easyrider wrote:I have recently signed up to Aweber and found it to be the most infuriating piece of software that I have ever to paid to use. It has got so many bugs in it, that I dread every time that I have to create anything with it - especially a new message. The formatting deserves a special mention - it is just plain terrible. You have to play around with it for ages to get anything to look right - especially for HTML messages.
A classic example is that each time I paste a drafted message into the HTML editor window from Wordpad, the blank line between the first and second paragraphs disappears in the actual email message that gets sent out (even though it still appears in the editor window). To fix the problem you have to backspace and then push enter twice to recreate the blank line. However, like a wave the problem then shifts onwards to the blank line between the second and third paragraphs (it too gets removed). When you fix that, the blank line between the third and fourth paragraphs disappears. So to cut a long story short you have to go through the whole email and do the backspace and two enters between each paragraph ... aaarrrrggghhhhhh!!!!
There are also a lot of random gremlins in the system the cause havoc.
So guys, are there any better autoresponders out there?
jonathan_l wrote:@Jim: Just a heads up on MailChimp - while it is a superior solution to AWeber imo, their terms of service explicitly prohibit the service being used by affiliate marketers (Section 11-f on http://mailchimp.com/legal/terms/ - or just do a search for "Affiliate")
Sorry to hear you're having difficulties with AWeber. What's concerning is that most alternatives (barring, perhaps, MailChimp) are actually *worse* (I know, I had to do an investigation in-house, because we were wondering if there were any better solutions out there).
I am curious, though, what sort of random gremlins you encounter - for the most part, we've managed to wrangle AWeber to work for us, and I *might* be able to give you a few pointers or the like to sort out some of your issues.
For your benefit, here's who I looked into, and a summary of why we didn't like them:
(Sorry, I haven't provided links, you'll just need to Google)
-- Fully contained, hosted online --
- Campaign Monitor: Actually, this one's pretty good. About the only thing it doesn't do, which is why we didn't choose it, is list exclusion (e.g. send to all members of list A, except if they're also on list B). Free to try, doesn't cost until you actually send something.
- Elastic Email: Easy to use, but no autoresponders, very very limited
- Vertical Response: Has a free trial, but emails are individually reviewed by VR, and retain branding.
- Constant Contact: Free trial but I found the interface buggy, you only have one shared autoresponder across all lists (which makes no sense at all), and a *really* weird editor (you think AWeber is bad!?)
- iContact: Reasonable, but a very busy/unintuitive interface. Free 30-day trial.
- dotMailer: Not sure why I didn't like this. I think I hated the interface. Has a free 30-day trial.
- GetResponse: Okay, provides some useful free stuff with your subscription, but uses weird terminology (e.g. they call a list a "campaign")
We also investigated self-hosted (ie something we have to install on our own servers). This isn't something you'll usually look into, unless you are a huge affiliate and/or send a lot of email (like we do):
- Lyris Listmanager: Powerful, but very 90s, and requires Oracle Database
- Active Campaign: Okay. It's optin/optout process and autoresponders make absolutely no sense though.
- Interspire: This is the solution we chose. It does 80% of what we want, and seems very much like it was designed in '05. It's also very slow sometimes. Fortunately, we can modify the code to add features that we need.
- phpList: Hahaha no.
- Dada mail: See previous comment
- Arial Campaign Enterprise: Windows based software, not ideal at all.
- AJ Email Marketer: Unfortunately their sales department was very unresponsive. Based on this alone I wouldn't recommend the software
- Omnistar Mailer: Very buggy.
- Autoresponse Plus: Designed for autoresponders, can't do broadcasts.
- Octeth Email Marketing Pro: Very nice to use, a little weird in some ways but mostly intuitive. Missing up-to-date documentation, though. Code is modifiable. This was actually my first choice, but we went with Interspire.
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