Many of you asked me to create different lists in my Newsletter plugin (or we can call them group of users). I worked for two years with newsletter system and I know that introducing group can lead to a lot of problems, questions and so on.

But I’m listening to your requests and I want to start a discussion here to decide the better way to implement lists.

  • when a user subscribe to a newsletter, it implicitly subscribe to a specific list you have “forced” in the subscription page (so you need to have as many subscription page as the number of lists)?
  • when a user subscribe, have him to choose the group with a drop down list?
  • a user can subscribe more than one list? when he subscribe, have we to present a list of groups with “checkbox” to select on what of the groups he want to be added?
  • unsubscription will be “group based”: when a user receive a newsletter and uses the “unsubscription link”, it will be removed from the group the newsletter was sent
  • when you send a newsletter, you send it to a single group or want you to choose more than one group at time?
  • seen the previous point, if a user is on two groups and you send out the same newsletter to both groups he’ll receive two identical emails (with two different unsubscription link)

ok, let’s start the discussion!

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  1. Hi Stefano

    It’s open source right? Why not look at how phpLIST does it by examining their source code (also GPL open source – so you can copy chunks into Newsletter).

    phpLIST allows for
    multiple newsletter lists – users can subscribe to one or many.
    multiple user attributes (similar idea to groups – e.g. online sellers might have attributes Amazon, eBay, own site – these could be equivalent to group names)
    phpLIST tags users if they’ve had the same newsletter sent to them as member of a different group, and blocks them from receiving the later sending.

    But it goes further, it also has an archive for all newsletters – new subscribers get the last one immediately after confirmation of registration. It also has an email queuing system so that you schedule the send, then you can fill the pending send using RSS feeds (from anywhere, not just your own site). When the send time arrives it gets sent and a new pending one set up for the next send period.

    There’s loads of really good stuff in it, but it’s a massive package to set up and it’s really a standalone system, although there are bridges into WP and others. But it’s not for novices. It’d be great to see some of its features in your plugin though.


    1. Really I have difficulties to find time to check other code… but if possible I try install it. Newsletter is born to be simple (firstly to me) so I’m try to keep it simple… and implementing all request is not the right way to keep it simple to use. :-)

  2. It would be fine, when the admin can sort the subscribers in different groups and of course the subscribers can choose his favorite group with a dropdown-menu.

    For Example:
    If you use a mutli-language page, you can send only a newsletter to subscribers
    who subscribe the english or spanish newsletter.

    sorry for my bad english

  3. I feel so dense right now and I am looking for it.

    How exactly do you send the newsletter? I am assuming that clicking “send” (from the Composer screen) will it out… but it does not seem to be working.

  4. I feel so dense right now and I am looking for it.

    How exactly do you send the newsletter? I am assuming that clicking “send” (from the Composer screen) will it out… but it does not seem to be working.

  5. Hi,

    currently we are using MailPress to meet our newsletter needs, but… I would much prefer a simpler system, so I am following this plugin closely and testing it out.

    As to the multi-list/groups question(s);
    – if the admin screen allows us to select _if_ the users are presented with a list subscription option (and lets admin choose which lists are publicly available to be user-subscribed, may want some private lists) OR if subscribers are forced into a ‘general” list (of our choosing) that should handle most scenarios
    – once a users has subscribed, they should have some ability ot ‘manage’ their list subscription(s), basically a screen with checkboxes , list-name, description for each publicly subscrubable list, and an update button.

    – I think there is an important difference between ‘multiple’ lists and ‘subsets’ of lists. for example. if everyone is forced to subscribed to my “general” list, but can also subscribe to a relevant “region1” or “region2” list; when i send out a newsletter to a user subscribed to “general” && “Region1” he should either:
    A.) receive one general newsletter (there is _no_ good reason to send out two newsletters! or to force the user to figure out whoy they are getting two and manage their list subscriptions!)
    B.) receive one newsletter with an extra unique section based on the sub-list (eg “thanks for being part of Region1, heres a photo from your region, and your regional contact info”)
    c.) receive one customized newsletter based on the ‘most important’ list that they belong too (this might be most appropriate for the “solicitor1 (susy’s list)” and “solicitor2 (bill’s list)” setup – need some admin mechanism to identify list importance in this arrangement)

    i can instantly think of situations where I need to do one of each kind of mailing at different times. say a general announcement, with a single generic message that i want sent to all subscribers and i just select all the lists (type A), A generic update, with a regional or personal section (type B), custom appeals or notices written by individual regional managers (or solicitors, or whatever), so letter X to list N, letter Y to list M, letter Z to list Q…. (type C) i realize that this looks like Type A done three times… but that is only true if nobody is subscribed to multiple subsets… which you shouldnt have to care about. instead do the mailing as one step (eg setup the mailing, define the three letters X,Y,Z, and assign them to the appropriate lists N, P, Q, and then hit “send” and process the ‘most important list’ first, and then the next most “important” list, but only sending those not already mailed… etc. )

    anyway, I think thinking of list management in terms of subsets, rather than distinct groups, and allowing for custom sections to be assigned to specific list subsets, would be great.

    saving past mailings (by date in an archive) is an absolute necessity. archive should also have track of how many contacts where mailed (at the very least, best to actually store the lists it was sent too) and IDEALLY, if there was a move to allow synchronization between subscribers and WP users, then the user profile should show a history of which mailings they were sent, and wehn, and click to view a copy of the mailing.

    best of luck.

  6. Glad you are considering this options. The sooner the better, in my view.

    Ideally, a user could subscribe to more than one list from a single interface. Would not matter if this was done with a dropdown menu or a check box.

    For those who wish or need, however, there also should be an ability to create a separate subscription form for each list, such as for having one subscribe form on this page and a different subscribe form on that page.

    In this regard, there needs to be an ability to modify a list’s name on the fly (e.g., changing the name from “Bill’s List” to “Susy’s List”) without losing any subscribers.

    The key item would be an ability to unsubscribe separately from each list, so people can leave one list and stay on another. There also should be an option to subscribe universally from all lists.

    Hope this guidance is helpful

  7. Ciao Stefano!
    I think that the following are the necessary features for your plugin, but …
    When a user subscribes to a newsletter he automatically subscribes to a default group called “General”, for instance, or he has to choose from a dropdown list created by the admin. If he wants to subscribe more than one list he has to repeat the subscription for all the lists with different usernames (jack01, jack02,jack03…), but if you can help the user making him choose different lists in the same subscription, I think we all will be happy… Unsubscription should be necessarily group based too. When admin sends a newsletter he should be able to choose more groups but if not, it’s only a little more work to do, but it’s important that the same newsletter is always available to reuse for more groups and also for future use, I mean it should be saved in a “newsletters archive” divided in groups… If a user is on more groups, he’ll receive more newsletters with more unsubscription links, and he can’t bother us if he’ll receive too letters… ;)
    Hope you’ll agree!
    A presto

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