Why build when you can Subscribe Me?

* Subscribe Me e-mail mgmt. subsystem is easier to buy than build

A key part of the majority of Web applications involves e-mail for validating subscriptions, circulating news, sending alerts, and so on. The problem facing Web applications designers is how to get that functionality - once again, the question comes down to build or buy?

There are now some interesting and effective e-mail management subsystems available for developers and today's subject, Subscribe Me Pro from SiteInteractive.com priced at $99 makes the buy decision pretty easy.

Subscribe Me Pro is a Web-server Perl script and is compatible with Web server accounts that have CGI support, Perl 5 installed, and access to Sendmail, BLAT or Sockets mail.

The installation is streamlined (see the "Screen Shots" link on the product page) and simply requires uploading and running the script, which then attempts to configure as much of the installation as possible.

When Subscribe Me Pro is up and running you can create an unlimited number of mailing lists with subscriber confirmation of mailing list subscription and removal including confirmation to the administrator.

Existing mailing lists can be imported and the import service filters out improperly formatted addresses and removes extra carriage returns and duplicated addresses. Crucially important, a list backup utility is also included.

Each list can have customized responses and a unique "signature" file as well as optionally include automatic add or remove links in each e-mail. HTML-formatted e-mail is also supported for both outgoing messages and incoming responses.

Subscribe Me Pro also supports both Double Opt In and Double Opt Out and tracks all "clicks" from links embedded in mailings so that the effectiveness of different mailing programs can be analyzed.

The system includes address and domain banning and "batch" mailing capabilities to reduce the processing burden of large mailings on resource limited servers (particularly important in shared hosting environments).

Another crucial feature is integration with bounceremoval.com, a hosted service "designed to automatically remove 'bounced', or undeliverable, e-mail addresses from your mailing lists." This really matters because services such as AOL will ban hosts sending e-mail with high levels of undeliverable e-mail.

There are two other versions of Subscribe Me: Lite, which is freeware, and Enterprise, which is priced at $199. The Lite version is only suitable for small lists as it lacks features such as bulk list import and Double Opt in and Opt Out support.

The Enterprise version adds several important features such as multiple list concurrent subscription and unsubscription, batch unsubscription removal, MIME compliance, and mailing testing.

With features and pricing like this, making a build decision would seem a bad choice.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

SD-WAN buyers guide: Key questions to ask vendors (and yourself)