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New trick makes SPAMs look special

A new tool will let marketers send email that appears unique to the recipient.

Public relations and marketing executives now have a tool to email to thousands of people at the same time, each piece personalized so that the recipients will think they're the only ones getting it.

Alpha Software has created a program that provides mail merge functions for email. NetMailer lets the sender customize the header and body of email messages much like word-processor programs can merge the body of a letter with information from a database.

NetMailer takes the information from its own contact manager, which can import data from other databases and then send custom messages without revealing who else has received them. A company spokesperson said the software could be used to send a customized list of events to members or a newsletter could notify subscribers when their payments are due. Alphasoft points out that NetMailer can't receive messages, so regular email programs will still be needed.

The beta version of NetMailer for Windows is available now for free downloading. The final version is set to ship in July priced less than $100. A 32-bit version for Windows 95 will follow shortly, according to the company. Alphasoft also plans to release a NetMailer Server for Windows NT that will allow faster processing of large mailings.

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