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Discussion Starter #1
Just saw this on the Hacker News site and thought that some might be interested. http://davekiss.com/create-your-own-mailchimp-clone-for-5-a-month-with-sendy/ It is somewhat technical and involves Amazon's computing services so it may not be for most here, but I can't argue with the very clear instructions.

If anyone objects or thinks this is too promotional, I have no problem with the thread being deleted.
 
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Interesting. As a Linux user, this makes me wonder if it's possible to create my own mass email service hosted on my site for free. I admit, the instructions in that blog post are a bit technical for me, but I'd love to learn how (and not have to pay upwards of $50 per month for a service I can do myself).
 

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The only thing about doing it yourself is making sure you are compliant with the CAN SPAM ACT and COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act).  These acts and other laws, current or future, are why most of us use a service instead of doing it ourselves.  But you are right, it's not hard to set up your own email server to do everything Mail Chimp does for you.  Odds are, you are already paying your ISP for access to do this already and don't even know it.
 

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You can do it with phpList too.

Setup isn't complicated and it has various "throttling" options so you can control how many messages are sent at a time to avoid overloading servers. Handles bounced messages, subscriber preferences and so on.

You can use their hosted plans (for a fee) or install it on your own server or website and manage it yourself.
 

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For what it's worth, I use Sendy to do all of my mailing list emails. Since I'm already paying my $6/month for web hosting, the only incremental cost is the ~$60 for the Sendy software, which was a lot more appealing to me than spending $50/month with the other options I investigated.

The process of setting up was tricky. I consider myself fairly technical for a lay person, but both times I've done a Sendy installation I had to email Ben (the creator of Sendy) at least once in order to get it working. If I was doing it for the first time, I would probably just pay Ben the extra $70 and have him install it for me.

My emails are just plain text with a few pictures interspersed in the email, but it has an option to code stuff in HTML, so I expect you could send out pretty emails if that was a key point for you. At some point I'll probably hire someone to pretty up my emails as well.

My mailing list just passed 8k subscribers (built mostly from people signing up so they can get the second book in one of my series for free), and the only problem I've had with Sendy so far is that I can't get the A/B testing on PopUpDomination to work. The lightbox works just fine (on a 25 second delay so people have to have spent some time on the site before they see it, and it only pops up once every 30 days) as long as I leave the A/B functionality off. Honestly the problem may not even be on Sendy's end of things there.

I email my list once every month or two, so in the last year alone only having to pay $1 per 10,000 emails sent has saved me a significant (for me) amount of money.
 

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I use Mailpoet (a Wordpress plugin) and my own server to send with sendmail. PHPmail is also an option if you have trouble getting sendmail working with your server. It's free up to 2000 subscribers and 75 euro a year after that (too lazy to convert that to US). They also throw in some additional features for the annual payment, but the free features are very nice.

Even if you don't use Wordpress, you could do a 1-pager WP install on your domain for the purpose of your mailing list.

I've found their technical support to be really great the few times I used them, and their GUI is easy to use for WYSIWYG newsletter creation. If you are looking for something that sends with your own server, I can recommend it. They are constantly adding new features, and it is really worth checking out.

http://www.mailpoet.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Nice to see all the good suggestions for Mailchimp alternates. From what I've been seeing here, it looked like the chimp was the overwhelming way to go. Turns out that was not the case.
 

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Sendy is a wonderful software when it comes to sending emails at large scale. When compared to cost of mailchimp and others, it is far cheap. You have to pay onetime fees and get the installation done. But, the installation has a lot of tricky parts to deal with. Minor complication lead to drop in delivery rate and emails start going to spam folder.
To resolve this issue, recently, I came across, EasySendy service which help you install Sendy in very simple clicks. This is a managed hosting solution for Sendy. So, with Sendy license in hand and EasySendy service now I am able to send email campaigns at dirt cheap price.
 
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