Action Item - Express Mail

A look at electronic newsletters and moderated email discussions.

You don't need to build a huge Web site to become a big star. Electronic newsletters and moderated email discussions remain popular vehicles for spreading the word about personal interests and ideas. In fact, newsletters are often more effective than Web sites. Subscribers don't have to visit; newsletters come to them. And it's easy for subscribers to build your audience for you by forwarding an electronic newsletter to friends and colleagues.

But publishing an email newsletter raises a tough logistical question: How do you distribute it to people quickly and reliably? The answer: let someone else do it. Sure, there are plenty of software programs to help people manage electronic mailing lists (Listserv and Majordomo are the best known). But unless you're a techie at heart, these programs tend to be daunting.

Enter SparkNET, an Internet service provider based in Green Bay, Wisconsin that has dedicated servers for managing email lists. SparkLIST, its "list hosting service" incorporates the best features from the most popular list-server packages and lets customers manage their lists through easy-to-use Web pages. "Our goal is to make it so that anyone can manage an email list - without knowing a thing about what SparkLIST is," says SparkNET founder Christopher Knight.

SparkLIST is cheap: the average price is $29.95 per month. It's flexible: list sizes range from 20 people to 4 million. It's fast: the service can deliver 225 emails per second. And it's growing in popularity: the service now manages 850 different lists and sends more than 60 million emails per month.

Coordinates: Visit SparkLIST on the Web http://www.sparklist.com or call 888-SparkNET.

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