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Email Marketing Tracking Domain

Mike Peters, July 9, 2009
Whenever you send an email broadcast / autoresponder or system-message with SPI, your emails are delivered via dedicated ip-addresses.

As part of our ongoing effort to optimize delivery rates, in addition to using dedicated ip addresses, we also dynamically update all the links in your email messages to use a custom tracking domain.

For example, the following email message:

Hi {%firstname%},

Please visit for more information about our program.

John Doe, Company Name

will be converted to -

Hi {%firstname%},

Please visit for more information about our program.

John Doe, Company Name

All links in the message body are automatically replaced with the tracking-domain, so that your message contains outgoing links to a single domain, which we manage the email-reputation for.

You can use your main website domain-name for tracking, or you can register a new generic domain.

To setup your own tracking domain, use one of two options:

Redirecting an entire domain/subdomain

Setup a CNAME record in domain DNS settings, to redirect to

.com. IN CNAME

Using a sub-folder under your primary website domain

Create a new directory under your website and call it 'r' (short for redirect)

Place this index.php file under that directory:

= substr($REQUEST_URI,2);

Now update your web server config file, to redirect all 404's under /r to index.php

If you're using NGinx, this setup will do the trick:

server_name *;
# set regular docroot
location /
root /home/;
index index.php index.html index.htm;

error_page 404 = /index.php;

location ~* .(php)$
fastcgi_intercept_errors on;
error_page 404 = /r/index.php;

fastcgi_pass backend;
fastcgi_index index.php;
fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME /home/$fastcgi_script_name;
      include    /
fastcgi_param DOCUMENT_ROOT  /home/;
      include    /
location /r
root /home/;
index index.php;
error_page 404 = /index.php;
fastcgi_pass backend;
fastcgi_index index.php;
fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME /home/;
      include    /
fastcgi_param DOCUMENT_ROOT  /home/;
      include    /

And if you're using Apache, this will do the trick:

  RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /r/index.php [NC]

SPI EmailDesk Updates

Dawn Rossi, July 6, 2009
SPI EmailDesk is a full fledged email help desk solution, featuring:

* Full look&feel customization
* Web-based or email-driven (no need to login to reply to tickets)
* Auto-reply
* Canned responses
* FAQ / Knowledge base
* Escalation
* Email aliases
* Full attachments support via Amazon S3
* Smart message-content parsing
* Multi-lingual support
* API for third-party integration

This weekend we've incorporated a few changes to this service:
* Support for messages of unlimited length
* Message-body templates, and
* Better handling of unicode characters.

If you notice anything out of the ordinary, or have any questions, please contact us.

How to Add a New Order under a Customer

Adrian Singer, June 23, 2009
In a previous post, I explained How to Edit Order details, updating the shipping-address, price, credit-card or product for an existing order.

Today, I'd like to cover How to Add a new Order under an existing customer

This is helpful when you're looking to -

* Process orders offline
* Credit a customer with a "Free order"


Step 1: Access Customer Manager

Login to your SPI account account and click on the Customer Manager. Search for the customer, for whom you'd like to add the new order.

If the customer doesn't exist yet, use "Add Customer" to add a new customer record.

Step 2: Click on New Order

Scroll down and click on the 'New Order' button.

Step 3: Edit Order Details

Select the product, store and shipping information (if applicable)

Turn-on the 'Free Order' checkbox to designate this order as a free one, for which the customer will never be charged.

Note: Orders added using this interface do NOT credit affiliates any commissions.

Step 4: (Optional) Charge customer

If you'd like to immediately charge the customer for this new order, complete adding the new order, then click on the order ID to enter the 'Edit Order details' screen.

Follow steps 4 and 5 here, to process the charge.

Note: If the new order caused the customer to have an outstanding balance and you don't process the charge yourself, the charge will be processed daily when the recurring-payments script runs.

How to setup Order Confirmation emails

Mike Peters, June 3, 2009
Order confirmation emails are delivered to your customers upon a successful order.

You can configure SPI Shopping Cart to send customers a single consolidated receipt with a breakdown of all products they've ordered, or you can send one order-confirmation email per every product ordered.

Catalog-style stores (such as typically use a single consolidated email receipt, while Infomarketing sales-letter type sites typically use one order-confirmation email per every product ordered.

Option 1: Setting up one Order Confirmation per each Product Ordered

Login to your SPI account, click on System Branding - Emails - Orders, and create a New message.

A good template you can use is:

Hi {%firstname%},

Thank you for placing an order with us today! We're thrilled to have you as a new customer and look forward to building a relationship with you for years to come.

Your order is on its way! You can expect delivery within 2 to 3 business days.

Please don't hesitate contacting us with any questions or comments.

We're always here to help

Best Regards,

Once you have your message, use the Product Manager - Select product - Process flow, to associate Order Confirmation messages with individual products, so that every product generates a matching Order Confirmation email, providing customers with details on how they can access their product (if electronic) or when to expect it (if physical product).

Option 2: Single Order receipt with a breakdown of all products ordered

Order receipts are emails that include a summary of all products ordered. The predefined order receipt email ("NewCustomerOrder") follows this format:

Thank you for placing an order with today! We have received your order, and it is currently being processed.

What happens next? You should receive another email as soon as we finish processing your order.

Your order information appears below:


  • Please keep this email as a record of your purchase.
  • Your Order ID is {%order_id%}.
  • If you have any questions about your order, please reply to this email or contact us via phone at

Thanks again for shopping with us.

Notice the {%shoppingcart%} dynamic tag. This is replaced in run-time, with a breakdown of all products ordered.

Order receipts are defined on a per-store level. Whenever a customer places an order, the store-specific receipt email is used.

To modify, login to your SPI account, click on Product Manager - Stores - select a store and update the Order Confirmation select box:

How to Export Orders

Dawn Rossi, May 29, 2009
Step 1:

Login to your SPI account and click on the Order Manager

Step 2:

Select the Date Range, Referring Affiliate, Products and Order Status to filter by.

You can choose to download All Orders, Canceled Orders, Abandoned Orders or Test orders.

Step 3:

Select which fields to include in the report (you can also set the order of fields), report format and title

Saving this report as a template will allow you to schedule it to run automatically once a day, once a month etc.

You can also specify an email-address where this report will be emailed to upon completion.


That's it! Your report will be generated and show up under the Reports screen as soon as it's ready for you to download

Faster Email response times

Kate Richards, May 28, 2009
SoftwareProjects is growing rapidly and as any company experiencing rapid growth, we are going through some "growing pains".

One area we know we have to improve upon, is email response times.

Instant response times used to be one of our key differentiators and we're committed to bringing that back.

In favor of complete transparency, attached is the full copy of an email that was sent today to the dev team:

Subject: New system to monitor & enforce Communication response times


We've had a few complaints lately from clients about the time it takes us to -
* Reply to project questions
* Reply to general emails
* Set project deadlines

This new problem needs to be addressed immediately.

The SPI offering has always been positioned as "the Ritz Carlton of Software Development" and it is important we stay true to this core value.

As we continue our massive recruitment efforts, adding new engineers and account managers, opening shops in more locations and bringing in droves of new clients, it is becoming more and more challenging to monitor and maintain our target threshold of how quickly we want to respond to emails, how quickly we want project deadlines to be set etc.

With everyone working on multiple things at the same time, simply asking people to "try and reply to emails and set deadlines as soon as you can", no longer cuts it. It's human nature to intuitively respond to "the easy emails" first and forget about other things, until we are reminded about them by frustrated clients.

Our clients love us and know how much we care about their business. SPI's contribution in helping our clients generate hundreds of millions of dollars is unparalleled in our industry. But not responding to emails as quickly as humanly possible, violates the trust clients place with us.

We need a fully automated system, that will enforce the target SLAs and help all of us meeting and exceeding our customer's expectations. Such a system has been in development for the last few months and will be introduced over the next coming days.

This is a "Carrot & Stick" system, whereby people are compensated for replying to emails within 30 minutes or less, setting a deadline within 6 hours from the time a project is approved etc., and penalized when emails sit around for days without being responded to.

While it is going to take a few days getting used to the new system, I am confident everyone understands the incentive we all share in coming up with a systematic methodology that will help us continue to WOW our clients.

A happy client refers 1 friend to SPI.
An unhappy client tells 5 friends to look elsewhere.

Thank you everyone for your hard work so far. I'm very excited about the big changes ahead as we embark on the second half of 2009.
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