Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(June 1995)
 

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Subject: Re: Looking for an ISP with a listserver other than majordomo
From: Eric Thomas <ERIC @ SEARN . SUNET . SE>
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 1995 08:45:30 +0200
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com, Dan Kanagy <dkanagy @ netcom . com>
In-reply-to: Message of Thu, 15 Jun 1995 07:52:34 +0900 from list-managers-owner @ GreatCircle . COM

On Thu, 15 Jun 1995 07:52:34 +0900 Dan Kanagy <dkanagy @
 netcom .
 com> said:

>Based  on  the   advice  given  here,  I  looked   into  running  either
>procmail/SmartList  or MReply  under my  shell account  at NETCOM  as an
>alternative. This would have likely worked. However, I also learned that
>NETCOM runs an automated  detached-process killer that will occasionally
>kill mailing list messages being processed in the case of MReply.

I find  this discussion a bit  surprising. You're trying to  run a large,
busy list for free on a shell account, and seem surprised that the ISP is
taking steps  to prevent  this. I  don't know what  the contract  says of
course, but looking at the business situation, the fees you're paying the
ISP are for a normal, single-person  level of usage of the shell account.
That means, I don't know, a couple dozen messages a day, maybe a hundred,
certainly not  tens of  thousands. Running large,  busy lists  costs real
money,  so it's  no wonder  that Netcom  wants to  recover its  costs and
prevent abuse.  Another issue is  that your shell  account would be  on a
system that  is primarily used by  people with shell accounts  who expect
quick  delivery of  private mail.  If say  a couple  dozen users  were to
inject 10k deliveries  into the system each, delivery  times for personal
mail could be dramatically impacted and  everyone would suffer. If I were
an ISP I wouldn't want to mix mailing list traffic with personal traffic.
Even if  I offered lists for  free, I would demand  that it be done  on a
separate machine.

>The  list   I  am   considering  relocating   concerns  Japanese/English
>translation, has about  250 subscribers, and generates about  30 notes a
>day.

To give you an example, for 250  subscribers we would charge $460 a year.
That's with LISTSERV and  (very soon - just got the  box today) LSMTP, ie
your users would get  the messages in under 2 minutes. 250  is not what I
would call a  large list, but it's  still enough traffic that  there is a
three-figure cost  to the provider. You  can't really expect to  get this
for free, or at least not with a good level of service. I mean, one could
throw together a  PC with a free  list manager, make sure  it's up before
going home  for the day  and otherwise not pay  any attention to  it, and
sell  'as  is' lists  for  $5  a month,  or  maybe  even free  with  your
subscription, but people are on their  own and if it's slow, well, tough.
That's  one thing.  But  good service  costs real  money.  You need  fast
machines with lots of memory so  they don't swap themselves to death even
during peak hours, people to monitor them regularly and answer questions,
software that scales  up to large workloads so you  don't have to explain
to customers why the cost per delivery *increases* with volume, etc.

  Eric

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