Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No Stopping

Saint Nick, originally uploaded by Dave Gorman.

Santa's going to have trouble delivering presents round this way.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Listing. Sinking.

For many years I've run a mailing list on my website. It's on the Contact page.

It's what they call a double opt-in list. That means that when you subscribe to it, you fill in your email address, it sends an email asking you to confirm and you only end up on the list if you do so.

Occasionally someone asks me if I can change their address for them as they've moved jobs etc. I decline because it seems to me to be bad practice to start adding addresses manually. While it's unlikely, they might be giving me their friend's address - or a stranger's address for that matter - and not their own. With the double opt-in mailing list, I know that everyone who's receiving the mail has chosen to do so. Every email comes with a working unsubscribe link - so it's dead easy for people to remove themselves, remove old addresses, add new ones, whatever.

Over the years the list has grown to over 10,000 addresses. I use a company called Bravenet for it - it isn't really possible for me to have that many addresses in my address book - and that way, I can visit a website, type an email out and hit send. Normally when I send an email, I get around 150 mails bouncing back to me. I delete those addresses from the list and try to keep things tidy.

But today when I sent an email to 10,119 subscribers... I had 4,493 bounce back to me as undelivered.

The problem seems to be that Bravenet's servers have been used to send spam... so now lots of other servers are blacklisting them. Including Hotmail and all their related domains. So about 45% of my mailing list won't have seen the latest email. Which is annoying. But I'm not sure what I can do about it.

I pay Bravenet for the service and over the last few years I've had more and more misgivings about the service they provide. Theirs is obviously a service that can be abused by spammers - and they can profit by allowing spammers to do so. Do they really care if a spammer pays them for a list or if I do?

But if their service ends up blacklisted they're no use to anyone. It's certainly no use to me.

If anyone has any expertise in this field and knows a reputable, affordable company, do let me know.

Meanwhile... here's the email I sent out today. It was announcing the 2012 tour extension - and letting people know about the presale link available from today:


Hello you, seasons greetings and all that.

Firstly, a big thank you to everyone that came to see the show on tour. I had a fabbo time. I genuinely didn't want the tour to end... which is just as well because it hasn't ended. The tour is going to continue in 2012.

There's a one-off at the Doncaster Comedy Festival in February and then we'll be back on the road with the show in May, June & July. We're returning to some venues where the show sold out and also visiting a whole heap of new places.

Most of the venues go on sale officially on Friday. But we wanted to give you first dibs... which is why, from 10am today - Wednesday - you can buy tickets for most of the shows if you're in the know. And you are. Or at least you will be when you read the next line of this email.


There. Now you're in the know. That's the link. You can find all the shows that are on presale available behind that link as of 10am today. Then from Friday they should pretty much all be on general sale - and the links and details will be on the Live Dates page of my site.

The full list of dates is as follows:
February 12: Doncaster.

Great Torrington (Devon), Wimborne (Dorset) Andover, Aldershot, Stafford, Durham, Colchester, Norwich.

Hayes, Dartford, Treorci (Wales), Dudley, Salford/Manchester, Swindon, Harrogate, Ipswich, Belfast, Tunbridge Wells, Bristol, Truro, Reading, Cambridge, St Albans, Kings Lynn, Cheltenham, Coventry, Yeovil, Guildford.

Dorking, The Isle of Wight.

I hope we're coming near you and that you'll want to pop along.

Oh... Belfast is already on sale as it's the re-scheduled gig for the show we had to move due to the industrial action.

Oh... and Norwich, Wimborne and Andover won't be on pre-sale but should be on general sale from Friday.

Oh... and Truro won't be on sale til December 30.

Oh... and... nope... that's all the 'Oh... ands' there are. I hope this email finds you well. If I don't email again between now and Christmas, I wish you the best of the season and of course, a very happy new year.

I look forward to our paths crossing...

Pip pip!



Friday, December 2, 2011

Ctrl C, Ctrl V

I was surprised this morning to find a couple of messages saying, "I liked what you wrote in The Mirror, well done."

I was surprised because I hadn't written anything for the Mirror. It seems you don't have to these days. I did a bit of googling... and found this. If the words are familiar to you, that'll be because you read my last blog.

As did someone at The Mirror. Who then cut and pasted it into the paper. Odd.

Apparently someone on the Radio 2 breakfast show was talking about how I'd written a piece for The Mirror on the whole Clarkson thing too. I don't imagine many of those who read it thought that it wasn't written specifically for the paper.

Which is a bit cheeky of them to say the least. Oh well. As if we needed a lesson in not believing what we read in the papers at the minute.

Or maybe this is how things work these days and this blog is automatically being fed into the Mirror. I hope so. I can't wait to see this one!