[thelist] scripts performing email merge

Kristy Frey kristenannfrey at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 10 13:32:13 CST 2005

I'm looking for statistics regarding the performance of using a scripting
language to perform a bulk mailing that is customized to each recipient.

Suppose I have a php script that reads records from a database.  For each
row it gets email_address and first_name.  Then the script does something
like this with each row:

$message_body = "Dear $first_name, \n".$message_body;
mail($email_address, "Some Newsletter", $message_body);

Without knowing web server specs or database specs, what do you think would
be a reasonable rate at which a script like this should send emails?  10 per
minute, 100 per minute, 1000 per minute, ...?

To put this in context, I work for a large university that sends a monthly
e-newsletter to approximately 65,000 alumni and we have had email vendors
tell us a wide range of rates (emails / time frame) for this.  Our current
vendor's script outputs at 5000/hour - making their newsletter script take
13 hours during "off hours".  This vendor is well known and should have a
decent hardware infrastucture.  I'm looking for some information to provide
others here so they can determine if this is acceptable or not.  I've had a
hard time googling this - what I have found are products that claim up to
500,000 per hour - but I'm interested in a more educated estimate.

Any personal opinions are welcome, but reference sources would be super!  


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