Telephone: 0845 467 0006
(aka "Do NOT use smtp.bta.com or popmail.bta.com for relaying bulk mail !!!")
If you are a BTA Internet Services customer and need to send 'bulk' email - such as newsletters, marketing messages or other communications - please read this document in full before doing so. Thank you.
We request that clients do NOT send large volumes of bulk email via our normal email servers and relays, notably smtp.bta.com and popmail.bta.com, as this can have a performance impact for normal business and private email delivery which can affect clients. Clients should instead choose and utilise a more appropriate email delivery method for such cases. We maintain a specific server, bulkrelay.bta.com for relaying bulk mail in certain cases which may be more appropriate to use—see below for details.
In general : customers sending bulk email and causing any of BTA's servers or IP addresses to be blacklisted or who otherwise affect system performance or availability may have their service suspended and/or terminated at our discretion without notice as per our terms and conditions and our acceptable use policy.
We recommend that, unless the number of messages is very small, you use a suitable 'proper' bulk-email solution to meet your mass-emailing needs. This usually either takes the form of a specialised bulk-email program installed on your computer (effectively a specialised mail client designed for mass emailing), or an outsourced (hosted) service (usually web-based). If you run your own bulk-email program yet still wish to send via an upstream relay please contact us about using bulkrelay.bta.com. Further details of these choices can be found below.
1) Very small, known mailshots (less than 100 messages) : still use your mail client
If you are only sending to a few tens of recipients and you know all the recipients and you know that they are not likely to spam filter your emails (i.e. they have you explicitly listed in their address books) then yes, you can send the messages via your normal email program if you wish. We allow this level of activity on the normal servers. Just send a normal email message putting the recipient addresses in the 'bcc' field of the message (so the recipients can't see the addresses of the other recipients). It should be noted that most normal email programs are not designed with mass-mailing in mind (e.g. Outlook/Exchange, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Apple Mail, Thunderbird, Eudora, BTA webmail etc etc).
Beyond any limitations with your email program you will also have to manually handle any bounce processing, which may be inefficient, and even sending small numbers of messages may have a performance impact on your system. It should also be noted that in this scenario your messages will still relay via our normal email servers and there is a maximum limit of 100 recipients per email message set on these systems. This is a security/anti-spam setting intended to prevent accidental sending of large numbers of email messages from an unauthorised or compromised computer system. These limits are fixed, are not changeable, and may affect you if you attempt to send a message to a larger (100+) list of recipients using the 'bcc' method. No, we cannot change the recipient limits on our email system for you - please do not ask.
Clients should also be aware that sending messages with large recipient lists often spam filters at the recipient's end—usually because the recipient's address is not in the main 'To' field in the message—and the effect is that most such messages just get spam-filtered. It might also cause your main email system to end up on a third-party 'blacklist' possibly preventing you from sending email to other parties who use such blacklists to monitor for spam. In particular, if your email is hosted by us (popmail.bta.com) this would affect all hosting customers which is unacceptable.
2) Use a bulk-email sending program on your computer
For mail shots of a few hundred or even thousand recipients, consider using a specialised 'bulk email' program running on your computer. These programs act like mail clients but provide integrated list and message handling capabilities, and often some level of reporting capability. Most importantly, such a program will send one message per recipient (i.e. the recipient is in the 'To' field of the message) which greatly enhances the success of your messages being delivered (and accepted) successfully. However, these products may not be suitable for very large mailshots if your internet connection is low-speed (as all messages are generated individually on your computer). You should also ensure that your bounce/reply-to/fail-to addresses are correct and valid and will correctly receive and handle any returning bounces or messages.
There are many such programs available, for various operating systems (e.g. Windows, Mac OS X, etc). Searching on Google is the best place to find these. For Windows try IntelligentMailer, SendBlaster, or Email Marketing Director. For Mac OS X try MaxBulk Mailer, Mailings, E-MailCommander or SerialMailer. Please note that these are just examples picked at random and do not constitute any kind of knowledge or recommendation on the part of BTA - you should evaluate and select a solution on your own criteria.
Please also review the section titled 'Additional Information: using BTA systems' below.
3) Outsourced (web-based) email list manager
For convenience, or for handling very large mailshots, consider using an outsourced email delivery provider. Most of these operate as subscription web sites where you just upload your message and a list of recipients and the provider does all the sending for you. They typically then provide automated bounce handling, web-based subscribe/unsubscrbe options (and maybe integration with your web site), and reporting. You then pay either a monthly subscription or a fee based on the volume of email sent.
There are many such providers and prices vary widely. Some specialise in smaller clients whilst others are aimed more at the enterprise or marketing agency (large volume) markets. Examples include: MailingManager.co.uk, IntelligentMailer.com, dotMailer.com and iContact.com amongst many, many others. Please note that these are just examples picked at random and do not constitute any kind of knowledge or recommendation on the part of BTA - you should evaluate and select a solution on your own criteria.
If your company has a marketing function or team, or if you utilise an external marketing agency, they may well already have systems in place for, or otherwise have experience of, sending bulk email and tracking the results. In this instance you may be best discussing your requirement with your existing team.
If you use specialised bulk email program on the BTA network please either set it to send via DNS lookup (i.e. direct to recipient's MX mail server), or if the product requires you to relay via a named smtp relay server please contact us about using our bulk mail relay server, bulkrelay.bta.com. Please note that access to bulkrelay.bta.com is restricted and must be configured prior to use.
Please DO NOT use smtp.bta.com or popmail.bta.com for relaying bulk mail. Any client sending bulk email via smtp.bta.com or popmail.bta.com risks having their email account or relay feed suspended without notice.
If you are sending a large volume of email very regularly (e.g. several thousand) and wish to do this via bulkrelay.bta.com then please note that a relay charge may be levied.
If you are sending via direct DNS lookup please advise us of this so that we can set our firewall and security systems not to alert us of unexpected behaviour (as mass-emailing can indicate spyware/malware activity on a host PC).
Please contact us if you have any questions or require clarification on any of these points.
Please note that all marketing or other bulk email activity traversing the BTA network must comply with all relevant UK legislation as appropriate, both in the sending and in the content. This includes, but may not be limited to: The Companies (Registrar, Languages and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2006; The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003; The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 ('E-Commerce Regulations'); The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 ('Distance Selling Regulations'); and The UK Data Protection Act 1998. This legislation covers issues such as who you can (and cannot!) send marketing communications to, the required content of messages, and so forth.
It is up to the sender to ensure that any email broadcasts fully meet without exception any and all required legislation and/or standards. Any client found not following appropriate legislation with regard to bulk emailing again risks having their account and/or connection suspended or terminated without notice.
If you are unsure as to the legislative requirements for email marketing then we strongly recommend you take advice from a suitable knowledgeable party.