One of the Oldest Email Technology Companies Hits 25 Years

Bethesda, MD (February 13, 2019) –

  • L-Soft pioneered the email marketing industry
  • By founding L-Soft, Eric Thomas became one of the first entrepreneurs to turn his social networking software into a company
  • In a fad-based tech space, L-Soft and LISTSERV have maintained longevity and relevance in an industry easily distracted by the newest thing
  • The company's software, LISTSERV, has been credited in several text books and encyclopedias as kickstarting both email marketing and social media

When Eric Thomas incorporated L-Soft in 1994, email was just starting to be used by the public, Netscape had not been released, email marketing did not exist, and social media was not even a pipe dream.

"My generation envisioned the world that we see today where the Internet is at the center of everything," said Thomas. "It was our dream, our life project, and we made it happen."

While attending college in Paris, Eric Thomas created the email discussion list software LISTSERV in 1986 at a time when only universities had access to the Internet; the World Wide Web would not be invented until 1989. By 1994, over 200 universities were using LISTSERV, and Thomas knew that there was a much larger demand for his software. This led him to found L-Soft with just $3,000 and his laptop, making him one of the first entrepreneurs to turn a networking platform into a business. It would be another 10 years before Facebook would be created.

"I didn't have a master plan, I didn't even have a business plan. What I did have was a clear vision, and the determination to make it happen," said Thomas. "For about a year, all I did was program, eat and sleep. It was a huge amount of work, but I just had to do it. I couldn't let my baby die."

By the mid-1990s, LISTSERV had over 10 million subscribers. People all over the world were creating online communities and discussion groups thanks to Thomas' software, a technology we take for granted today. Thomas invented double opt-in or email subscription confirmation, which became one of the cornerstones of permission-based marketing.

"Without LISTSERV, e-mail marketing never would have gotten off the ground," said best-selling author and speaker Seth Godin.

In an era where new social media and collaboration platforms seek the limelight, the use of email lists continues to develop as discussion groups remain widely used and organizations continue to engage in email marketing. This keeps L-Soft, the Bethesda, MD, based email technology company, as busy as ever. Today, there are over 100 million LISTSERV list subscribers.

During its 25th anniversary year, L-Soft will release LISTSERV 17.0, featuring a completely redesigned web interface to better accommodate an increasingly mobile user base. The new release features three modes to display the searchable online list archives, which for many long-running lists provide decades' worth of knowledge. The new forum and blog view options allow subscribers to read and participate in group discussions without using email. For organizations running announcement lists, the new HTML newsletter builder allows anyone to design and send responsive email newsletters with ease.

"The upcoming release is meant to modernize the ways that we have traditionally interacted with email lists," said Thomas. "People are so used to having to create a profile and sharing so much personal information off the bat. Not so with LISTSERV, and this new version makes it easier to participate without having to launch an email client."

L-Soft continues to serve the needs of government agencies, universities, businesses and non-profits that rely on dedicated communication channels, reliable information distribution and knowledge exchange.

Learn more about L-Soft's history:

About L-Soft

Working with thousands of customers around the globe, powering email groups that improve people's lives and email newsletters that get results, we understand that email makes a difference. As an email software and hosted cloud service provider, L-Soft's mission is to provide LISTSERV email technology for group communications. Since 1994, we have been developing and providing LISTSERV.

Get in touch to see how you can turn email into results:

L-Soft Press Contact

Susan Brown Faghani
1-301-731-0440, Ext 4

LISTSERV is a registered trademark licensed to L-Soft international, Inc.

See Guidelines for Proper Usage of the LISTSERV Trademark for more details.

All other trademarks, both marked and unmarked, are the property of their respective owners.