Staying on the list

From: Dan Knight <dknight_at_email.domain.hidden>
Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2001 12:17:45 -0400

Bad news -- all the lists were down from about noon on Thursday until 2:00 p.m. or so on Friday (local time). It appears any messages sent during that time vanished into the ether.

Good news -- all the lists appear to be working as usual since then.

Bad news -- we had another spate of unsubscribes. I swear, @home has got to have one of the most unreliable mail servers in existence.

Good news -- I've made some adjustments to the list server. Most lists had been set to temporarily unsubscribe a user for six hours after a bounce and permanently unsubscribe after that happened 10 times. I figured that was a minimum of two-and-a-half days -- plenty of time for someone to get the mail server up and running again.

I hadn't reckoned with @home's regular extended outages, which prevent the list server from even delivering a "please reset the bounce counter" message in many cases. I reset all the lists to increase the temporary unsubscribe period to 12 hours and not unsubscribe permanently until that has happened 20 times. We've gone from a minimum 60 hours to 240 hours before the server unsubscribes due to bounces. @home and other users may still be unsubscribed now and then, but it will usually take several extended outages before that happens.

If you have been unsubscribed for a list, which you'll probably recognize after a half-day or a few days pass without any messages, please follow the instruction in the list FAQ to resubscribe.

If you want to be removed from a list and the automated process isn't working, contact <listmom_at_email.domain.hidden> and be sure to include the name of the list(s). You wouldn't believe how many emails simply say "unsubscribe" or "remove me from your list." With over two-dozen lists, I can't do that unless I know which list(s).

Sometimes the problem is due to multiple email addresses. Remember, you can only post from and unsusbscribe from your subscribed address. If you try to use a different address, it just isn't going to work.

Finally, several people asked about LEM finances, the future of the site, etc. Here's the executive summary.

PROBLEM: Site income averages more than $500/month behind expenses. This is due to a soft ad market and failure of one sponsor to pay over $7,000 due us.

PARTIAL SOLUTION: A one-time request for aid from visitors to the site and members of our lists. As of this morning, several dozen Mac users have already contributed about $750 to keeping us afloat. Others are sending funds via snail mail.

If every subscriber to every list were to donate $1 for each list they are on, this would generate over $5,000 after PayPal and Amazon take their cut. Not that I'm asking everyone to do that, but it's an example of how a little help from a lot of people can add up.

PARTIAL SOLUTION: We are selling the G4 Cube we bought when the PowerBook went in for service. We received the Cube as partial payment from one of our sponsors, so it never took money out of our pocket. This should provide an infusion of about $1,250 in the next week.

PARTIAL SOLUTION: Postpone payments as long as possible. Writers are now paid 2-3 weeks later than used to be the case. I'll be 4 weeks behind on my own paycheck as of Monday. But taxes, ISP, and hosting fees really need to be paid when due.

SUMMARY: Are the lists threatened? Will the site shut down? No. But I may have to find work outside the home and make LEM a part-time project again. I may have to let some writers go. I would have less time to invest in managing the site and lists.

I'm in this for the long haul. I believe the current income crunch is temporary; BackBeat Media (who handles ads for LEM) says things are already turning the corner, although it takes a couple months before we'll see the money.

We are prepared to take a former sponsor to collections if necessary, but even then it may be months before everything settles.

We are honored and humbled by the response of the Mac community in our time of need. Thank you for your continued support.

Dan Knight, publisher, Low End Mac <>

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Received on 2001-06-02 09:23:40

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