Expanding Stats on Trck.me

You may have noticed a change in Trck.me, and it’s the beginning of a new era for simplified tracking. I’ve expanded the stats we collect to give you daily views. This makes for a few cool new things:

You can now select any date, especially yesterday. This was one of our top requests, a yesterday button. Because after all if you weren’t there at midnight you wouldn’t see how many hits you got that day. And better yet you can pick any day to view it’s stats.

Last week is based on the last 7 days, not since Monday. If you still want to see the stats for Monday through today, you can select that on the calendar too. But most people wanted stats for the last rolling 7 days, not the stats since Monday.

Going forward I’m looking into making it so you can compare stats. For example you could compare this week to last week, or this month to last month. That would be a cool way to know if you’re doing better or worse for any given squeeze page, advertising source, etc.

What I need from you guys is some good feedback. There are a few bugs here and there that I’m squashing, but ultimately you should find it quick and easy to use!

It took a long time to get this to work quickly. We’ve had over 30GB of tracking data, and finding the way to pull the results and sort them instantly turned into quite the learning process. I’m confident now you’ll get the tracking you need, and we’ll be able to deliver the data quickly!

New Templates at RocketResponder

Having emails that stand out is a great way to get your emails noticed. With HTML emails the sky isn’t the limit, it’s usually your ability that’s the limit. But far too often marketers go with the basic template because they don’t know how to code a good one.

3-24-2014 3-30-23 PMWell we’ve made emails looking good easy too. You can now pick from 4 templates and our two newest templates have 13 colors, including two shades of orange.

Next will be to add more templates to the collection and a way for you to be able to add in your own templates. We want it to be super simple for users who don’t know how to create great looking templates, but the power for the super users who just want us to deliver their awesome looking emails.

You can find the templates selection on the list settings page. That way you set it once, and whether it’s a blog broadcast or a followup or a normal broadcast, they all look great!

Email Reputation is Going to Change

I got an email this morning which got me pretty excited. RocketResponder has been allowed into the Gmail Feedback Loop. FBL’s have been around for a while, but Google has always kept this information secret. It’s painfully annoying.

I get why, they don’t want people knowing who is reporting the spam. So they came up with a clever way to do this. They’ve asked ESPs to add a new header to their emails to mark each customer and campaign separately. At the end of the day they’ll email you a list of campaigns that got high spam complaints.

This is great, as most people use Gmail and not having that information has allowed problem users to stay with RocketResponder way too long. Now we’ll know immediately of problem users. But the real interesting thing is now Gmail will know for sure which emails are from which customers.

They’ll now be able to say OK these 5 emails were from this person, and these 6 were from someone else. And you bet it’s going to change the way spam filters work at Gmail, and probably others as they start to use this information as well.

This is a good thing. While we do everything we can to ensure that Gmail knows your emails have nothing to do with potentially abusive other customers, there was no way to 100% tell Gmail. As this unfolds I’m sure the good senders will start to see their emails get to inbox and out of spam more.

How to get Subscribers from Twitter Cards

If you’re a Twitter Hot Shot then you’ll LOVE this. You can now create Twitter Lead Generation Cards that let your followers easily subscribe to your list with one click. It integrates perfectly into RocketResponder, so get excited!

Step 1: Create a Lead Generation Card

This is actually the hardest part, finding the page to do it on. You have to go through the Twitter Advertise page. Up top they have Creatives, and Cards is under there. Create your description, upload your image, make your call to action. Easy

Step 2: Integrate with RocketResponder

Change the Twitter Card “Data Settings” to the settings below. This will integrate directly with RocketResponder so when users hit subscribe they are on your list! Click to view it bigger. The only difference you’ll need is highlighted in yellow, that’s my list’s permalink, you’ll want to use yours!

Twitter Cards

Step 3: Tweet your new Lead Generation Card!

Wow, that easy! The team was all confused when they clicked the button. They were like so how do I get on the list? It just did it? Wait it was that easy? It’s awesome when it works sooo easy people think they missed a step ;-)

Why your emails keep going to spam

I’m not sure if this is a rant or not, but this keeps on happening with customers at RocketResponder. Almost every day we’ll get customers asking about emails being marked as spam. It’s true, if we have bad reputation your emails won’t get delivered. But for the most part it’s up to you.

  1. Don’t send spam! It sounds simple enough, but if you are sending spammy content of course it will get filtered. Every person who has asked why their emails ended up in spam is sending emails that I would consider spam if I got one. Obviously their list subscribed so hey they want the emails, but the primary filters are looking at overall email quality, if they see you look like spam, they’ll think it’s spam.
  2. Click Not Spam!!  This again sounds simple, but the people asking say they always goto spam. Especially with Gmail, secondary filters learn what the end user sees as spam or not spam. So if you see an email is in spam, and aren’t clicking not spam, it thinks it was right that the email was spam. Its the same reason if you don’t mark an email as spam you’ll start to get more spam going to your inbox. It’s also the same reason that when I subscribe to these user’s lists, I get it to inbox while they still get it to spam!
  3. Open your emails! This one is less known, but Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc monitor which emails you open. They care less about the content and more about engagement. If you want marketing type emails and are opening them, they want to put them in your inbox. The best way to help show your emails are wanted, is to actually open them yourself. Every email you don’t open is just re-confirming that you don’t really care if you get the email or not.
  4. Click links in your emails! Similar to opening, they actually track if you are clicking links or not. Hotmail will go as far as to warn you if you click a link in an email that looks spammy and ask if you’re sure. Click yes you’re sure, it’s your email and it confirms that it’s legit.
  5. Send emails people want! Obvious? yes but still people have this concept that if you “blast” enough emails you’ll get enough clicks to warrant the time sending the email. If this is your view, you’re going to get your emails filtered.

What people don’t seem to understand is that most email providers use reputation systems. For instance the from email address you are sending from. Or the links in your emails. I’ll bet they even track the address line that’s required by CAN SPAM. It’s no longer solely the responsibility of the ESP to get the email to the inbox which is why so many sketchy senders are finding their emails not going as far.

So I’m sure you’re wondering what we do at RocketResponder to ensure your emails aren’t being filtered because of other users. Well we do a few things:

  1. We send the emails from your email address.
  2. We use a different sub domain for every member for all links in the emails themselves.
  3. We monitor engagement and group similar senders into different sending IP groups.
  4. We monitor all our IPs against blackists and feedback loops and get notified every few hours of changes.

If you aren’t using RocketResponder then you should give it a try, we give you 30 days to try it out without paying or entering credit card info or even creating a Paypal subscription. You’ll also save some money too,  we charge $20 per 10,000 subscribers which is a huge bargain. Most other guys charge in 1000 subscriber increments, and they charge for unsubscribed users!

How to prevent a PHP script from running while it’s still running

When you’re running cron jobs sometimes you’ll need to run things that use a lot of CPU or other resources. If you need it to run right away, but you don’t want to copies running at the same time, it’s pretty simple to setup.

The way I’ve been doing it is by creating a file at the top of the script, and deleting it at the end. When the script starts you just check if the file is there, and if it is, you quit.

[code]define(‘PIDFILE’, ‘/home/username/public_html/file.pid’);

if (file_exists(PIDFILE)) { EXIT(); }

file_put_contents(PIDFILE, posix_getpid());
function removePidFile() {

What I’ve done is used the register_shutdown_function so that way it deletes it on exit. The benefit is you don’t have to mess with all your code to ensure every area it could possibly stop running deletes the file.

Then I simply set the cron job to run every minute. It will check if there is something to do, if there isn’t, it exits, if there is it keeps going and no new jobs start till it’s finished. Real simple!