Front Page of the Toronto Star > My Unforgettable iPad Wedding

I rarely update this blog anymore since I moved everything over to the Official Elite Email blog.

But, I figured it was worth sharing this here, too…!

The front page of the Toronto Star today has the story about my very good friend’s Dana & Darren Abenstein’s wedding.

I had blogged about this last week (The Human Side of Technology :: A Wedding Tale) and saw it go viral on Facebook really fast. Now it’s on the front cover of a major newspaper. Wow.

Truthfully, regardless of how much attention this story may get, I’m just glad I was able to play a part in making that day a bit more special for Darren and Dana.
Once again, congrats to them both!

You can read the story by Daniel Dale online here:–a-heart-attack-a-wedding-and-an-ipad

Toronto Star - June 7, 2011

CRTC Trying to Impose Usage Based Billing – Talk About a Step Backwards

In 1989 Marty McFly and Doc Brown gave us a glimpse at the future. It might be a bit scary to think that ‘future’ they visited is just a few years from where we are now. I’m personally looking forward to flying cars since I think driving with 4 tires on the ground is just so passé.

There are actually a lot of things Back To The Future II got correct. (View the list here)

While I don’t think we’re just a few years away from flying cars, I would assume that the world, overall, is moving in a consistent direction when it comes to technology…. FORWARD.

This is why I think it’s crazy that the CRTC is trying to send Canadian internet users back to the stone-age. (Well, maybe not the stone-age since there weren’t many cavemen on Facebook, but this is definitely not forward progress.)

Stop The MeterA new decision from the CRTC will allow Canadian ISPs to charge per byte, similar to what they do for smart phones. This will result in Canadian paying a lot more for internet access. Canadian consumers already get gauged on their internet services way more than their American counterparts and now it’s all about to get worse.

A couple years ago I was in Thailand where I was literally sitting in a hut with no air conditioning, bugs flying around, and no paved roads in sight, but I was on the internet with a fast connection. I wonder if that hut is going to get better internet rates than someone in Toronto?

I have no idea what the CRTC is thinking or how they are justifying their actions, but Canadians must raise their voice and say this is ridiculous.

To have your voice be heard, sign the “Stop The Meter On Your Internet Use” here:

Social Sharing Links Added to Email-2-Web Pages for All Elite Email Customers

On Friday we released a new feature in Elite Email, which was requested by many customers. (Thanks for all the feedback, as always it is greatly appreciated!)

When an email gets sent out from Elite Email, our Email-2-Web feature kicks in and creates a web-page version of your message. You can use this URL so that you can link to past emails/newsletters from your website or from future emails. This also comes in handy if you want to show someone a past email without having to actually send them an email.

You can find all of these URLs under the EMAILS tab by clicking EMAIL-2-WEB.

Tip: You can choose to hide or display specific emails so emails that you want to stay private can, of course, stay private.

As for the new feature…

We have added social sharing links to the footer of the page.

This means your contacts (or anyone who you give the Email-2-Web link to) can easily share your email on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Stumble, Reddit, Delicious and just about every other social network you can think of.

Social Sharing Links Added to Email-2-Web

The goal is to help your email become more viral as people share the content they love getting from you, with people in their social network.

In the coming months, we will be adding many more great features to tighten the link between your email marketing and social network activity.

Happy Holidays

I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone happy holidays and a prosperous New Year!

2010 saw the release of hundreds of new features in Elite Email and I assure you all that we have many exciting things planned for the year ahead. Our development team is hard at work to give you even more features to help you accomplish more with your email marketing.


Amazing Amount of Positive Feedback

It has now been a couple of weeks since we pulled back the covers and released Elite Email Phoenix.

During that time we have received a tremendous amount of positive feedback. I knew our customers were passionate about Elite Email, but the amount of people who took precious time out of their day to email or call us to say how happy they are with the new version is the biggest compliment we could have imagined and incredibly inspiring.

It goes without saying that our development team worked very hard on this new version and receiving this type of response is a true confirmation that our efforts were right on target. And, as I mentioned previously, the long list of new features is really the result of all the outstanding feedback we received directly from our customers. So, a big thank you is in order to all our loyal users because had they not been so forthcoming with their ideas we could not have made this new version as feature-rich as we did. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Admittedly there were some glitches that people noticed (despite our extensive testing) and I am grateful for the fact that people reported these to us so we could fix them as quickly as possible.

One bit of feedback that we have heard from many customers is that we have not done enough to showcase all the new features. Of course, if you explore around the program you will see all sorts of new pages and buttons to press, but I do completely agree that more could have been done to really highlight some of the new things you can do to enhance your email marketing. Over the coming weeks I will do my best to showcase some of the new features here on my blog.

Just know that this release was only the first step because we have many more exciting upgrades coming down the pipeline…. Stay tuned and please keep the feedback coming!

Gearing Up For The Release of Elite Email Phoenix

Over the past several years we have been working on a brand new version of Elite Email that is scheduled to start rolling out to our customers tonight.

In my opinion, this new version was truly built by our customers. Over the years we have spent hours upon hours talking to thousands and thousands of customers. We have worked hard to learn their business and to understand how Elite Email fits into their marketing mix. We have listened closely to what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what they felt could help them take their email marketing to the next level.

We compiled all of this feedback and our development team worked tirelessly to build it all into our new state-of-the-art system. I honestly cannot express to you just how grateful I am to all the customers that shared their precious time with us to help build, guide and craft this latest version of Elite Email.

This new version of Elite Email, code named “Phoenix”, contains hundreds of new features, a sleek new interface, faster performance, and a few other surprises that I think our customers will really enjoy. The list of new additions and enhancements is so long that I couldn’t even include it here because then this post will scroll forever. But, I am confident that as our customers explore the new version of Elite Email they will stumble upon all the great new things we have worked hard to bring them in an effort to make Elite Email the best email marketing service provider.

Admittedly, Elite Email Phoenix has taken longer to release than we originally planned. I know many people have been looking forward to it for a long time, and I do apologize for the delay. While I don’t want to make excuses, I can tell you that although we probably could have released it months ago, but we instead chose to keep it in “beta” just a little bit longer so that when we did release it, we could feel confident that it was perfect. Our QA Team and beta testers poked and prodded every nook & cranny of the program to find every bug, kink, and loose end. We know how critical your email marketing is, and internally we set the bar for any of our programs at complete perfection.

While I am personally so incredibly excited to be launching Elite Email Phoenix, I am equally (if not more!) excited to hear the feedback from all of our customers.

Best of all, we have two more big upgrades following just behind, so stay tuned for even more exciting enhancements!

Gap Learns The Power of Social Media

By now everyone knows the power of social media. Several years ago words like Facebook and Twitter meant nothing and now those two social media giants are cornerstones of our lives.

Every little while a really great example comes along that highlights the power of social media that I think is worth mentioning.

In this case, Gap learned just how quick and powerful social media can be.

For over 20 years Gap has had the same logo that we’ve all seen in malls, stores and advertisements literally all over the place. But, they felt it was time for a change and they needed a new logo. (You can read the message from Gap’s North American President here.)

After unveiling the new logo, which Ad Age said looked like “something a child created using a clip-art gallery”, the social networks went wild.

New and Old Gap Logo

Facebook, Twitter, blogs and just about every other social media outlet were, on mass, voicing some pretty big disappointment. And, of course, it didn’t take long for the mockery to begin either. Check out … kind of makes you wonder how much Gap paid their agency?

After less than a week, Gap has gone back to their old logo and said this:

“Ok. We’ve heard loud and clear that you don’t like the new logo…We only want what’s best for the brand and our customers. We are bringing back the blue box tonight.”

Just like that, the customer spoke loud enough and the company responded.

This truly highlights the power of social media and echoes just how important it is for brands to monitor social networks for feedback on their products. (This applies to big and small companies alike!)

Now, there is a chance that this was all a publicity stunt because in all honesty, when was the last time there was this much buzz about Gap? If that was the case, then kudos to Gap on doing that really well, but if that wasn’t the case… then, sheesh… didn’t you show a lot of people the logo before unveiling it?

I wonder if Henry Ford had access to Facebook in 1920 he would have known people really wanted cars in a color other than black? =)

Massive Server Upgrade Complete at Elite Email

We have successfully completed a massive upgrade of all of our email servers.

At Elite Email we have dedicated email servers spread out across Canada and the United States so that we can offer our customers the absolute highest level of service with the best email deliverability.

After months of planning and preparation, each one of these servers has been beefed up and is running better than ever before.

To quote Kanye West, our email servers are now BETTER, FASTER, and STRONGER!

Emails will now send out faster, however everything is still tailored to specific ISP limits and guidelines. So, even though we’re eager to push the pedal to the metal we must ensure that we play nicely with others and follow the rules.

But, the good news is that this upgrade makes our sending infrastructure much stronger and all customers should see immediate benefits when sending email.

New Feature at Elite Email > Automatically Remove Hard Bounces

As always, at Elite Email we pride ourselves on offering industry leading deliverability that gets our customers right to the inbox.

We already employ all forms of email authentication including SPF, Sender ID, Domain Keys, and DKIM. In addition to that, we have relationships with major ISPs around the globe and have active feedback loops with any ISP that offers such a service. And, of course, wherever possible, our IPs are whitelisted or on the Trusted Sender list.

But, even with all that, we are always striving to do more and be better. After all, as soon as we sit back on our heels, we risk slipping and we never want that to happen!

One of the issues that really bothers ISPs is when you try to send to a ‘hard bounces’ address over and over again. This shows poor list hygiene and is definitely contrary to best practices.

A hard bounce is usually the result of sending to an email address that does not exist and is permanently undeliverable. So, if you put yourselves in the shoes of an ISP, you can see why receiving multiple attempts over time to a ‘hard bounces’ address is contrary to the high email marketing standards we expect from all Elite Email clients.

Up until this point, our customers have always been able to clear bounces manually. You could simply click the “Clear Bounces” button on your email’s bounce report and everything would be cleaned for you. But, many customers were forgetting to do this, which we totally understand because we know how hectic things can get!

As a result of much customer feedback and the goal of constantly improving delivery, we have released a new feature that automatically removes hard bounces from your mailing list. This feature was released over the weekend and based on preliminary reports is working well.

Keep in mind that we only remove HARD bounces, so soft bounces (which could be ‘mailbox full’ or ‘temporary server error’, etc) are kept on your mailing list unless you manually remove them. This is because there is a chance that when you re-send to a soft bounced email address that it can be successfully delivered.

Stay tuned for more great features to boost your email marketing that we have planned over the coming months!

Email Marketing Fail by Schulich School of Business

Lately it seems like I’m only blogging about Email Marketing Fails, but I just find them so amusing!

All day long we talk to our customers explaining them about email marketing best practices and how to conduct effective campaigns. So, when I see other people totally throwing some of the fundamental principles out the window, I can’t help but want to point it out.

This particular email marketing fail is really bad and I’m sure when they noticed it, they were really embarrassed.

Before going any further, I want to say that I am a proud graduate of the Schulich School of Business. I had a great experience and think it is a fantastic institution with an excellent student body and top-notch professors.

That being said, here is the email they recently sent out (click image for larger version):
(Note: I added the big red arrow)

Schulich Career Fairs 2010/2011 Email Fail

Yes, this school that tries to attract top talent from across the globe spelled the word “AGAIN” incorrectly.

Email Marketing Rule #1: Proof read your content!

Amendment to Rule #1: This is especially important if you’re a prestigious business school!

Blog by eBusiness and email marketing guru Robert Burko. Discusses current trends, ideas and how you can improve your business.