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Mailing List manager User Guide



User Guide
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Maxprog Mailing List Manager (MLM for short) is a double opt-in list subscription manager and a message opening/click-through tracking PHP script you can install on your web site and start using in minutes. MLM supports a full set of commands you can use either directly with your web browser or with MaxBulk Mailer. You can set MLM to work with either a mySQL database or simple raw text files just changing a parameter in the settings file.

Installation

MLM can be installed both manually or using MaxBulk Mailer (v7 or higher).

New paragraph With MaxBulk Mailer (v7 or higher) just select the 'MaxBulk Mailer > Install MLM…' menu. A step by step installation tutorial is available here. On the first panel you can enter your MLM settings, your user ID, password, installation type and so on. By clicking on the 'Next' button you can enter your FTP server information filling the different fields on screen, host address, user ID, password and so on ('Path' refers to the folder where all your public stuff is already located, it can be 'public', 'html', 'public_html', 'web', 'www', 'httpdocs' ...etc... or nothing at all - 'Web URL' refers to the web URL of your site e.g. 'http://www.mysite.com/'). Once you are done with those two previous steps you can click again on the 'Next' button in order to connect to your server. Then select the destination folder or create a new one. Click on the 'Select' button after either selecting or opening a destination folder. MaxBulk Mailer will then install MLM on that folder for you. Never install MLM into your home root folder if you have a specific folder for public html documents like 'public', 'html', 'public_html', 'web', 'www', 'httpdocs'. Just open that folder and any subfolder first! All those topics and some more are covered in MLM FAQ.

New paragraph If you prefer to install MLM manually (or because the MaxBulk Mailer built-in installer failed), don't worry, it is very simple. You just need to go through the following steps:

     1.- Open the lm/lm_settings.php file with a text editor.
     2.- Edit the script settings and save.
     3.- Upload the 'lm' folder to your FTP server (in your public folder).
     4.- Use your FTP software to CHMOD the 'lm' folder to 777 (or 775, 755 or 705).
     5.- Enter the 'lm.php' full URL and your user ID and password to MaxBulk preferences.
     6.- If you have selected to use mySQL run the script with the 'Init' command:
          http://<script_path_here>/lm.php?cmd=init&pwd=password

Note: The lm/lm_settings.php contains all the parameters you can change to customize the script to match your needs. When doing a manual installation it is important to open that file with a plain text editor like Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on the Macintosh. If you don't know how to CHMOD a folder with your FTP software please read your FTP software manual or use MaxBulk Mailer built-in installation instead. It is possible your server doesn't like you to CHMOD the 'lm' folder to 777 (showing an 'Internal Server Error' when you try to run the script with your browser) so just try 775, 755 or 705. The HTML folder includes a few sample pages for subscribing customers to your lists (to a fixed single list, a single list from a selection or multiple lists at once) and a sample page for uploading lists to MLM (Pro version only). Never upload MLM to your home root folder if you have a specific folder for public html documents like 'public', 'html', 'public_html', 'web', 'www', 'httpdocs'. Just open the folder or any subfolder first!

Security

If you are using raw text files rather than mySQL to store your data it is highly recommended to rename the mlm main folder and the different subfolders used by the script. In fact, other MLM users might know how to find your files and could easily steal them. Do your best to make it as difficult as possible. You may also add an index.html or modify .htaccess on each folder to prevent listing. This is done automatically since MLM v2.0 for most folders. You will find more info on this topic in the lm_settings.php file. You will not have this problem if you use mySQL.

Important: For security reasons, if you have imported lists using the 'Import' function remember to delete them once you are finished. The script can't do it for you because of the file permissions.

MLM fully integrates with MaxBulk Mailer (v6 or higher) through the 'Remote Lists' function allowing you to send messages to your remote lists directly as if they were local, without the need to go through the tedious and boring import/export steps. The 'Remote Lists' option is a new entry available in the List Manager pull-down menu, just below 'Multiple Lists'. In addition MLM also allows you to track message opening and link click-through with the help of MaxBulk Mailer (v7 Pro or higher). You just need to activate click-through tracking and send your message with MaxBulk Mailer. Then you can follow all your recipients actions through the MaxBulk Mailer statistics window.

Commands (Optional reading)

Actually you don't have to use the following MLM commands, you don't even need to know about them at all. We provide the documentation below in case you are creating your own interface. Indeed MaxBulk Mailer handles everything for you automatically as soon as you have entered the 'lm.php' URL and your password into the preferences. If you need a subscription page on your web just use or modify any of the templates that comes with MLM in the 'lm/html' folder.

All MLM commands can be issued through a Web Browser or through a link on email messages. Some of those commands are intended to be used by the subscribers and others by the administrator (you). A subscriber can get the list of available lists, subscribe to a list or unsubscribe from a list. In addition the administrator can also create a list, remove a list, get the contents of one or several lists and get info about the server. Administrator commands are protected with a password.

A command is made of parameters, 'cmd' is the command name and it is required. 'list' is the list name(s), 'email' is the email address involved in the command and 'pwd' is the administrator password. Optional parameters (or parts) are enclosed into brackets. Remove the brackets to include a parameter or remove the parameter and its brackets if you don't want to use it. Do not use a command with optional parameters enclosed into brackets. All commands are delimited with an ampersand but the first one. In fact the script name 'lm.php' is separated from its parameters with an interrogation sign. There is no specific order for parameters. Parameter '&list=list1[&list2;...]' means you can place one or several lists separated with a semicolon. Some optional parameters can change the command functionality.

All supported commands are listed below:

New paragraph Subscribing
[All]
lm.php?cmd=subscribe&list=list1[;list2;...]&email=email_addr[&pwd=password]
New paragraph This command when used without the administrator password lets a visitor subscribe himself to one or several lists. When used with the administrator password the command forces the direct subscription of an address to one or several lists bypassing the double opt-in mechanism.

New paragraph Unsubscribing
[All]
lm.php?cmd=unsubscribe[&list=list1[;list2;...]]&email=email_addr[&pwd=password]
New paragraph This command when used without the administrator password lets a visitor unsubscribe himself from one or several lists. When used with the administrator password the command forces the direct unsubscription of an address from one or several lists bypassing the double opt-in mechanism. If no list is submitted the email address will be unsubscribed from all lists.

New paragraph Updating a recipient
[All]
lm.php?cmd=update[&list=list1[;list2;...]]&email=email_addr[&pwd=password]&...
New paragraph This command allows the administrator to update the recipient with the given email address from the given list(s). You can update fields like 'firstname', 'lastname', 'company'...etc...

New paragraph Getting the available lists
[All]
lm.php?cmd=lists[&email=email_addr][&pwd=password]
New paragraph This command when used without the administrator password lets a visitor find out which lists he is subscribed to. When used with the administrator password the command returns detailed information of all lists available on the server, including each list name, recipient count and modification date.

New paragraph Initializating (mySQL only)
[Admin]
lm.php?cmd=init&pwd=password
New paragraph This command allows the administrator to create, if they don't exist, the mySQL database and the list table following the mlm settings file. It is required to run this command once only if you are using mySQL to store your lists.

New paragraph Getting a subscriber list
[Admin]
lm.php?cmd=getlist&list=list1[;list2;...]&pwd=password[&output=file]
New paragraph This command lets the administrator download one or several lists. If you are issuing the command with a web browser, the default output is the current web document. However, you can redirect the output to a file adding the '&output=file' parameter.

New paragraph Creating lists
[Admin]
lm.php?cmd=createlist&list=list&pwd=password
New paragraph This command allows the administrator to create a new list when using text files for list storage. This command is not required as lists are automatically created by commands involving them. If you use mySQL this command will simply create the database and the table (same as Init command).

New paragraph Removing lists
[Admin]
lm.php?cmd=removelist&list=list1[;list2;...]&pwd=password
New paragraph This command allows the administrator to remove one or several lists. This command should be used with extreme care as deleted lists are not recoverable.

New paragraph Renaming a list
[Admin]
lm.php?cmd=renamelist&list=list&name=newname&pwd=password
New paragraph This command allows the administrator to rename a list. This command should be used with extreme care since you have to update any HMTL form you have created with the new list name.

New paragraph Getting info
[Admin]
lm.php?cmd=getinfo&pwd=password
New paragraph This command allows the administrator to get valuable info about the server and the script status. It returns the PHP version and the mySQL version if mySQL is being used.

New paragraph Uninstall
[Admin]
lm.php?cmd=uninstall&pwd=password
New paragraph This command allows the administrator to remove all the folders and files created by MLM. In the case you are using mySQL, it will also remove the list table from the database. In other words, the Uninstall command restore MLM back to its initial state. Note that deleted lists are not recoverable.

New paragraph Import (Pro version only)
[Admin]
lm.php?cmd=import&list=list1[;list2;...]&pwd=password&action=update|overwrite[&dups=1]

New paragraph This command allows the administrator to import one or several lists previously uploaded to your server with an FTP client. MLM expects the lists to be available in the 'imports' directory at script level. If that directory doesn't exist just create it. Upload your list(s) to it and run the command. Recipients will be imported to the list(s) listed in the 'list' parameter. Set action to 'update' in order to add recipients to a existing list(s) taking care of duplicates. You can allow duplicates by adding the optional '&dups=1' parameter. Set action to 'overwrite' if you want to replace all the recipients in current list(s) with those new entries. Once done the script will output import results. Your list(s) must be tab delimited list(s) with at least the 'First name', 'Last name', 'Company' and 'Email address' fields in that same order. NOTE: List(s) are not deleted from the 'imports' directory, you have to do that manually after you have finished with the import process. For security reasons don't let those files there!

New paragraph Get a parameter value
[Admin]
lm.php?cmd=getparam&pwd=password&param=parameter

New paragraph This command allows the administrator to get a given parameter value. That command can be used in web pages or for diagnosing MLM.

New paragraph Get current MLM version
[Admin]
lm.php?cmd=getversion&pwd=password

New paragraph This command allows the administrator to get the MLM version.

New paragraph Diagnose MLM
[Admin]
lm.php?cmd=diagnose&pwd=password

New paragraph This command allows the administrator to diagnose MLM.


Advanced commands:

New paragraph Getting statistics: [Admin]

lm.php?cmd=getclicks&pwd=password&delivery=delivery_num
[&from=YYYY-MM-DD]
[&to=YYYY-MM-DD]
[&fields=field1[;field2;...]]
[&action=open|click]
[&dup=no]

New paragraph This command allows the administrator to get statistic data from a given delivery.


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