the DNS (Domain Name Server) service. All VALID DOMAIN reports should be 100% accurate, there should be no "false positives". But DNS simply times out and doesn't report anything for invalid domains. Most of the time an invalid domain is really an invalid domain, but sometimes they turn out to be temporarily "off the air", or taking an exceptionally long time to respond, or the domain is too new, or for some other reason the domain is unknown to your DNS server, or the DNS server was just too busy to respond (DNS is a "UDP" Internet protocol, which means that dropped requests are to be expected). The Verify Addresses command does perform DNS retries, but often what is required is retrying a number of minutes later. Hence, some INVALID DOMAIN reports are occasionally "false negatives". Therefore, it is usually worth re-verifying INVALID DOMAIN addresses at a later time before concluding that they are really bogus.
(TO6) Q: Does Verify Addresses reliably report VALID USER vs.
A: Yes, but there's a third possibility. Once a valid domain is established (see the previous question), that domain's SMTP server is used to detect whether that username is a valid user at the domain. This protocol results in three possible answers: either the username is confirmed to be a VALID USER, the username is confirmed to be an INVALID USER, or the SMTP server says that it will not reveal whether the username is or is not valid (certain companies have decided that reporting this information is a security violation). The later case results in a VALID DOMAIN report. The three answers are each 100% accurate, so VALID USER and INVALID USER reports are certain (there are no "false positives" or "false negatives"), and you will reliably get a VALID DOMAIN report when the SMTP server won't tell. But because of the "won't tell" answers, you can never detect all the valid users or all the invalid users. In our experience, you can find about 80% of the invalid addresses in a typical list.
(TO7) Q: I ran Verify Addresses twice in a row and got
slightly different results. Why is this?
A: Unfortunately, the DNS and SMTP verification processes are not 100% reproducible in the real world. As discussed above, the DNS "timeout" technique will sometimes report INVALID DOMAIN for a while and then later work fine. But we have also seen cases where there appear to be two different SMTP servers at a given domain and, when asked to validate a username, one will say VALID USER (or INVALID USER) whereas the other will say it "won't tell" (resulting in VALID DOMAIN). Both reports are right, but differ by how forthcoming they are. Finally, domains and users come and go over time, and the multiple DNS and SMTP servers across the Internet do not always have the same exact up-to-date information, resulting in somewhat inconsistent results.
(TO8) Q: Sometimes Verify Addresses says INVALID DOMAIN for an
address I know should be valid, why?
A: See answers to questions TO5, TO6, and TO7 above.
(TO9) Q: In Preferences it says specifying DNS servers is
for Verify Addresses and Direct Send. What happens if I don't
A: CustomMailer will automatically use one of several publicly available DNS servers if you do not provide the DNS servers you want to use. However, these external DNS servers will respond more slowly than the ones that are provided for your use as part of your Internet service, so you really should specify your own DNS servers if you intend to make much use of the Verify Addresses and/or Direct Send features.
(TO10) Q: How do I determine my DNS servers?
A: The easiest way is to open an MS-DOS command window and enter the command ipconfig/all, or enter the command winipcfg and click on "More Info...". What you want are "IPv4" addresses in the form 220.127.116.11. Another approach is to open up the Windows Control Panel folder and double-click Network. Now double-click your TCP/IP component, then click on DNS Configuration to find the DNS addresses.
(TO11) Q: Can I use DNS servers outside my firewall?
A: Possibly not. Your firewall may simply allow you to use external DNS servers without any problem depending upon what "ports" it has open to cross-firewall traffic. Unfortunately, if it does not, the proxy ("socks") server protocol supported by CustomMailer only works for SMTP and does not handle making external DNS connections. In this case, you must use the internal DNS servers provided for you by your Internet service.
(TO12) Q: Can I get more detailed information about what Verify
Addresses is doing?
A: Yes. For diagnostic purposes, there is a way to turn on detailed Verify Addresses logging in CustomMailer. Using Notepad or Wordpad, open the file CustomMailerPreferences.txt in the folder CustomMailer 4.0\CustomMailerApp. Find the line verifyAddressesLogFilesEnabled=false and change =false to =true. Now run CustomMailer and perform the Verify Addresses command. CustomMailer will write two log files containing detailed Verify Addresses information. Both log files are in the folder CustomMailer 4.0\CustomMailerApp. One log file is called VerifyAddressesLog.txt, and it contains the detailed SMTP protocol exchange used in verifying each address. The other log file is called VerifyAddressesTime.txt, and it contains timing information associated with each address verification (the three numbers are elapsed time in milliseconds for a) performing a DNS lookup on the domain name, b) requesting an "MXLookup" operation from DNS to find the mail servers for the domain, and c) performing the SMTP verify operations themselves. Verify Addresses is normally multi-threaded and as a result these log files would normally be almost impossible to interpret, so when you use this feature, CustomMailer will automatically switch to using a single verification thread. Because the Verify Addresses log files can get very large and because the single thread performance is appreciably slower, after you are done be sure to restore verifyAddressesLogFilesEnabled=false in your CustomMailerPreferences.txt file.
(TO13) Q: What's the difference between the "Find Duplicates"
and "Don't send twice to same TO address" in Preferences?
A: The Find Duplicates tool is a way to find duplicate values in your mailing list and can be used not only to find duplicate email addresses but also to find duplicate values in any other mailing list column. You might use Find Duplicates on your email addresses in order to select and delete duplicate email addresses from your mailing list. The "Don't send twice" feature doesn't delete any lines from your mailing list. Rather, it tests for duplicate addresses while sending and skips messages that contain TO addresses that have already been sent. If any address in the TO field has already been sent as part of a previous TO field, then this copy of the message is not sent to any of its TO, CC, or BCC addressees. CC and BCC addresses play no role in the "Don't send twice" duplicate detection. The duplicate memory is cleared each time you read (or re-read) your mailing list, including each time you start up CustomMailer. There is also a "Clear Duplicates Memory" command under the Settings menu to perform the same function on demand.
Match Addresses in File / Extract Addresses from File(TO14) Q: How does CustomMailer find internet addresses in a file when using Match Addresses in File or Extract Addresses from File?
Opt-Out List(TO15) Q: How do I view and edit the CustomMailer opt-out list?
(TO15) Q: What information of mine is saved in the
CustomMailerDiagnostic file? What will you do with it?
A: The CustomMailerDiagnostic file basically contains the information from your Preferences, Macros, and Message Template files at the instant you create the CustomMailerDiagnostic file. It also contains the first portion of your Mailing List, so that we can understand its structure and obtain some data samples, but not the whole list. This information is all encoded in a special binary form in the CustomMailerDiagnostic file so that it may be safely sent to us through email and be secure.
The purpose of the CustomMailerDiagnostic file is to help Wildcrest
Associates troubleshoot problems you may be having in configuring or
using CustomMailer. Wildcrest Associates respects your privacy and
stipulates that any internal information (such as names, addresses,
etc.) included in the
CustomMailerDiagnostic file will be kept confidential by Wildcrest
will only be used for these diagnostic purposes, and will be discarded
as soon as your problem is resolved. Also, we will not
emails to any of these names or addresses as part of our testing.
(TO16) Q: How can I find out the results of my Automated Send run?
A: You can turn on the SendLog.txt (and/or SMTPLog.txt) feature in Preferences to record the results of each send operation. Alternatively, if in Preferences you enable the features LastSent, NumberSent, and/or Include SendStatus in Save Mailing List, then Automated Send will automatically save your mailing list updated with this information back into the file from which it was originally read when Automated Send performs "Exit".
(TO17) Q: What does the Automated Send "automatically save
list on Exit" feature do if my mailing list came from a database?
A: Since CustomMailer cannot write your updated mailing list back to the database, it saves the updated mailing list in a file called "SavedMailingList.txt" in your CustomMailer 4.0 folder.
(HM1) Q: What will my recipients see when I send them HTML mail?
A: It depends. Recipients with Netscape, Microsoft, or Eudora mail readers will see the body of the message in their mail reader in HTML, just like a web page. This includes people who read their mail in web-based mail readers like Yahoo or Hotmail. Most recipients without HTML mail reading capabilities will see your plain text Alternate Text message. Most will see this inline, but others (such as Netscape users with View Attachments Inline turned off) will see it after clicking on a link in the message. Some of these will also receive the HTML message as an attachment (or possibly in second mail message, or rarely, as HTML source appended to the Alternate Text message). Some recipients may see a plain text version extracted from your HTML message instead of the Alternate Text message. A very few recipients with old mail readers or odd operating systems might be unable to read the email altogether. HTML mail works in some form almost all the time, but if you can't tolerate any exceptions, then plain text email is the only sure thing.
(HM2) Q: When I send HTML mail, the images don't show up,
why? Can I send my images as attachments along with my HTML mail
A: CustomMailer lets you specify IMG references either as full URLs of the form http://www.yourSite.com/directories/file, or as relative or absolute local file references, in which case it converts these to Content-ID (cid:) references. In the URL case, if the web site you refer to is not working or if the recipient is reading their email off-line, then the images won't show up. In the Content-ID case, copies of the images are included with your email so that it is self-contained and can always be read, but the price you pay for this is that your emails will be bigger and slower to send. See the "HTML Mail" section for detailed information on this topic. Including your images as file attachments isn't the same thing using Content-IDs as there is nothing to get these connected up to the references in the HTML itself.
(HM3) Q: What types of files can be sent as part of
(Content-ID) HTML mail?
A: The Content-ID support in CustomMailer will handle any SRC subtags appearing in any HTML tag. This includes IMG for images (e.g. .gif, .jpg), SOUND and BGSOUND for sounds (e.g. .wav, .au, .mid), and EMBED which can support a variety of data file types intended to be run by plug-ins including sounds, movies (e.g. .mov, .avi, .mpeg), animations (.swf), Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) files, etc.
(HM4) Q: How do I send self-contained PDF embedded in my HTML
A: Use the HTML EMBED to embed a pdf file in your HTML email message, for example:
CustomMailer will find the SRC reference, convert it to a
Content-ID, and send the PDF file self-contained within your email (not
as an attachment) as
described above. You can find a good article on embedding pdf
inside HTML files here.
(HM5) Q: Can I send self-contained HTML mail which includes
A: Not presently. The Content-ID support in CustomMailer only handles SRC subtags, not the CODE or ARCHIVE subtags of the APPLET tag. If there is demand, we will consider adding this in a future release. Presently, applets must be specified using URLs pointing to code on a web site.
(HM6) Q: Can I automatically have the Alternate Text message be
the text from my HTML mail?
A: We experimented with providing this as an optional feature, but the quality of the conversion is often not good depending on your HTML source. A better solution is to view your HTML Mail in your favorite web browser, then while viewing the HTML page in the browser (not the HTML source), select and copy the desired text and paste it into the Alternate Text area. You may still need to edit the line breaks and other spacing that results.
(HM7) Q: What is the exact MIME encodings used by CustomMailer?
A: If you send regular (non-HTML) mail, CustomMailer will send this with MIME type text/plain. For HTML mail, if the Alternate Text section is empty, CustomMailer will send this with MIME type text/html. If the Alternate Text section is not empty, CustomMailer will generate a multipart/alternative message, with the first section being the alternate text encoded as MIME type text/plain, followed by the text/html section. In any of the above cases if there are attachments, the overall message will be encoded multipart/mixed, followed by the message encoded as above, followed by one or more attachment sections encoded by the appropriate MIME types. If Content-IDs are used, the HTML section will be replaced by a a multipart/relative, the first part of which is the text/html portion followed by each of the content-ID sections encoded in their corresponding MIME types. The multimedia MIME types supported by CustomMailer are image/gif, image/jpeg, audio/wav, audio/aiff, audio/basic, and video/mpeg. All other data is encoded as application/octet (appropriate for binary data like .exe, .zip, or .doc files). CustomMailer will encode text/plain and text/html as 8bit if your recipient's SMTP server supports it, otherwise it converts it to 7bit using "quoted-printable". All other types are encoded as base64. CustomMailer will designate the character set as ASCII, ISO-8859-1, Windows-1252, or UTF-8 depending upon the characters it finds in your message, see "Internationalization". If you wish to see the exact encoding, you can send a copy of your message to firstname.lastname@example.org and the autoreply will include your message in raw form showing all the MIME encoding details.
(HM8) Q: My browser window doesn't update when I make changes in
A: If you leave your browser window open, after you make changes in CustomMailer you must hit ">>HTML Page" to update the page displayed by the browser. In addition, if you leave your browser editing window open, when you click on the browser editing window, most browsers (e.g. Netscape) will say "This page has been modified by another program. Reload page to see changes?", and you simply say "Yes". With some browser/editor combinations, you may need to re-hit "Edit" from the brower window or hit "Refresh" or "Reload" from the browser editor window to get the page to update, whatever is normal for your browser and editor.
(HM9) Q: Your documentation says HTML mail will be sent encoded
as US-ASCII but mine is getting sent as Cp1252 and some recipients
can't read that. What can I do?
A: We don't completely understand this, but the SMTP mail component we are using (from Sun Microsystems) kicks into Cp1252 quoted-printable mode if you have a long paragraph of text (>1024 characters???) with no "soft" carriage return. To fix the problem, just go into the middle of the long paragraph and start any word on a new line in the HTML file (this will have no effect on the actual HTML email message since HTML ignores all "soft" carriage returns).
(IC1) Q: What are the limitations of the Trial Version of
A: In the Trial Version of CustomMailer, all features of the CustomMailer Enterprise Edition are initially enabled (include database access and multi-threaded sending) so you can test out whether everything really works the way you'd like. However, after a total of 20 messages are sent the Trial Version of CustomMailer will say thank you and exit. In addition, you are limited to 300 total names in the mailing list, like the CustomMailer Personal Edition.
(IC2) Q: How to I uninstall CustomMailer?
A: The CustomMailer installation sets up Windows so that you can use the Windows Control Panel "Add/Remove Programs" to remove CustomMailer 4.0. In addition in the Windows Start menu, under Programs, in the "CustomMailer 4.0 from Wildcrest Associates" menu, there is an "Uninstall CustomMailer" command.
(IC3) Q: Can I install CustomMailer 4.0 and still use CustomMailer
3.0, CustomMailer 2.0, and/or CustomMailer 1.0?
A: Yes. Each installation is completely independent and installing CustomMailer 4.0 (Trial Version or Product Edition releases) will not disrupt your existing CustomMailer 3.0, CustomMailer 2.0, or CustomMailer 1.0 installation(s), so you can keep using any of them at any time. Likewise uninstalling any version will not disrupt any other version. As a convenience to you, when CustomMailer 4.0 first runs it copies the information from your CustomMailer 3.0 (or, failing that, CustomMailer 2.0) preferences and macros files to create its own. Thus, if you are a previous CustomMailer customer, the recommended sequence is to install CustomMailer 4.0, use it until you are satisfied you have successfully shifted all your work to CustomMailer 4.0, and then (and only if you wish) uninstall your previous version(s) of CustomMailer.
(IC4) Q: Will I lose my CustomMailer 3.0 preferences or macros
when I install CustomMailer 4.0?
A: No, the first time CustomMailer 4.0 runs it will find your CustomMailer 3.0 folder and convert your 3.0 preferences file to the new 4.0 preferences format. It will also find your 3.0 macros file and make a copy of it in your 4.0 installation folder, and make that your 4.0 macros file. Since your 3.0 preferences file also remembers your most recent message template and mailing list files, those will be the message template and mailing list used when CustomMailer 4.0 starts up. CustomMailer 4.0 will even preserve your most recent 3.0 window settings including size and location. If you have CustomMailer 2.0 and never had CustomMailer 3.0, then CustomMailer 4.0 will perform the above conversions for your CustomMailer 2.0 files. However, CustomMailer 4.0 can't go all the way back to CustomMailer 1.0 files.
(IC5) Q: Will I lose my preferences or macros if I reinstall
CustomMailer 4.0 on top of an existing CustomMailer 4.0 folder?
A: No, you can reinstall CustomMailer into your current CustomMailer 4.0 folder without uninstalling first and not lose your preferences or macros.
(IC6) Q: Will I lose my preferences or macros if I install
CustomMailer 4.0 in a new folder, different from my existing
CustomMailer 4.0 folder?
A: If you happen to reinstall CustomMailer 4.0 in a different folder, you will need to copy over your existing 4.0 preferences manually. In particular, you need to copy the file CustomMailerPrefererences.txt from your old CustomMailer 4.0\CustomMailerApp folder to the new CustomMailer 4.0\CustomMailerApp folder. This preferences file contains all your preferences, including pointers to your current message template file, mailing list file, and macros file which will then be used by the newly installed version.
(IC7) Q: Will I lose my preferences if I uninstall CustomMailer?
A: No, CustomMailer uninstall removes all the files the installer created, but your preferences file is created after CustomMailer 4.0 first runs and will not be deleted by an uninstall.
(IC8) Q: Will I lose my mailing lists, message template, macros,
or other files if I store them in the CustomMailer folder and later
A: The CustomMailer uninstaller only deletes the files it installed, so any new files and the folders you put them in will be left alone. In particular, the files MyMessageTemplate.txt, MyMailingList.txt, and MyMacros.txt, which are created for you when CustomMailer first runs, will not be deleted if you uninstall. Nonetheless, we recommend you always maintain backup copies of all your important files.
(IC9) Q: Will I lose my registration information if I uninstall
A: No, this information is stored in the Windows registry and once you've entered this information, it is remembered across uninstalls or reinstalls.
(IC10) Q: How do I get CustomMailer to let me reenter my
A: Go to the About dialog and click on "Enter Registration".
(IC11) Q: Can I move the CustomMailer folder after installation?
A: This is not recommended. You can move the entire CustomMailer folder and the application will still work, but this will break the Windows shortcuts used in the Start Menu and on the desktop and information in the Windows registry needed for any subsequent upgrades. It is recommended instead that you reinstall CustomMailer in the new desired location using the CustomMailerSetup program. In general, do not move, rename, or delete any of the files inside the CustomMailer folder, as many of these have expected names and locations.
(IC12) Q: Can I get rid of the large JRE folder that comes with
CustomMailer if I already have Java?
A: No. The JRE folder is about 2.5MB and contains the Sun JRE 1.1.8_008 release of the Java Runtime Environment. CustomMailer was developed and tested extensively with this exact Java virtual machine and set of libraries. While in theory any Java 1.1 or later version should work, we have found that these releases differ in small but sometimes significant ways. The presence of other Java environments and configuration settings on your system could also lead to unexpected problems. For these reasons, we have opted to package CustomMailer with its own self-contained Java environment and libraries, which CustomMailer.exe tests for and uses. In this way we can ensure that CustomMailer will neither affect nor be affected by any other Java environments on your system, whether previously or subsequently installed or uninstalled.
(IC13) Q: Can I run CustomMailer from a browser?
A: No. CustomMailer is a Java application not an applet. The Java environments inside most web browsers are currently not accessible for running Java applications.
(IC14) Q: Can I run CustomMailer on other platforms (e.g.
Macintosh, Solaris, Linux, OS/2, etc.)?
A: Not currently. The CustomMailer.exe program which runs CustomMailer is a Windows program. This package also contains and by default uses a Windows-specific JRE. It also is installed by a Windows-specific installer. Wildcrest Associates will release packages for other platforms based on customer demand.
(IC15) Q: How small can my monitor be for running CustomMailer?
A: All CustomMailer dialog boxes will display properly on a 640x480 screen. However, by the nature of work usually performed using CustomMailer, the larger the screen you use, the better.
(IC16) Q: I ran to a feature limitation while running
CustomMailer. Can I buy an upgrade and get past the limitation?
A: Yes but this will involve a delay. If you hit a feature limitation while running CustomMailer, the "feature limitation" dialog box that appears will include a button "Purchase Now". Hitting this button will bring up your browser and send you to the on-line purchase site where you can buy CustomMailer upgrades. Purchasing an upgrade currently requires that we verify your current registration with a manual verification step that usually takes one business day from the time we receive your order.
(IC17) Q: Can I run more than one copy of CustomMailer on my
machine at the same time?
A: No. In order to protect you from conflicts between two simultaneously running copies of CustomMailer that could affect your data and/or email integrity, CustomMailer has a test that prevents you from starting up more than one copy of CustomMailer. If CustomMailer is already running and you try to launch another copy, this will bring your already running CustomMailer window to the front.
(IC18) Q: I can't start CustomMailer because it says I have
another copy running. What do I do?
A: Check the Windows task bar at the bottom of your screen. You should see a copy of CustomMailer already running. If you really want to start a new copy of CustomMailer, you need to exit this previous copy of CustomMailer, then start up a new copy of CustomMailer. In rare cases, Windows may think CustomMailer is still running when it isn't (such as if CustomMailer didn't successfully exit or launch for some reason), so that you may not see a copy of CustomMailer in the Windows task bar. In this case, use Ctrl-Alt-Delete to bring up the Windows "Close Program" or "Task Manager" window. Look for a name like CustomMailer 4.0, CustomMailer 4.0 by Wildcrest Associates, CustomMailer-jrew.exe, or Java this window, select it, and then click on "Exit Task". If all else fails, you can always reboot Windows, as this is certain to clear up the problem.
(IC19) Q: After installing CustomMailer under Windows NT, 2000,
XP, CustomMailer keeps forgetting my registration information. I
register but it keeps going back to the Trial Version and can only read
300 names from my mailing list and send 20 emails. Why?
A: If you installed CustomMailer while logged in as Administrator, then you need to enter your registration information also logged in under Administrator. This is required to get the registration information written properly into the Window registry. Installing CustomMailer as Administrator will enable CustomMailer to work regardless of what user name you subsequently use to log into on this Windows machine. Alternatively, you may be able to install while logged in under some specific user name, in which case you need to enter your registration information while logged in under that same name, but then you will subsequently only be able to use CustomMailer under that user name. Some companies do not give their users permission to modify their registry or therefore install software under their own user name. In such cases the Administrator must install CustomMailer.
(IC20) Q: When I run CustomMailer under Windows NT, 2000, or XP,
get the message "Error writing Preferences file:
CustomMailer needs to be installed in a folder for which user has write
permission". What's wrong?
A: Some Windows installations restrict the access users have to certain parts of their systems. Your system administrator may have installed your CustomMailer 4.0 folder in an area of your system to which you do not have both read and write permission, which CustomMailer must have in order to work properly. Ask your system administrator to add write permission for you to your CustomMailer 4.0 folder, or have them reinstall CustomMailer in an area of your system where you do have write permission. If they are logged in as Administrator, they can give you ("user") write permission to the CustomMailer 4.0 folder using a command like:
CACLS "C:\Program Files\CustomMailer 4.0" /T /E /G user:W
or by right-clicking on the CustomMailer 4.0 folder, selecting "Properties", then "Security", then "Permissions", then giving you the permission "Full Control" for both "Subdirectories" and "Existing Files".
(IC21) Q: Can I install multiple copies of CustomMailer on the
same machine for different users under Windows NT, 2000, or XP?
A: Sort of. If you install multiple copies of CustomMailer in different folders for different users, each will be able to maintain their own Preferences, message templates, mailing lists, macros, log files, etc. However, the registration information is currently stored in just one place in the Windows registry, so if you purchase multiple copies of CustomMailer and install them on the same machine, only one serial number, owner, and organization will be remembered. Also, note that in any event only one copy of CustomMailer can be running on the same machine at the same time.
(IC22) Q: What Windows systems does CustomMailer run under?
A: CustomMailer has been tested and runs successfully under Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, and XP.
(IC23) Q: Does CustomMailer run on Pentium 4 systems?
A: Yes. CustomMailer 4.0 works fine on Pentium 4 systems. The first few releases of CustomMailer 3.0 (prior to Pentium 4 machines) did have a problem running on Pentium 4 systems when these first came out. This problem was fixed in the CustomMailer 3.0e release (the final 3.0 release before 4.0 was 3.0g).
(IC24) Q: CustomMailer won't send and I get ""501 Syntactically invalid HELO argument(s)" , why?
A: The HELO (or EHLO) command is part of the SMTP protocol and is usually followed by your computer's name. You will get the above error message if your computer's name has a space (or other non-standard character) in it. You can change your computer's name by going to Start: Control Panel: System, and under the Computer Name tab, click on "Change". It appears that Windows systems (e.g. ME) let you enter a space in your computer's name, while others (e.g. XP) prevent this since this can cause various problems under Windows networking as well.
We have also recently discovered that on some systems, the computer
name reported by the system will be your machine's IP address instead
of the specified computer name. In the past this was generally
OK, but there are now SMTP servers that will declare such "numeric"
HELO/EHLO requests as invalid in order to deter spammers and other
unauthorized use. If this happens, we have a way for you to force
CustomMailer to use your proper computer name. In the file
4.0\CustomMailerApp\CustomMailerPreferences.txt, find the line "smtpLocalHostName=" and add the
desired name immediately following the equal sign (with no leading or
trailing spaces). If you provide a name, CustomMailer will use
this name and not rely on the name reported by your system.
Depending on your system and your SMTP server, acceptable "local host"
names might be your Windows computer name (see above), your machine's
IP address surrounded by square brackets, or variants on your domain
name (e.g. wildcrest or wildcrest.com or name.wildcrest.com).
(IC24) Q: Can I run CustomMailer under different, newer versions
A: Yes. CustomMailer ships with and uses an older Java Runtime Environment JRE 1.1.8_008 because it is much smaller than subsequent Java runtime environments. However, CustomMailer will run under the newer Java runtime environments, and you may wish to switch if you have having a problem with the older JRE on your system. To do this, you need to do the following:
1) Go to the folder C:\Program Files\CustomMailer 4.0\CustomMailerApp
2) Make a copy of the file CustomMailer.jar and call it CustomMailer.zip
3) Unzip CustomMailer.zip so that the entire contents is in a subfolder of the CustomMailerApp folder called CustomMailer.
4) Locate a Java RunTime Environment you'd like to use on your machine, e.g., look in the folder C:\Program Files\Java (or \JavaSoft). If needed, you can go to http://java.sun.com/download to download and install the latest environemnt, currently J2SE 5.0 JRE.
5) Back in the CustomMailerApp folder, create a file called runCM.bat and put a single line in it similar to the following:
"C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.5.0\bin\java.exe" -mx96m -classpath CustomMailer CustomMailerMain
That should be all on one line. Modify the portion in quotes to point at whatever JRE you'd like to try.
6) Double-click run.CM.bat to run CustomMailer under the specified JRE.
(SP1) Q: Can I use CustomMailer to send "spam"?
A: CustomMailer is a client-side tool designed for interactively selecting targeted groups of email recipients based on your criteria and sending them personalized, individual emails. Spammers generally send uniform messages to all recipients in large mailing lists. The bulk mailer tools they use are usually server-based and group large numbers of names in the to:, cc:, and bcc: fields or use group mail addresses in order to do large volume mailings. Though CustomMailer includes automated batch sending of multiple emails, it typcially sends messages one at a time through a single server, sending 2000 to 5000 messages/hour depending upon your Internet connection. Spammers send 10,000's and even 100,000's per hour, often using multiple servers at a time. If you want to spam, you probably want to use some tool other than CustomMailer. Also please note that the CustomMailer license does not permit unethical or illegal use, as may be the case for certain activities referred to as "spam".
(SP2) Q: How fast is CustomMailer?
A: CustomMailer reads, parses, and resizes the columns for your entire mailing list when it starts up. On a 500MHz Pentium III Windows 98 machine, a mailing list of 5,000 names with 10 fields each takes about 8 seconds to read in from a file, and a list of 16,000 names takes about 35 seconds. The per-message sending time is a function of your network connection and SMTP server (see "Optimizing Performance"). On the same machine, CustomMailer sends one page messages with no attachments over a 56K modem dial-up to a local ISP is about 2 seconds/message or about 2000 messages/hour. With DSL or other higher-speed internet connections, better than 1 second/message is typical, about 4-5000 messages/hour. The multi-threaded sending feature of the CustomMailer Enterprise Edition typically increase these numbers by a factor of 2-3X.
(SP3) Q: Is it legal to send unsolicited email?
A: In the US, many states (including California) as well as the Federal government are passing laws, such as the "CAN-SPAM Act of 2003", that govern the sending of unsolicited email messages. Generally these laws define what constitutes an unsolicited email message (usually absence of a pre-existing relationship) and what you are required by law to do including such things as providing a valid sender email return address, labeling messages as advertising, and allowing recipients to remove themselves from mailing lists. And now a message from our lawyer: CUSTOMMAILER IS NOT LICENSED FOR AND WILDCREST ASSOCIATES DOES NOT CONDONE ANY ILLEGAL OR UNETHICAL USE OF THIS PRODUCT. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL WILDCREST ASSOCIATES BE RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGES OR ANY OTHER CONSEQUENCES ARISING FROM SUCH USE. YOU AND NOT WILDCREST ASSOCIATES ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR DETERMINING WHAT IS LEGAL AND FOR ENSURING THAT ALL USE OF THIS PRODUCT IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAW.
(SP4) Q: Do I have complete control over my email sending
A: Yes, there are legitimate reasons for needing to be able to do this. The contents of your FROM: field can be in any email address, including addresses in the form Any Name <email@example.com>. You can even use the recipient as the FROM: address. Whatever you specify in the FROM: field will be the sender identity in the resulting message headers and from addresses they see in their mail reader. It will also be the address to whom a reply will be generated (unless you explicitly provide the REPLY-TO: field). A requirement of the SMTP mail standard is that the domain.com in the FROM: address must be an actual domain name visible on the Internet. In many cases, it does not have to be your domain name or that of your SMTP server and the user name in the address does not have to exist. However, on some SMTP mail servers the security restrictions require that the domain, and in some cases the username, of the FROM: address constitute an existing, authorized address supported by that server. Please note that the CustomMailer license does not permit unethical or illegal use of this feature.
(SP5) Q: Can I send mail through SMTP mail servers other than my
A: If they let you, but most no longer do. You can send through any SMTP mail server to which you have access, and that will determine the paths and routing information in the recipient's mail headers. It used to be that you could send email through the SMTP mail servers of most public companies and organizations. However, in recent years most sites have shut down the "relaying" use of their mail servers by other than their own users because of abuse by spammers. Please note that the CustomMailer license does not permit unethical or illegal use of this feature.
(SP6) Q: Can I send mail using multiple SMTP mail servers?
A: Presently, no. If there is demand, we will consider adding this feature to CustomMailer.
(SP7) Q: Can I control the date on which my email appears to be
A: Not directly using CustomMailer. You can, however, set the Windows date to whatever you want before running CustomMailer and that is the date that will be used.
(SP8) Q: Are you doing anything to prevent illegal or abusive use
A: Yes. First, the CustomMailer license explicitly prohibits any unethical or illegal use, and we take this obligation seriously. When we contemplated adding higher performance features to CustomMailer such as multi-threaded sending, we worried about the increased potential for use of CustomMailer for illegal or abusive email practices. For this reason, we decided to add the following "unforgeable ID" feature to CustomMailer. Every email sent out by most standard email programs (Outlook, Netscape, Eudora, etc.) includes a special mail header field called "X-Mailer". The X-Mailer field is used to identify the email program that sent it, and is seen by recipients if they turn on "full" headers in their email reader. In its X-Mailer field, CustomMailer includes 6 encoded digits that uniquely identify the particular CustomMailer installation. This has two important consequences. One is that recipients can if necessary build filters to identify and screen out all email sent by an abusive party with CustomMailer, giving the recipients ultimate control over the email they receive. The recipients cannot, however, identify the actual sender of the email from the 6 digit number on their own, and Wildcrest Associates stipulates in its license agreement that we will protect the confidentiality of our customer information. But there is one exception, which is that we can be obligated to reveal this information if required to by authorized law enforcement or judicial means. Thus, we want spammers and any other potential abusers to be aware 1) that we have made it impossible for them to use CustomMailer for illegal activities and be completely anonymous, and 2) that we will cooperate with any law enforcement and judical authorities to identify and stop illegal or abusive use of our products. This is very similar to the practices of the Yahoo mail and message boards for preventing illegal or abusive use. Wildcrest Associates has weighed carefully the balance of customer privacy against the potential for illegal or abusive use of our products and has decided to include this safeguard in the best interests of all concerned.
(HE1) Q: What web browser does CustomMailer use to display the
CustomMailer Help file?
A: CustomMailer opens the CustomMailerHelp.html file in your system's default web browser, just as if you had double-clicked the CustomMailerHelp.html icon or selected it from the CustomMailer section in the Windows Start menu. You must have a web browser (e.g. Netscape Communicator or Microsoft Internet Explorer) installed on your system to read the CustomMailer Help file. The CustomMailer Help file uses frames, so older or more primitive browsers will not display it correctly.
(HE2) Q: Why does CustomMailer leave the browser running when I
A: If your browser was running when you select Help, CustomMailer simply redirects your browser to the CustomMailerHelp.html page. Since you may have been doing something else in your browser, CustomMailer does not quit the browser when you exit CustomMailer. You can click "Back" to go back to the page you were viewing. In the case that your browser wasn't running when you requested Help, CustomMailer will launch your default browser, and if you don't close the browser when you are done reading the Help file, it will stay open since CustomMailer will not close it when it exits.
(HE3) Q: The "Search" function in CustomMailer Help appears to
require that my Internet connection be working. Why?
A: Normally CustomMailer Help uses a local copy of the CustomMailer Help file installed on your machine. But the "Search" function in CustomMailer Help uses a special indexed copy of the CustomMailer Help maintained on our web site using a third-party search engine (from "FreeFind") accessed on-line from their site. Thus, if you use the "Search" function, you Internet connection needs to be open to get at these resources.
(EM1) Q: What does "DUP" mean in the mailing list "SendStatus"
A: "DUP" means that some address in this TO field already appeared in a previous TO field and was previously sent during this CustomMailer session and you have the "Don't send twice to same TO address" option selected in Preferences. If so, the message is not sent to anyone for this mailing list row. Addresses appearing in this or previous CC or BCC fields do not cause duplicates to be detected.
(EM2) Q: What does "OPT OUT" mean in the mailing list
A: "OPT OUT" means that some address in this message's TO, CC, or BCC fields match an address in the CustomMailer "opt-out" list, which by default is in C:\Program Files\CustomMailer 4.0\MyOptOutList.txt. If so, the message is not sent to anyone for this mailing list row.
(EM3) Q: What does "TEST" mean in the mailing list "SendStatus"
A: "TEST" means that in Preferences the SMTP server is set to "test", which means that CustomMailer is in "test mode" and the message was not actually sent.
(EM4) Q: What does "MESSAGE ERROR" mean in the mailing list
A: "MESSAGE ERROR" means that CustomMailer has detected something wrong with the message expansion for this recipient prior to sending the message to you SMTP server. Possible problems include:
1) One or more of the TO, FROM, SUBJECT, or message body fields is empty
2) One or more of the TO, FROM, CC, BCC, REPLY-TO, or RETURN-TO fields contain an invalid Internet address, e.g. not in the form firstname.lastname@example.org or one of the other accepted address forms (see "Message Templates" section).
3) The PRIORITY field is not one of "Lowest", "Low", "Normal", "High", or "Highest"
4) The ATTACHMENTS field contains one or more file names which can't be found
Normally this error will be detected as soon as you click on the recipient in the mailing list and CustomMailer won't enable the "Send" button until it is fixed. However, if you are in the middle of sending mail in "batch" mode, rather than stop the batch sending operation, the "MESSAGE ERROR" message is displayed in the "SendStatus" column so CustomMailer can continue with the remaining recipients. This feature can be used deliberately to not send mail for mailing list rows that do not contain valid internet addresses in email column.
(EM5) Q: What does "SEND ERROR" mean in the mailing list
A: "SEND ERROR" means that CustomMailer sent your email message to your SMTP server but received an error return, meaning that the email message did not actually get sent to any of the TO, CC, or BCC recipients. Typical problems: SMTP server not responding (name incorrect? Internet connection not working?) or the TO or FROM address domain name can't be found (i.e., email@example.com where SMTP is unable to find domain.type on the Internet). You can widen the "SendStatus" column to see the full error message returned by SMTP.
(EM6) Q: I sent my message and the SendStatus said "SENT", but I
later got a "bounceback" message in my regular email. Did my mail
get sent or not?
A: In this case CustomMailer sent your message to your SMTP server, and your SMTP server sent it to your listed recipient(s), but the message did not get sent to that recipient. You will get a separate "bounceback" message for each recipient email not delivered. The "bounceback" message will usually provide some indication of why the email message did not go through. Usually it is because the domain in the recipient email address does not exist or the domain exists but there is no such username at that domain. But sometimes it is because the domain is temporarily off the air or the user's mailbox is full, in which case trying again later may work. When there are multiple recipients in your TO, CC, or BCC, the "bounceback" only applies to the address(es) specified in the bounceback message and in general the email to all the other recipients has gone through.
(EM7) Q: What does "MACRO/TAG ERROR" mean in the mailing list
A: "MACRO/TAG ERROR" means that for some |tag| in your message template, either:
1) there is no macro or mailing list column named "tag", or
2) a macro named "tag" is defined but there is no rule that evaluates to "true" for this recipient's mailing list values.
Normally this error will be detected as soon as you click on the recipient in the mailing list and CustomMailer won't enable the "Send" button until it is fixed. However, if you are in the middle of sending mail in "fully automated" mode, rather than stop the batch sending operation, the "MACRO/TAG ERROR" message is displayed in the "SendStatus" column so CustomMailer can continue with the remaining recipients. This feature can be used deliberately to not send mail for mailing list rows containing invalid data.
(EM8) Q: What does the red highlighting in my message mean?
A: CustomMailer will highlight in red the header field or body of your message that is causing a MESSAGE ERROR" (see above), in addition to providing a corresponding error message in the status bar. If you are in View as Message mode, the validity of your message is checked on every keystroke, so you can type and errors will appear or disappear depending on the instantaneous state of your message. However, if you are View as Template mode, you must switch to View as Message mode (or click on the desired row in your mailing list) to cause the message to reexpand in order to clear the red highlighting.
(EM9) Q: In the "SendStatus" column, I get the message "SEND
Error: Server rejecting address: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Error: Server
with error: Relaying is prohibited". What does that mean
how do I fix it?
A: This message usually means that your SMTP server requires SMTP authentication, that is, you need a name and password to send outgoing email through your SMTP server (i.e., outside your own domain). "Relaying" is just the term for sending email to an outside address (since your SMTP server "relays" the email to the recipient's SMTP server). You can use the "SMTP Setup Wizard" under "Tools" to confirm whether SMTP authentication is required by your SMTP server. SMTP authentication is a security restriction some companies employ, along with firewalls, VPNs, etc., to provide an extra measure of protection for their email environments. Ask your network administrator for your SMTP name and password and enter this information in your CustomMailer Preferences.
(EM10) Q: Sometimes I get the "Relaying is prohibited" message
sometimes I don't. Why?
A: Some email servers (particularly for dial-in internet providers) use an older authentication method that relies on the fact that a name and password are required for READING email. In this case after you dial in, you may have to read (or check) your email using your regular email program once before you can successfully send email to outside addresses. If this is your situation, you can use the "POP before SMTP" authentication feature of CustomMailer to perform the "read" before "send" sequence for you automatically.
(EM11) Q: I can't see the entire error message in the
column. What do I do?
A: You can widen the SendStatus column by dragging the line separator at the right hand edge of the SendStatus column heading to the right. For longer messages, you may need to make this the width of your entire CustomMailer window. You can also use the "Resize Mailing List Columns" feature under the View menu to automatically widen the mailing list columns to display their entire contents.