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L-Soft Updates LISTSERV

L-Soft International Monday released LISTSERV version 1.8d which some are concerned could be used to send unsolicited commercial e-mail.

The latest version of L-Soft's popular e-mail list management software was unveiled at the Direct Marketing Association's net.marketing Conference & Exhibition in Los Angeles.

LISTSERV 1.8d adds a database integration capability and electronic mail-merge support. According to the company, both features are aimed at facilitating use of LISTSERV for direct e-mail marketing.

While being able to pull e-mail addresses out of their existing databases will undoubtedly be a great tool for Internet marketers, John Levine of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail says the capability could also be misused.

"Large companies may have big databases of people who've asked for certain kinds of e-mail," Levine said. "The issue is to ensure you are sending e-mail to people who've asked for it. Don't send press releases to people who have sent you bug reports."

L-Soft spokesperson Connie Newman notes that LISTSERV has had built-in spam detection since May 1995. She believes that customers of its product are savvy enough net marketers to know that spamming is counter productive.

"This is not geared toward sending e-mail out blindly. This is about sending targeted messages to people who have signed up to receive this type of information, and this makes it very easy to customize your message to that specific person using the information that's in your database."

Newman said the new version enables Net marketers, for example, to sift through a database and target recipients based on a variable such as age, and then automatically compose a mail merge and send it out.

LISTSERV is currently available for VM, VMS, several versions of Unix, and Windows NT, 95, and 98.