LISTSERV® Email Communities Change and Save Lives

The Two Winning Email Lists in L-Soft's LISTSERV Choice Awards – The Mailys – Help People with Cancer, Homeless Dogs

London (February 28, 2012) – Delivering life-changing and even life-saving information to thousands of people are all in a day's work for two award-winning LISTSERV email communities. L-Soft honoured the powerful efforts and profound results of The Kidney Cancer Online Support Group (KIDNEY-ONC) and BELG-L, a community of Belgian Shepherd owners, naming each email list as a grand prize winner in its global LISTSERV Choice Awards – The Mailys – competition.

"LISTSERV and email fulfill a fundamental human need – the need to form communities and share ideas, experiences, joy and pain. People have been doing this for as long as mankind has existed, but LISTSERV removes the barrier of physical distance," says Eric Thomas, L-Soft Founder and CEO who invented LISTSERV in 1986. "When I wrote LISTSERV, I had absolutely no idea that it would save lives ... KIDNEY-ONC and BELG-L embody this use of LISTSERV, which touches me the most."

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of LISTSERV, the software that launched the permission email list industry, L-Soft awarded two grand prize winners in 2011.

"Sometimes we save lives," says KIDNEY-ONC List Owner Robin K. Martinez.

Martinez details an example of one couple that was spurred by the KIDNEY-ONC email community – which connects patients and their loved ones with information, support and empowerment – to get a second opinion from an expert, despite the need for significant travel at their own expense.

"The local doctor had said there was nothing to treat. The expert said, 'Those spots are definitely metastatic kidney cancer' and provided treatments that put the fellow into remission several times over the years," Martinez says.

Martinez notes that this patient's partner was very active on the list, guiding people in their area to the doctors who knew the most and encouraging other list members to be proactive. In turn, his advice helped a nearby man, a husband and father of three, to achieve complete remission.

BELG-L is also a lifesaver – of Belgian Shepherd dogs.

List Owner Libbye Miller describes how: "BELG-L is used almost daily by people involved with rescue to find and identify Belgian Shepherds that may be in pounds. If a dog is found, the word goes out and a list member who is close-by will go and get the dog. Once the dog is out of danger, BELG-L is used to arrange transport to the dog's forever home. Using volunteers assembled via the email list, dogs can be transported across the country at no cost to the rescue organisation."

While saving dogs, the BELG-L email community supports its subscribers, the dog owners themselves: "Most touching are the notes I get from subscribers who, no matter what turmoil and trauma they experience in their everyday life, look forward to their daily dose of BELG-L," says Miller.

"List topics include health, temperament, training, and the adventure of living with these intelligent, active dogs. List members and their Belgians are involved with multiple activities such as herding, tracking, agility, obedience, conformation shows as well as medical service dogs, therapy dogs, protection sports, search and rescue and law enforcement," says Miller. "A lot of our Belgians have multiple jobs in addition to being our much loved family pets. This makes for lively and diverse discussions."

Despite the growth of newer social media, email communities such as BELG-L and KIDNEY-ONC are still going strong. Martinez shares an insight as to why: "With our LISTSERV email exchange, everything is permanently archived and searchable by topic, time frame, sender and many other options. So if I remember one salient point about a KIDNEY-ONC post, even from long ago, I can find it again. The information on the 'talk-based' social media is ephemeral; it can be valuable but may not be easy to locate again if you need it because it's not archived," says Martinez. "Email also offers the immediacy of social media, so to me it's the best of both worlds."

Founded in 1997, KIDNEY-ONC is one of more than 100 LISTSERV email lists hosted by the Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR) and connects some 2000 subscribers in more than a dozen countries, spanning patients with kidney cancer and their caregivers, researchers and healthcare providers, including top kidney cancer experts. The list is a key contributor to the body of knowledge on the disease and the e-patient movement.

BELG-L began in 1995 and currently has some 1400 subscribers representing 16 countries. The list continues to grow, with 150 new subscribers since 2010. Serving as an information network for the worldwide Belgian Shepherd owner community, topics include anything related to the four-variety dog breed.

The award-winning LISTSERV list owners, Miller and Martinez, share tips and best practices for running a successful permission-based email community:

KIDNEY-ONC and BELG-L are the sixth and seventh winners in L-Soft's annual LISTSERV Choice Awards – The Mailys – program, launched in 2004 to recognise the most successful and beneficial LISTSERV email list or LISTSERV Maestro email marketing campaign. The Mailys recognise the positive results that organisations and individuals can achieve using opt-in email list technology and includes public voting to determine the top five finalists for L-Soft jury consideration. The three honourable mention finalists in the 2011 competition are IWETEL, SHOWDOGS-L and WORDS-L. Nominations are now open for the 2012 LISTSERV Choice Awards.

Nominate and Learn More about The Mailys:

View the KIDNEY-ONC case study, "A Subscription for Life":

View the BELG-L case study, "Saving Dogs, Creating Community":

About L-Soft

Incorporated in 1994, L-Soft is the exclusive provider of LISTSERV® email list software, email marketing software and email list hosting services. L-Soft's opt-in email solutions are used to manage email newsletters, announcement lists, discussion groups and email communities, serving more than 100 million list subscriptions worldwide. Invented by L-Soft Founder and CEO Eric Thomas, LISTSERV launched the permission email list communication industry in 1986 and remains the gold standard. L-Soft celebrated the 25th anniversary of LISTSERV in 2011.

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