We are sending out some 50 variants of newsletters everyday to customers and all the images used are stored on AWS infrastructure. Since we pay for every kilobyte stored on AWS, we want to delete the older images that people might not look at anymore. There would be cron job that finds and deletes older images.

But what is the optimal amount of time the images should be retained? A year, two, or five? I couldn't find an article that discusses this and would like to know what is the best practice in the industry.

  • Does the information in the newsletter go out of date? – MrWhite May 15 '13 at 7:26
  • @w3d - Sometimes, yes. There are lists of products, and some may be discontinued after a while. – Nirmal May 15 '13 at 7:37
  • Do you actually page for storage on AWS? IIRC you only pay bandwidth & requests. – DisgruntledGoat May 15 '13 at 17:12
  • @DisgruntledGoat - Yes, AWS charges for storage too. While it's a very little amount every month, it can easily build up. – Nirmal May 22 '13 at 5:20

I don't think there is an optimal time. I have never read anything about it.

How about tracking the last open of a newsletter and deleting images after a month or so! I don't think anyone will be opening a newsletter after 1 or 2 months of sending it. I have a couple of newsletters and 2-3 weeks after sending is the maximum time I have seen a newsletter being opened.

  • 1
    Agreed, a simple measurement could be huge here. – Nick May 21 '13 at 5:03
  • We too found 3 weeks is the maximum. Have set the automatic deletion to be done after 3 months. Thanks for the input, that helped! – Nirmal May 22 '13 at 5:18

There's no optimal time but maybe keep them for a year to be on the safe side.

However, you have 2 other options:

1) Make sure your newsletters will look good and be readable even without the images.

2) Send your images inline inside the emails.

The second option will make the email sending process heavier as it will have to attach the images inside the email but those images will always be available anytime the email is open.

  • 3
    the second option just asks to be blacklisted as spam... just saying. – David K. May 17 '13 at 15:43
  • Looks like you might be right. I found this: stackoverflow.com/questions/7790913/… - but I couldn't find solid data on this. Use with caution then. – Mario Awad May 18 '13 at 10:50

I would start thing on this question by analysing how much important is the information stored; if it's an image related to a campaign that is outdated, then yes, it's safe to be deleted (you can also turn that campaign into a PDF and keep it locally for future reference).

On the other hand, if the newsletter keeps generating income, so the price paid for AWS to maintain it online is more than worth; newsletters are per se temporal, but sometimes that just does not apply. If you find that a newsletter from 5 years ago keeps generating income, so don't touch it; if not, dude, bang it :P

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