Just want to chat? Talk some smack. If it doesn't fit into one of the areas below then you'll be posting here (Note: Please try and find the best section before posting here)

Aweber is crap!

easyrider
Posts: 337
Joined: 25 Jul 10
Trust:

Aweber is crap!

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?
  • 1
Greg
 
PremiumMember
jimcoe
Posts: 398
Joined: 13 Feb 12
Trust:
I quit AWeber and went to MailChimp. Also AWeber was $20 a month and MailChimp is free up to (1,200?) messages per month. I like it a lot.
  • 1
esolutions
Posts: 717
Joined: 28 Apr 09
Trust:
I use GVO and have been extremely happy with the service as it is hosting with autoresponder and other services included (so I don't have to go to several different companies and just use one login).

Still don't understand why others haven't caught on.
  • 1
List not growing fast enough?
Get More Opt Ins:
http://mattgreener.com/view/arfree
 
Site Admin
jonathan_l
Posts: 121
Joined: 15 Nov 10
Trust:
@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")

Greg,

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.
  • 2
PremiumMember
jimcoe
Posts: 398
Joined: 13 Feb 12
Trust:
Thanks for the warning Jonathan. I know better, but don't always read the TOS thoroughly.

Personally, I use MailChimp as a vendor of info products, not as an affiliate. So for me it's good.
  • 2
Last edited by jimcoe on 31 Jan 13 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
 

easyrider
Posts: 337
Joined: 25 Jul 10
Trust:
Jonathon, one of the gremlins I have encountered is the difficulty selecting and copying text in an Aweber message. Quite often I will go "select all" and then try to copy the thing but then the text disappears (and often the copy button also disappears) and I have to try again. Often it seems to be better to manually select all the text.

Occasionally also when I do seem to have been successful in selecting and copying text, when I try to paste it into a new message in another list, it does not paste that. Instead it pastes the previous thing that I copied. So what I have to do is paste the thing somewhere else (eg. Microsoft Word) and then paste from Word into the new message.

Another annoying thing is that sometimes it just flat out refuses to hyperlink anything, unless you paste it from outside. Also, if you paste something hyperlinked from Microsoft Word into the HTML form, the hyperlink blue colour seems to be a lot darker than the colour of a hyperlink created within Aweber (and this carries through to the appearance in the email that people receive). Furthermore, sometimes with a hyperlink it is underlined and other times it is not. I have not found a way to make this consistent. In the text message form, for some reason it does not hyperlink my email address in the actual email sent out and I don't know how to fix this. You also have to be careful when modifying hyperlinks in the HTML form. If you just change it in the visual editor all you do is change the text displayed. It still sends it to the old address. You have to manually go into the HTML editor and make the change there, or delete the thing altogether in the visual mode and paste or type in a new version (if it will let you!!!). Another thing that you have to be careful about is that if you paste in a new hyperlink address over the top of the old one, all you will do is change the text - the address remains the same. What you have to do is first delete it and then paste the new one in.

Also, here is an email I sent to Aweber support detailing other problems:

Hi

I have found Aweber incredibly frustrating. The formatting of the messages takes a lot longer than it needs to with various bugs in the system and the fact that when you change some of your text you have to alter every line of the paragraph to make look right (since the text does not automatically refit itself as with word processors like Microsoft Word).

Secondly, the formatting of the web forms is very inflexible. For example, you can't wrap text around an image; there are not enough font size options; for most of the templates you can't reformat the text of the submit button; you can't pick up and move elements of the form to make them fit better (eg. move the image up).

There are also numerous bugs with the webforms, especially in formatting text. For example, I pasted in a new bullet point in the footer and on the webform it showed a blank line between that and the next bullet point, but on the editor it showed no blank line and I had to play around with it a lot to get it to look right. Also regarding the footer, I used the font Trebuchet MS and on the Firefox brower (but not IE8) every letter 'w' came out as if the toner on a printer was starting to run out (the letters were faded) - I had to choose another font as a result. Moreover, there was a problem with the set of bullet points in that when I inserted the webform into Wordpress there was a blank line between each, which did not appear on Aweber. I have found no way to eliminate this blank line and it is a problem because this causes my bullet points to make the webform bigger than the page (as a lightbox) - especially since I cannot compact other elements of the form (eg. the image) as noted above. I realize that this may not be Aweber's fault, but it is still a major integration issue considering the fact that Wordpress is now a very popular tool.

Furthermore, when I used this webform as a lightbox, for some of the settings (eg. how frequently it shows and how long the delay) the lightbox completely rather than partially darkened the rest of the window in IE8. I had to play around with it and extensively test to get what I wanted.

All of these issues have meant that what should have taken a relatively small amount of time has taken many hours. At this moment I am left to reconsider whether Aweber is the right choice for me.

Regards.

Greg
  • 1
Greg
 
Site Admin
jonathan_l
Posts: 121
Joined: 15 Nov 10
Trust:
Hello Greg,

To each of your points, where I can address them:

I'm afraid I don't quite follow with your description of the copy behaviour. When you say you "Select All", is there something you click on?

Regarding Hyperlinks: the behaviour you describe is the same for just about every HTML editor, and I'm afraid isn't something you'll fix by using a different email provider. AWeber uses a fairly stock-standard HTML editor.

Regarding not hyperlinking your email in the text form - any hyperlinking in the text-only version of your email is entirely under the control of the email program that receives it. For example, Thunderbird, Outlook, and GMail will all detect hyperlinks in a text-only message, and hyperlink it. Email addresses are hit and miss. There is no solution to this, except to use an HTML message, and AWeber (nor any mail provider) has any control over this.


If I may suggest: never ever use Word as an intermediary for HTML messages; this is the case with any autoresponder system that has an HTML editor - when you copy from Word, you copy a lot of hidden HTML which messes up formatting tremendously. This is almost certainly the reason why "Aweber links" are different colours to your "Word links". Instead, copy your word document into a plain text editor (such as Notepad or Notepad++ on Windows, or TextEdit or TextMate on Mac), then into AWeber, and do all the formatting in AWeber.


Regarding text 'refitting' - the behaviour you're describing that word has is auto-wrapping, and is not something many email providers give. However, the good news is that, if you need to have the text
wrapped and prepared for an email message, Affilorama has a free tool that does this: Just copy in
the text, tell the tool how wide you want it formatted, and let it do its thing!

==> http://www.affilorama.com/free-tools/text-formatter

Regarding the webforms - yes, I largely concur on this front - the forms are a wee bit inflexible, and I tend to avoid using them at all. In fact, we've picked up on this internally with our development of the new AffiloTheme, and developed a feature which lets you use nicer looking forms which still integrate with AWeber. Unfortunately the new AffiloTheme is not yet available, and I'm not really sure of an alternative/better solution right at this moment (I wonder if anyone else can recommend better opt-in forms which integrate with AWeber)


It sounds like most of the behaviour you've just described is, in fact, not really an AWeber problem but an inherent problem with the nature of HTML editors and email (except for that copy/paste problem, and those web forms). Unfortunately, in most cases it's not something that you'll be able to solve by migrating somewhere else.
  • 2
easyrider
Posts: 337
Joined: 25 Jul 10
Trust:
Jonathon, when I talk about "select all" I mean right clicking and choosing the "select all" option.

Regarding not using Word as an intermediary, I usually don't. I usually paste into Notepad and then into Aweber. However, on the occasion that i talked about I wasn't able to get the hyperlinks to work by pasting them from Notepad. The only way to get them to work was by pasting directly from Word. I could not see any other options.

If most of this is an issue with HTML editors then they need some serious development work. Some of the problems with them are just crazy.

On another topic, regarding the new Affilotheme, can you please fix the homepage duplication problem that I have posted on. With the current Affilotheme you have to select the home page as one of your articles, which means that there will be two copies of it. Google does not like this for obvious reasons.

Anyway, thanks for your comments and the link to the text formatter.
  • 1
Greg
 
Site Admin
cecille.l
Posts: 6963
Joined: 25 Feb 11
Trust:
Hi Greg,

Jonathan has responded wonderfully to your inquiry. I would like to add that you might consider GetResponse if you are truly thinking of replacing Aweber. Their service costs just a wee bit less and they have a free trial too. I've tried them and they're ok but personally, not that big of a difference with the interface and forms. Again, they do have a free trial so no harm checking them out since you are still subscribed to Aweber.

Have a good day!
  • 1
Cecille


Step by step guide to "Penguin-proofed" sites : www.affilorama.com/affiloblueprint


Add us on Google Plus: http://www.affilorama.com/googleplus
 
PremiumMember
jmpruitt
Posts: 4723
Joined: 19 Jun 09
Trust:
I have used aweber myself since I started and haven't had much problems. usually I just use plain text though, not the HTML versions. Honestly, I get better responses with them from my list.

Also, are you using the old Aweber HTML editor or the new one? they have a new one that is REALLLY buggy because it is in beta testing. if you are using that one, it may be why it isn't working for you.
  • 1
Your Focus Determines Your Reality
 
chippystubbs
Posts: 3
Joined: 05 Apr 12
Trust:
I'm with jmpruitt on this one ^

I've used aweber for about a year now and have never had any problems. In fact I love it. I find the interface very user friendly, the inbox rates are high and there's a tonne of stats and features. It might be a bit more than some of the other email marketing providers but you get what you pay for IMO.
  • 1
A review of my favorite WordPress theme:
http://www.shopperpressreview.com/
 
easyrider
Posts: 337
Joined: 25 Jul 10
Trust:
I didn't know there was any different HTML editors available. I just use the one that comes up when you click on create a new message. To me, the HTML editor creates more attractive messages because you can add bold text and different colours etc.

Anyway, I have found ways around the problems eg. paste into the text version first and then make damn sure you've got it right first time when you paste into the HTML editor.
  • 1
Greg
 
PremiumMember
gradyp
Posts: 1062
Joined: 28 Jun 09
Trust:
Like James, I have used Aweber for some time. I'd agree with Jonathan that any word processor (MS Word, Wordperfect, Open Office, Wordpad) should be avoided when developing content because they usually contain "hidden" codes that tend not to get translated very well. Notepad, on the other hand, is a plain text editor and perfect for creating content you intend to copy/paste into webforms.

Even better is the one I use called Notepad++. Originally developed for Linux, it has since been ported to other operating systems and is much more powerful than the notepad program that comes with Windows. Notepad++ is open source and available as a download from Sourceforge.com. It comes with the ability to do "visual coding" for several programming languages (including HTML) and can be enhanced with plug-ins like spell check and one called TextFX that includes a word count feature. If I'm not creating content for my site directly in the webform, I usually create it in Notepad++.
  • 2
Have questions about creating images? Want an image created for you? Check out my site at www.GradyPruitt.com/welcome-affilorama-friends
 
kadamvv
Posts: 4
Joined: 08 Jan 13
Trust:
Hi,

I suggest you try outsourcing the entire newsletter activity at 30% of the cost you incur, with not compromise on the analytics or results. Check www.knowledgeworkz.com

reg,
kadam



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?
  • 0
swordsedge89
Posts: 50
Joined: 24 Jan 13
Trust:
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")

Greg,

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.


Informative post
  • 0

This topic was started on Apr 02, 2012 and has been closed due to inactivity. If you want to discuss this topic further, please create a new forum topic.