Mailing a List from the Desktop

Mailing a List from the Desktop

By John Makulowich
Contributing Writer

Many of us have considered starting a mailing list, where we could moderate the distribution of e-mail to colleagues or friends on professional pursuits or hobbies. Those who have taken it a step further realize the heavy overhead involved in time and effort, if not money.

Well, for those who still harbor dreams of creating a mailing list, there is a nice program that allows you to do it from your desktop, provided you have a PPP connection to your service provider. The program, written by Rob Stevens (, is SVList, now in version 2.1 and available for $30. For details, you can visit

An edited version of a recent interview with Stevens appears.

JM: Tell me why you created the program.

STEVENS: I was marketing my installation utility (SVInstal) via the shareware channel with good results. I needed a program to help me distribute updates to my customers. To this end I wrote a program (SVMail) that was an auto-reply mailer. My customers could send an e-mail with a code in the subject and SVMail would send them the newest SVInstal. I was telling a fellow developer about this program one day and he said 'Gee, it would not take much to make that into a list server.' Well he was wrong. It took quite a lot to make it a list server. Anyway, the bottom line is that I did not start out with building a list server in mind, but when I got it up and running I found a brisk demand.

My intended audience was the nontechnical person that did not have access to a server on which to run majordomo or some 'real' list server. SVList would allow a person to run a basic list with just a regular e-mail account. My emphasis was on simple operation rather than feature rich. Interestingly I found that a lot of my customers were actually Internet service providers and technical types who needed more capability. I released version 2 to address these needs. It is still primarily a lightweight list server. It runs great with a few hundred list members, I recommend a maximum list size of about 2,000 members. (I have one customer running 10,000). I have had people ask if it can do 200,000 - wow, how would you keep track of 200,000 members. I tell them no.

JM: Do you see this as a viable means of avoiding spam?

STEVENS: I feel very strongly about the scourge of the Internet ... 'bulk mail' or junk e-mail. SVList is not a bulk mailer, I even designed it not to appeal to bulk mailers. The underlying concept with SVList is that you 'ask' to be sent e-mail - i.e. join a mailing list. I don't think it would be used to generate spam. I don't see that it offers a means of 'avoiding spam.'

JM: What do you see as the most productive uses for the software?

STEVENS: If productive means providing a useful avenue for information exchange then I would think running mailing lists for special interest groups. I have customers running hobby-related and business-related lists. SVList has a newsletter mode for one-way communication. I use that myself to keep my registered users up to date on the latest version, beta tests. I have some retail customers that use it for sale flyers and such. Again, I emphasize that it would not be useful for spamming. If you have a small to medium customer base it works great.

John Makulowich writes, talks and trains on the Internet. You can reach him at; his home page is

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above.

WT Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.