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Greater language control for international sites

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

FeedBlitz has extended its support for multiple languages to enable publishers to pre-select the language of the subscription interface.  By default FeedBlitz picks up the language to use from the visitor's browser or when the user picks a language from the list at the foot of the form. Great, right?

But what if you're running a French language site in Italy?  Most of your visitors will be on Italian machines with the Italian language as the default, but your site is for Francophones and you want to set the default language used on your site to be French by default.

Now you can simply add a parameter to the standard FeedBlitz form or subscription URL called "Lang" without the quotes, and give it the ISO 2 letter country code you want to use by default.  So, for example:

Here's the FeedBlitz News standard subscription form: http://www.feedblitz.com/f?sub=84
And here it is in French: http://www.feedblitz.com/f?sub=84&lang=FR
Italiano: http://www.feedblitz.com/f?sub=84&lang=IT
Dutch: http://www.feedblitz.com/f?Sub=84&lang=NL

No matter what, the user can always override the default choice by clicking their preferred language at the bottom of the page, and - if they do that - their choice overrides the language parameter set in the form. But now you can better tune the subscription experience for your visitors, and that's a Good Thing.

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Better Video in Emails

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Video in email has long been a source of frustration. Thanks to the efforts of virus writers, malware developers and security holes the vast majority of email client software will not run embedded video players as they pose a security risk.  The videos don't display, and for bloggers and emailers making use of embedded video it is a source of aggravation when sent to email clients.  We've had questions about video so often that we've written a knowledge base article about email and video here.

The workaround - to put in a static thumbnail linked back to the video site - is time consuming and yet another hassle for publishers. 

Now FeedBlitz is all about automating the tedious tasks normally associated with email contact marketing.  And today we've moved email in video forward significantly by automating the thumbnail and link generation processes for popular video sharing sites.

As of now, FeedBlitz will automatically generate thumbnail images and links back to the site for videos embedded using standard embed codes for the following video sites:
This is great news for the increasing number of marketers, new media companies and bloggers using video online - now the video experience for email subscribers is dramatically better.

Here's a quick example, using FeedBlitz's demo video which is hosted on YouTube.  If you view this online at the blog, you get the full-featured player below.  If you're viewing this in email, though, you'll get a screenshot from the video which takes you right there when you click it.  And it's the same for the other sites that we're supporting out of the box.  

Another chore for video email marketers and social media mavens eliminated! Start an evaluation today.

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Promotional Mailing Foul Up

Monday, March 15, 2010

Yesterday we started a promotional mailing to a subset of FeedBlitz publishers to offer a special upgrade incentive.  To make it more real we wrote a custom script that would show how much a publisher might save if they accepted that offer - which necessitated running the email outside of FeedBlitz's standard mechanisms and processes.

That script blew up and unfortunately shared some publisher emails with other FeedBlitz publishers.  I unreservedly apologize for that and take full responsibility for this privacy breach. The mailing was stopped as soon as we discovered the problem. There was and is no issue with FeedBlitz's standard mailings used by publishers to reach their subscribers.

No subscriber list information was revealed, "only" some publisher email addresses to other publishers on the system. There was no payment or password data in the email. It was as if those affected - a subset of publishers - had been CC'd instead of BCC'd on a mail from a desktop system.

Again, I apologize for our error.


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New: DKIM Delegation for Enterprise Email Marketing

Monday, March 08, 2010

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Email) is an email authentication technology that enables recipients to determine whether an email is genuine. (I'm simplifying here, but that's the gist of it).  DKIM builds on what's known as public key encryption and domain name technologies, and is being increasingly adopted by ISPs and corporations alike to help decide how best to treat inbound email.

Now, it's important to understand that genuine doesn't mean not spam. Passing DKIM verification just means the email is "real" or "duly authorized".  Whether you trust the sender, now you can prove who they are, is a different matter. Even DKIM validated mail can still be unsolicited, unwelcome, or junk. 

So what's the point?

Actually, there are several.  To greatly oversimplify again, one advantage of using DKIM is that email that purports to come from an organization using DKIM but which, when checked, fails DKIM authentication is almost certainly spam.  So DKIM enables some smarter filtering by receiving ISPs. 

Secondly, DKIM also links a sender's reputation to the sender's domain as opposed to the IP of any individual mail server. So an organization with a good reputation can sign their emails using DKIM and pretty much send them (within reason) from any mail server they please. As long as the recipient's mail server is using DKIM verification (and major ISPs do) then the mail will be provably mapped back to the sender's excellent reputation, and the mail is routed accordingly to the recipient's mailbox.

Thirdly, there's also a benefit in that DKIM allows a recipient to determine whether an email has been tampered with en route, but that's not so important for the purposes of this post.

DKIM and FeedBlitz

DKIM is ultimately a Good Thing and something all reputable senders are (or should be) using already as part of their arsenal of best practices. Amongst other things, FeedBlitz has been signing the emails we send for some time now using DKIM, proving that it's FeedBlitz that's really sending the message.  It's easy for a receiving ISP to determine whether an email that says it's from FeedBlitz really is. We have a good reputation and DKIM certainly helps. All our clients reap these rewards. So far, then, so good. 

DKIM and the Enterprise

Now, say you work for MegaCorp, Inc., and you want to save time and effort by automating your corporate email updates using FeedBlitz.  Yay, right? Not so fast, though - there's a snag. Your IT security team requires all email from the company to be authenticated properly (using MegaCorp DKIM of course), and the marketing team does not want to sacrifice the great reputation they've earned from their best practice in-house efforts.  How can MegaCorp outsource (saving time and money) while meeting these constraints? 

DKIM Delegation

The answer is DKIM delegation, now available in FeedBlitz's enterprise features area (My Account / Enterprise / DKIM Delegation). DKIM delegation enables outsourcing to a third party (such as FeedBlitz) but allows that third party to send email which authenticates as if it had come from MegaCorp.

Here's how it works.
  1. MegaCorp tells FeedBlitz about the MegaCorp domain it wants FeedBlitz to use for DKIM.
  2. FeedBlitz tells MegaCorp's IT guys what to add to their DNS entries. 
  3. When MegaCorp is ready to roll out their FeedBlitz email marketing automation, they activate their FeedBlitz DKIM delegation in the enterprise area.
  4. From then on, email sent by FeedBlitz on MegaCorp's behalf will be signed using MegaCorp's DKIM set up in step (2), not FeedBlitz's default DKIM keys.
  5. All email received by MegaCorp's subscribers will then be validated using MegaCorp's domain and DKIM parameters, not FeedBlitz's.
The result is that the email FeedBlitz sends on behalf of MegaCorp will be verified using DKIM against MegaCorp's DNS, which is where the public side of the DKIM cryptography equation lives. DKIM delegation therefore meets MegaCorp's IT Security requirements - authentication is done using MegaCorp DNS records. Plus, since DKIM delegation uses a MegaCorp domain, Marketing also wins: It is MegaCorp's domain and their sender reputation that recipients should use to decide the email's ultimate fate. Finally, the corporation wins by saving time, resources and money by outsourcing to FeedBlitz.  In one fell swoop all MegaCorp's objectives have been met.

Better yet, outsourced this way, it is also easy for MegaCorp to revoke its DKIM keys simply by changing the relevant DNS entries.  MegaCorp outsources to FeedBlitz, gains all the benefits they were seeking, AND remains in complete control the whole way.  Truly a win all around!

About FeedBlitz Enterprise Features

DKIM delegation is available now as part of FeedBlitz's enterprise feature set, which is priced at a premium over and above our standard list pricing.  Visit FeedBlitz.com and go to My Account / Enterprise to see what's available.

Contact FeedBlitz support for questions about how FeedBlitz can help your business with our powerful email and social media marketing automation.

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