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.

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