Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to track transactional emails all the way through using the SMTP relay

There may be cases where, using the SMTP relay, you want to programatically track the status of every transactional email sent.  At first thought, this seems difficult, since when sending via the SMTP relay, you can't retrieve an ID for each email like you can by calling the API method SendTransactionalEmail, which does return a unique ID for each email sent.

To get around this, you can insert a custom unique ID header into your SMTP relay messages, and use that custom unique ID to track your transactional emails all the way through.

For example, let's say you insert the header X-MyCustomID into every email you send via the SMTP server.  And for each email, you use a different value for X-MyCustomID.  Your first ten transactional emails would have these headers:

X-MyCustomID: 1

X-MyCustomID: 2

X-MyCustomID: 3

...and so on.

Step 1:

Tell JangoSMTP what the header is that is storing your custom ID.  Do this under Settings --> Tracking --> General:

Step 2:

Send your emails via the relay inserting the header into every email you send, and in your own system, keep track of all custom IDs used.

Step 3:

Call this API method with each custom ID.  This method will allow you to retrieve the JangoSMTP assigned ID based on your own custom ID.

  • GetTransactionalIDsFromCustomID
    Retrieves the system transactional ID given a user-specified custom ID for a transactional email. Returns an XML Document.

  • Once you have the JangoSMTP assigned ID, you can call any number of methods to get the status of your transactional email, such as:

  • Reports_Transactional_GetSingleEmailStats_Dataset
    Retrieves statistics for a transactional email. Returns a .NET DataSet.

  • Reports_Transactional_GetSingleEmailStats_String
    Retrieves statistics for a transactional email. Returns a string.

  • Reports_Transactional_GetSingleEmailStats_XML
    Retrieves statistics for a transactional email. Returns an XML document.

  • Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Why URL shorteners and email don't mix

    As you may know, a URL shortener is a service that allows you to input a long URL, and receive a much more concise address. This shortened version redirects the user to the intended location. There are two main benefits of these services:

    1. The shortened address can be more easily shared with others. This is especially helpful for mobile text messaging.

    2. Many allow you to track statistics on the number of visitors to that address.

    A few examples of commonly used URL shorteners are tinyurl.com, bit.ly, Google's goo.gl, and Twitter's t.co.

    Here's the big problem with using these in your emails:

    Spammers use them too!

    They are attractive to spammers because the address of the true destination page is masked by the shortener.

    When you send an email, the receiving server scans the message to try to determine whether or not it is spam. One item that is commonly checked is any URLs within your message. Therefore, because spammers have damaged the reputation of these URL shortener domains, including them in your emails can hurt your deliverability.

    The good news is that it's easy to avoid having to use URL shorteners in your emails. If the full URL is unsightly due to its length, send your emails in HTML format and hyperlink the full URL with some short descriptive text. If you require statistics on visitors to your links, JangoSMTP includes a click tracking feature that can be branded with your own domain name.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Tour the New User Interface

    Last week we announced the launch of our new UI for JangoSMTP users. Today, we’d like to show you around.

    First, let’s take a look at navigation. We’ve redesigned and reorganized the interface to make it faster and more intuitive to get things done. Here's the old Welcome Page:

    Here's the new Dashboard:

    The Reports section is also a lot sleeker now. We know how important good reporting is to the success of your campaigns, so we worked hard to take user feedback into account to better organize your reports. Take a look. Here's the old Reports Dashboard:

    Here's the Reports Dashboard in the new UI:

    Take a look at some of the detailed Reports you'll see in the new UI:
    Transactional Reporting
    Address Changes Report in Management Reporting
    Complaint Rate Report in Management Reporting
    In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing, Settings has been streamlined so that you can configure your account more easily, and we’ve improved our contextual help so that even new SMTP users can feel comfortable getting under the hood:

    We’ve also built a number of tools into the new UI that we think you’ll like. We’ve made it easier to access deliverability tools like the Delivery Health Check and Delivery Optimizer and also created new features like the ability to easily upload assets to our server. Here are some of the tools you’ll see in the new UI:

    The delivery optimization tool
    The delivery health check tool
    The new assets management tool
    We’ve even made it easier to manage your account, monitor your use, and keep your contact and billing information up to date.

    These are just some of the changes you’ll see in the redesigned JangoSMTP. After a year in the works, we’re excited about the new UI and hope you are too. If you have any feedback or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    A sleeker user interface for JangoSMTP

    After almost 13 months of development, we've launched a new user interface (UI) for JangoSMTP, our flagship SMTP server and transactional email service. The new interface is cleaner, more intuitive, and more aesthetically pleasing than our old interface. Additionally, there are some new features that were previously unavailable, like the ability to upload assets (images, documents, and other files) to our server.

    Currently the new interface is in place for all accounts created since October 1, 2011, and will be in effect for all accounts created going forward. In a week or so, after we've confirmed that we haven't sunk the ship, we'll launch it for everyone. If you'd like to upgrade to the new UI before then you have two choices:

    1. Login as normal, and click the "New UI" link in the upper-right corner. If you want to switch back to the old UI, then manually go to https://www.jangosmtp.com/application2/Welcome.asp
    2. Contact us and we can switch your account to permanently use the new UI.

    We'll soon be publishing a detailed blog post on the new interface, but for now, here are a few screenshots.

    The Dashboard

    Authentication Settings

    Transactional Email Reports

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    New Feature: API methods to add/delete authenticated IP addresses to SMTP relay

    JangoSMTP's SMTP service is now authenticating connections from over 7,000 IP addresses around the world. A future blog post will geo-locate the IP addresses so you can see from where around the world our customers are relaying email.

    In celebration of this milestone, we've launched two new API methods that allow for the addition and deletion of authenticated IP addresses into a JangoSMTP account.