Wednesday, September 10, 2008

GMail Combined With Mail-to-Blogger

The Mail-to-Blogger feature of Blogger has intrigued me for a while. It's a neat way to get people to send email to your blog, and can even be used to have more than 100 named individuals publish to a private blog. But there are several limitations that have always bothered me.

  • If you give a common MTB address out to everybody, and one misguided person abuses it, you have to change the MTB address, and pass out the new address to all but the abuser. And everybody has to change their email address for MTB.
  • Explaining to everybody that they need to use a "blogger.com" email address, and worse, one of the form "xxxxxxxx.yyyyyy@blogger.com", is not user friendly.
  • Of course, you can setup everybody as individual authors, go through the invite / accept membership process, and everybody can setup their own MTB address (and you get to hope that you can instruct everybody how to set that up without somebody making a mistake), but there's the 100 author limit again.


So let's add a component into the posting process - GMail.
  • Setup a GMail account, and filtering rules for each person that you want emailing to your blog.
  • Give everybody the GMail address ("whatever@gmail.com").
  • If anybody offends you, setup a filter with their email address, to drop their posts into the trash.
  • Forward the incoming email to the MTB address, using the GMail filter. Your blog authors never know about MTB, just "Send your posts to this email address.". Your blog authors never have to be disturbed if you filter one of them out. You can filter, given a moments notice.
  • Since you can have multiple accounts with blog author membership, you could even have a pair of MTB accounts, one with ability to post drafts, the other with ability to post immediately to the blog. The former gives you post moderation ability. You can, selectively, forward email from some blog authors to post as Drafts; and email from others, whom you trust, can be forwarded to post immediately. And you can move specific authors from one group to the other, with no trouble.
  • Manage your blog authors from GMail, and a much easier to use author list (the GMail filter list).


The one downside here is you'll have to pick a unique GMail address, and one that's easy for your blog authors to remember. But, you may be able to improve on that.

If your blog is published to a custom domain, you can setup and use an email address in the domain, which gives you complete control over the mailbox name (the "xxxxxxx" in "xxxxxxx@yourdomain.com"). GMail, again, is the interface for custom domain based email (aka Google Apps domains), and has the same filtering and forwarding ability.

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2 comments:

Hamidur said...

I am trying to implement mail2blogger in my blog using your suggestion. But the problem is that when a post is published by a guest,it is showing my name as an author. Is there any way,I can change author name in posted by ?

Chuck said...

Hamidur,

Guests, using your MTB address, will post under your name. You have to give each guest actual membership in the blog, and let them setup their own MTB addresses.