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Auto FollowUp Script by
(c) 2000-2002 Jason Silver

Thanks to Mark Brookes for some installation revisisions.

Thanks for Registering!

The Auto FollowUp Script automates the process of following up with customers.
Report any bugs to

Jason Silver


How It Works:

Visitors to your web-site choose to provide their email address when they
complete a form. For example: Customers must enter their email before seeing
your credit card page. This email is automatically added to a database.

The script regularly checks through this database and sends unlimited
sequential follow up letters at the interval you specify.

Users may opt-in and opt-out of this script and database easily.

Users may opt to have their email added to the mailing list automatically.

Installation Overview:
NOTE: If you are updating your script, simply replace the new script(s),
but DO NOT replace the variables.cgi or users.cgi files. Doing so will
erase your settings.

Copying files to your web site
1. Setting some options at the beginning of the auto_followup file
2. Setting some options at the beginning of the followup_admin file
3. Setting some options at the beginning of the run file
4. Using FTP to upload the files
5. Setting permissions on the files
6. Create a directory on your server for follow up letters.

Configuring the AutoFollowUp scripts
7. Global Settings
8. Create an Individual product/autoresponder
9. Setting the code which causes follow-up emails to be sent

Products/Autoresponders setup
10. Product Main Page - Settings
11. Product Main Page - Edit Letters
12. The 'Writing Letter Number ##' screen

Here's How!

1. Using a text editor like textpad, or notepad, open the script
The only thing to do is to change the path to perl so that it's
configured for your server.
It's usually:

2. Using a text editor like textpad, or notepad, open the script
Change the path to perl so that it's configured for your server.
It's usually:

3. also has an option to lock the file during sending. This keeps multiple
copies of the same letter from going out on heavily traffic sites. If you
experience problems with the script not working set this variable to zero.

4. Use an FTP program like WS_FTP or CuteFTP (just some examples I'm aware of) and
upload the files to your server's cgi-bin.

In the downloaded zip file some files are in a folder called 'tinymce'. When you
extracted them you may have used the option to 'extract to folders' in which case
they are easy to find. FTP all the files in this folder to a folder in the
root/public folder of your web site

The HTMLAREA folder should go in the root, accessable from the web, and not
in the CGI-BIN. These files will benefit Windows-browsers users only, on Internet
Explorer 5.1 or greater. It creates a WYSIWYG environment when drafting HTML letters.

Other files extracted from the downloaded zip file should be FTP'd to a directory
on your web site eg cgi-bin or cgi-bin/AFU. (Your hosting company may have
rules about where you must store .cgi/.pl files)

(The script should automatically create users_file.cgi and the variables.cgi
file, but if you have any problems, you can upload these two files and CHMOD them

Directory structure:
/tinmce/(all of these files)

5. Set permissions (CHMOD) as follows

on the three ".pl" files so they are executable. (755).
The owner should be able read, write, and execute.
The group should be able to read, and execute.
Also, other should be able to read, and execute.

on the variables.cgi file to 777.
The owner should be able read, write, and execute.
The group should be able to read, write and execute.
Also, other should be able to read, write, and execute.

6. Create a directory on your server for follow up letters.
(eg AFU-Letters)
CHMOD this directory 777.
The owner should be able read, write, and execute.
The group should be able to read, write, and execute.
Also, other should be able to read, write, and execute.

This folder should be a sub-folder of wherever you
have stored the main script files

EXAMPLE server folders
"root/public" ------index.html -> main home page
---/followup_letters (must match the variable 7.a.7)
---/other folders off "root/public" folder
---/images (e.g.)


7. Global Settings

From a browser, open the script

a. Verify the [default/suggested] paths and settings in the next screen, then click save.
1. the path, not the url to where your followup letters will be stored.
2. the path, not the url to where you want the product database to be stored.
3. the path, not the url to where you want the users file to be stored
(for administrators and users who will log in)
4. Your name, or the default name for users (ex: Your Name is a good default.)
5. Your email, or a default looking email such as
6. The default number of days between send outs. You can customise this for
each autoresponder and each letter later.
7. The URL to the deault thank you page, or order page.
* This is a page you write for yourself. You may want to create a new one
just for autoresponder uses. (eg AFUthankyouGeneral.html)
* This can be different for each autoresponder later.
(eg AFUthankyouProduct1.html, AFUthankyouProduct2.html)
* Don't forget to write the thank-you page(s) and FTP them to your web-site.
8. The URL to the followup script (not the admin script) including the name of
the script.
9. The full body tag, which appears at the top of your pages on both scripts.
10. The path to your server's mail program (SENDMAIL).
11. The maximum number of emails to go out at once. If this is too high, the
reaction time of the redirect page will be long, especially for large databases.
[ on my copy the default emails was 10]
The more emails the script needs to send, the longer it will take to
load this image. You might want to set your email limit to something
small, like 10-100. The default is 50. You'll find this number in
the variables.cgi. If the image is at the bottom of your page, no one
will notice that it's still loading after the page is opened.
12. The path, not the url to the mailing list text file.
13. The name you want to use for your mailing lists, such as 'autoresponders',
'products', 'lists', etc.

b. Once you click the "save" button
you will be shown the Administartor registration page.
Name = This does not have to be the same as the variable setting above (field 4)
Password = set one you can remember

c. Refresh your browser, then log in as this administrator using your newly created


d. Log in: Trouble/issue
If you have difficulty with double logons, open the Admin script and set
the $use_cookies to equal 0. For a more secure option, update your browser to IE6
or greater and set the $use_cookies to equal 1.

8. Create an Individual product/autoresponder/automailing

a. Add a product (autoresponder, automailing)

b. click the product name and then add some letters.

c. click Generate HTML Code to make a form for your autoresponder.
Copy this HTML code to a web page on your web site. Site visitors can use
this form to join the particular product's autoresponder.

The HTML code generated includes formatting as a table/box. Here is an
example of the HTML code for the form which feeds data that you want
AutoFollowUp to process:

<form action="" method="post" align="left">
<input type="hidden" name="product" value="test-optin">
<input type="hidden" name="remind" value="ON">
<input type="hidden" name="redirect" value="">
<input name="name" size="20" value="x_first last">
<input name="email" size="20" value="">

optional fields:
<input type=text name=field1 value="eg_description">
<input type=text name=field2 value="eg_shoppingCartCode">
<input type=text name=field3 value="eg_transactionNumber">
<input type=text name=field4 value="eg_currency">
<input type=text name=field5 value="eg_amount">

<input type="checkbox" name="newsletter" value="ON" checked>
<input type="submit" value="Submit""><br>

Automatically adding a record
Although this is technically possible with this software
it is your responsibility to only use the ability to
automatically submit a web-site visitor's information
in appropriate (non spam) circumstances.

Your web site may have already collected (and retained) all
the information which you want to appear in your AFU emails, for
example in a shopping cart or a completed purchase transaction.
You can add the data to an AFU product-list directly (without
needing the visitor to re-enter the data to a form) by
automatically sending the data to the program.

If we assume that your website is holding the data in variables
with example names such as "$_name" and "$_email" and "$_field1"
etc. then the form that the automatic submission to should take is:
&field2=$_shopping CartCode

For clarity each element has been shown on separate lines
but when used all elements must be on a single line.

* You might operate the above using a link on one of your web
pages (perhaps your 'thank you for buying' page.
<a href="
&field1=$_description&field2=$_shopping CartCode&field3=
&newsletter=ON>Click to subscribe to free follow-up
customer support information</a>

* Or you might use an IMG tag
&field1=$_description&field2=$_shopping CartCode&field3=

9. Setting the code which causes follow-up emails to be sent

The script executes the sending of letters and displays a one pixel image.
This tiny picture is invisible.
Place the graphic on your home page like this:
<img src="cgi-bin/">
Put it somewhere near the bottom of your page.

This will work if your cgi-bin folder is one level down from the web page
from which visitors complete the autoresponder form.

If your AFU scripts are anywhere else in your folder structure you will
need to change the path
eg: relative - ../../cgifiles/
eg: absolute - http://www.mydomain/AFU/cgifiles/

10. Product Main Page - Settings

Here is a definition of the check boxes on the Product's Main Page:

** Add unsubscribe link: This adds a link at the bottom of emails to be removed from the list.

** Send report to admin: Checking this will cause the admin email address to be
sent reports on mailouts and sign ins.

** Add members to newsletter: If you have a text file with email addresses on your server,
checking this will add to this text file. The file path is in the variables.cgi

** Purge record after all letters sent: Checking this will remove the email-address
and name after the last letter is sent.

** Rotate record to resend after all sent: Checking this will cause the list to be cyclical.
After the last letter is received the client is cycled through to the first letter

** Redirect after registration: this is the url of the thankyou.html page which you
set earlier.
** You can change the thankyou.html page for this specific product by editing the
url in the box. Dont forget to finish by clicking the 'save changes' button.
** You can change the global setting either by clicking on the 'globals' button
and saving any changes you make. Or by directly editing the variables.cgi file.

** Incremental Number: ___________________________

11. Product Main Page - Edit Letters

Here is an explanation of the 'Edit Letters' options on the Product's Main Page:

** Save Intervals: You can specify different delay times for each letter (from the date
of the previous letter).

** Add A New Letter:

** The 'Writing Letter Number ##' screen appears
** To send HTML messages, check the HTML check button and then follow the
instructions on the create letter page.

12. The 'Writing Letter Number ##' screen

To include additional fields, such as phone, fax, age, etc., add the following tags to
your form:
<input type=text name=field1>
<input type=text name=field2>
<input type=hidden name=field3 value="referred by 1002">

Include this information in your letters using the keys: [FIELD1] and [FIELD2].
You may use up to FIVE special fields. You must manually insert the HTML code as
generating the HTML automatically does not do it.

11. You can move or copy names from one list to another. To do so, go to the url:

...where product is the list you're moving FROM and newlistname is the list you're
moving TO.

12. The script is an additional script which allows you to send to
everyone on your list at once. It has a separate opt-in and opt-out. You can
include a checkbox for 'newsletter' to allow your users to add themselves to it
when they sign into the autoresponders for various products.

Alternatively you can include it as a hidden field and automatically
subscribe them.

This script is available from for a small extra fee.

13. Using Text Files as Confirmation Pages

If your confirmation page is a text file with the extension .txt, then when
Auto FollowUp calls the page, it will look through it for variables to replace
before it displays it in a browser.

The variables that are available are whatever is sent to the form upon submission.
Unless you add custom variables to your form, the standard ones are as follows:

You can use this to place custom thanks, to call special stats information, and
similar things.
To include a variable, separate it with two percent signs, as follows:
Variables which have no content will be removed.


If you have trouble initiating the script, try uploading a text file called variables.cgi
to your CGI-BIN and CHMOD it to 777. Then run the admin script.

You may also need to do this for:
* your users file and y
* our product data file.
The paths to these two files are the first lines in your variables.cgi.

If you have trouble with DOUBLE LOG IN screens, then your browser isn't handling the
cookies properly. You'll need to open the Admin script and set the $use_cookies = 0;


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