L-Soft Frequently Asked Questions
A. What exactly is LISTSERV?
B. Is LISTSERV really a trademark?
C. So who is L-Soft?
D. Is there a free version of LISTSERV?
E. I don't have my own server. Can I still run LISTSERV?
F. What is the difference between LISTSERV and LISTSERV Maestro?
A. How do I send a message to a LISTSERV list?
B. How do I subscribe to a LISTSERV list?
C. Can you help me unsubscribe from a LISTSERV list?
D. Can you help me get an old message removed from a public archive?
A. What exactly is LISTSERV? [Top]
LISTSERV is the original email list management software solution. Eric Thomas, L-Soft Founder and CEO, developed LISTSERV in 1986. LISTSERV was the first mailing list manager created and, with 25 years of continuous development, remains the industry standard. Thousands of organizations worldwide use LISTSERV to manage email newsletters, discussion groups, email communities and opt-in email marketing campaigns that reach millions of subscribers.
B. Is LISTSERV really a trademark? [Top]
Yes! Eric Thomas, Founder and CEO of L-Soft, developed the software in 1986 and registered LISTSERV as a trademark in 1996. LISTSERV refers specifically to L-Soft's software solution and should not be used to describe other mailing list managers or as a generic term for the mailing lists themselves. Alternative terms for referring to lists include "email list", "mailing list", or "email newsletter". If you are using L-Soft's LISTSERV to manage your lists, the term "LISTSERV list" can be used in these cases. The proper use of the LISTSERV trademark is very important and we continue our campaign to raise awareness of this issue by notifying sites and publications when there is a violation. We welcome members of the LISTSERV community to help keep the LISTSERV trademark strong.
For more information about the proper use of the LISTSERV trademark and how you can help, visit: http://www.lsoft.com/corporate/trademark.asp
C. So who is L-Soft? [Top]
L-Soft is the exclusive provider of LISTSERV-brand email list management software, email marketing software and email list hosting services. Eric Thomas, the developer of LISTSERV, is the founder and CEO of L-Soft. L-Soft's products, which include LISTSERV and LISTSERV Maestro software, and ListPlex and EASE hosting services, serve more than 3,700 customers and deliver about 30 million messages a day to more than 130 million list subscriptions worldwide. L-Soft has local offices in Bethesda, MD (near Washington, DC); London, UK; Stockholm, Sweden; and Erlangen, Germany.
L-Soft is a heavy proponent of best email practices, permission-based communication and opt-in. LISTSERV software supports all types of opt-in subscriptions (opt-in, confirmed opt-in and double opt-in).
For more information about opt-in laws in the USA and EU, including best practices, visit:
D. Is there a free version of LISTSERV? [Top]
Yes, L-Soft recognizes the importance of mailing lists for small organizations and hobby groups and offers LISTSERV Free Edition, which is a freeware version of LISTSERV Lite, limited to a maximum of 10 mailing lists with up to 500 subscribers each. LISTSERV Free Edition is available for people who want to run hobby or interest-based email lists and do not derive a profit, directly or indirectly, from using the software.
To download LISTSERV Free Edition, visit:
E. I don't have my own server. Can I still run LISTSERV? [Top]
LISTSERV requires a computer with a fixed connection to the Internet, a static IP address, a fully qualified domain name, web server software and an SMTP-compliant mail server. For customers who lack the computer infrastructure, we offer ListPlex and EASE hosting services, which are based on LISTSERV technology and allow you to host your email list on our servers, without the need for any hardware or software investments.
F. What is the difference between LISTSERV and LISTSERV Maestro? [Top]
LISTSERV Maestro is a cutting-edge software solution that caters more to organizations who want to send more advanced email newsletters and opt-in email marketing campaigns and track the results. LISTSERV Maestro allows you to create sophisticated reports about your campaign response rates and makes it easier to use customer databases for advanced customization and personalization.
For more information about LISTSERV Maestro, visit:
A. Does L-Soft donate software to non-profit organizations? [Top]
Yes, L-Soft frequently donates software and services to select non-profit or charitable organizations around the world who could not otherwise afford email lists. We also give academic discounts to educational organizations. Many award-winning email lists are run by our donation community. Non-profit organization leaders who think that their mission would benefit from LISTSERV technology and who would like to request a donation are urged to contact us at: email@example.com. Donation requests are handled on a case-by-case basis.
Examples of donations include http://relief.lsoft.com, which offers lists for organizations involved with relief efforts associated with natural disasters and http://netpals.lsoft.com, which offers free email lists for the international school community.
A. How can I find a specific LISTSERV list? [Top]
L-Soft offers CataList, the official catalog of LISTSERV lists, as a free service to the LISTSERV community. CataList allows you to search and locate public LISTSERV lists on the Internet. Note that many LISTSERV lists are configured as confidential or are otherwise closed to the public and will not be listed in CataList. To find those types of lists, we suggest that you contact the organization running the lists directly. Many organizations also offer a way to subscribe to their lists through a web interface. A simple Google search might help you locate these organizations and the web interface for these types of lists.
For more information and to access CataList, visit:
B. How many LISTSERV lists exist? [Top]
Many! Hundreds of thousands, in fact. Again, L-Soft can only tabulate numbers about public lists or lists that are part of the LISTSERV network. To view a snapshot of the number of LISTSERV lists and the largest LISTSERV sites, view our LISTSERV Today report or the Largest LISTSERV Sites report.
For more comprehensive LISTSERV statistics, visit:
C. Are there awards given out to excellent LISTSERV lists? [Top]
Yes, L-Soft has an annual program called the LISTSERV Choice Awards, which seeks to honor the most interesting, creative, innovative and exemplary usage of mailing list technology. The program allows list owners or subscribers to nominate outstanding LISTSERV lists that successfully meet their goals or otherwise make a huge impact.
For more information about the LISTSERV Choice Awards, including past winners, visit:
A. How do I send a message to a LISTSERV list? [Top]
LISTSERV lists can be configured in many ways. Some lists are announcement lists that only allow select people to post messages while others are open for public discussion. To send a message to an open discussion list, or if you are otherwise authorized to post to a specific list, just send an email message to the list address. The list address consists of the list name followed by the site where the list is hosted (LISTNAME@HOSTNAME). If you are already subscribed to a list, the list address will usually be shown in the "To" or sometime in the "Sender" field of the email header. You can also use the list's web interface (if available) to post a message to the list.
B. How do I subscribe to a LISTSERV list? [Top]
LISTSERV lists are configured in different ways. Some allow anyone to subscribe to the list, while others are closed so that only the list owner can add new subscribers. Many sites offer a web interface, or a web-based form, which allows you to easily subscribe and unsubscribe to open lists through a browser. You can also send a blank email message to the list's subscribe address. The subscribe address is different from the list address to which you send messages and consists of the listname-SUBSCRIBE-REQUEST followed by the host name (LISTNAME-SUBSCRIBE-REQUEST@HOSTNAME).
C. Can you help me unsubscribe from a LISTSERV list? [Top]
L-Soft is a essentially a software vendor. More than 3,700 companies and organizations around the world manage mailing lists using our LISTSERV software. Other than a few corporate announcement lists, newsletters and technical support forums, which we manage for the benefit of our customers and the LISTSERV community, we have no control over individual mailing lists and the servers that they are hosted on and, thus, cannot help you unsubscribe from specific mailing lists. Many organizations offer a web interface, or a web-based form, which allows you to easily subscribe and unsubscribe to lists through a browser. You can also send a blank email message to listname-SIGNOFF-REQUEST followed by the host name (LISTNAME-SIGNOFF-REQUEST@HOSTNAME). If you are still having problems unsubscribing, we urge you to contact either the list owner or the site administrator who manages the list that you would like to leave. If you cannot find the contact information on the organization's website, list owners can normally be reached at LISTNAME-REQUEST@HOSTNAME. Site administrators can typically be reached at LISTSERV-REQUEST@HOSTNAME.
To find LISTSERV manuals and documentation, visit:
D. Can you help me get an old message removed from a public archive? [Top]
As noted above, L-Soft is essentially a software vendor and other than a few corporate announcement lists, newsletters and technical support forums, which we manage for the benefit of our customers and the LISTSERV community, we have no control over individual mailing lists, their archives and the servers that they are hosted on. We urge you to contact either the list owner or the site administrator who manages the list containing the archived message that you want deleted. If you cannot find the contact information on the organization's website, list owners can normally be reached at LISTNAME-REQUEST@HOSTNAME. Site administrators can typically be reached at LISTSERV-REQUEST@HOSTNAME.
A. How can I stay in touch with the latest L-Soft and LISTSERV developments? [Top]
L-Soft offers several corporate announcement lists, newsletter and technical support forums for our customers and the LISTSERV community. The corporate announcement lists include email lists to receive press releases and information about the latest product releases as well as our quarterly LISTSERV at Work newsletter. We also maintain several technical support forums that allow users to stay in touch, ask questions and share expertise about any number of LISTSERV topics.
LISTSERV is a registered trademark licensed to L-Soft international, Inc.
All other trademarks, both marked and unmarked, are the property of their respective owners.
See Guidelines for Proper Usage of the LISTSERV Trademark for more details.