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How would you load test a mass email agent without getting blacklisted?

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A reader writes in for advice:

Our company is trying to save money and stop mailings to our customers and agents.  We are developing a java process to email to our customers instead...Our Domino email server runs on a iSeries.  We want to load test sending out 20,000 external email addresses.  

Of course we don't want to get black listed or blocked so we are struggling with determining what test email addresses to use.  Any suggestions?


I had a couple of not particularly brilliant thoughts but figured I'd throw this one out to the real messaging experts among you. Feel free to email me offline if any suggestions might tell spammers something they don't already know.

Comments

1 - Depends on what you're looking to test. SMTP works; that's the good news. If you are testing simply the agent and how fast it will generate messages, then set up an SMTP server with the router task disabled. This will capture the messages in the mailbox(es) allowing you to export and analyze the data. In regards to whether you get spammed or not depends on the message and the recipient.

In another test, we used our production SMTP server and just setup a mail rule to place the messages from the sender on hold. This allowed us to keep the router active during the test.

If they are customers, then most likely they'll receive the message without issue. If they are not, then you're just spamming now aren't you? ;)

There is no way to test, for example, the load of actually sending those messages without actually sending them since there are too many factors (ie: recipient address, server responding, etc).

Again, let us know what exact component you're testing (ie: how long it takes to get there or agent testing) and perhaps we can provide a better answer.

2 - There are two items that we are worried about.

1) Can our email server handle the load of sending potentially 15,000 to 20,000 emails at a time?
2) How long will the process take.

We're assuming the load will be different if sending the emails to external email addresses so we want some test email accounts to use without getting blocked.

3 - Were you able to perform the test without sending to real email accounts?

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