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My exit interview with MailChimp and why I’ll send a million emails a year with a new ESP

This part of the post was published February 4th, 2019

 

We blog about pet bird care all original G rated content plus usually a “parrots in the news” currated post.

 

File under “you’ve been warned”

 

I wrote this note to our readers 2/1/19 about 11:30 PM CST

 

A zygodactyl footnote from mitchr.

 

Approximately 30 minutes prior to sending this Birdie Brunch out, the following message popped up in MailChimp

 

“Our automated abuse-prevention system, Omnivore, has detected an action or content in your account that may be in violation of our Acceptable Use Policy.

For more information on these violations, please review our Acceptable Use Policy”.

 

MailChimp indicated that this issue could not be resolved until Monday during normal business hours.

 

For our faithful subscribers and anybody new who reads our emails or blog knows that the content we have been producing online for the past 17 years is suitable for a child.

 

The children running social media platforms like MailChimp, Facebook and Twitter need to stop disrespecting Thomas Jefferson and the First Amendment.

 

This Birdie Brunch comes courtesy (and a monthly fee) of GetResponse.com whose 24/7 support onboarded me at 5:00 AM CST Saturday, February 2, 2019.

 

We will not allow stupid to stand in our way of providing you best pet bird care information found anywhere.

 

Thank you

 

End of note

 

That Sunday email doubles our retail sales each week.

 

If I had wrapped everything up to three or four in the afternoon like I had done the previous week – I would’ve never seen the message and lost quite a bit of money.

 

I took a nap, woke up at 2 AM seeking an ESP to white list my 22,000 email addresses, on a Saturday.

 

I started searching for ESP’s getting a “no response” or no problem we’ll get back to you on Monday” from 8 companies.

 

At 4:30 AM on Saturday morning I started chatting with support at GetResponse – who helped me on board by 5.

 

For the next two hours, I meticulously migrated the content from MailChimp to GetResponse by hand using a blank template (as always) and about 7:30 AM I deployed the brunch using their time zone agnostic framework.

 

I had written a divorcing MailChimp blog post a while back that I will now update because the divorce is clearly final.

 

Starting today I’ll be filing chargebacks going back 6 – 12 months with PayPal

 

As a 15 year customer of PayPal, I should get a quick $1000 at the very least

 

My response to Mailchimp was (Friday night) was:

 

Why on gods green earth am I receiving a message from your automated abuse-prevention system – I’m sending 100% original content about pet bird care?

 

At 11:48 this morning (Monday, Feb 4, 2019), I received a response from MailChimp

 

Hi Mitch,

 

Thanks for reaching out to us regarding your account status, and we apologize for the delay in response.

 

Our automated abuse prevention system, Omnivore, detected content, keywords, or activity that can indicate the possibility of harmful information being sent through our service.

 

Upon review, however, we can see that the account is fine and as a result has been reinstated for continued sending. At this point, you should be good to go.

 

Please keep in mind that as a strictly permission based service, Mailchimp can only support sending to subscribers who have directly subscribed to your mailing list through a confirmable process (i.e. in writing), or directly purchased a product/service from you in the last 12 months. Additionally, if permission was given more than a year ago, then a bulk email must have been sent to them and not objected to within the past 12 months.

 

We also like to recommend checking out this article to see how to avoid common compliance concerns:

 

About Compliance for Email Marketing: http://eepurl.com/cTMOFb

 

We appreciate your patience and cooperation during our review.

 

If you have any other questions, feel free to let us know.

 

BTW when Tumblr enforced its porn ban, dinosaurs and fat people also were also deleted (google it)

 

This part of the post was published January 4th, 2018

 

Why I am leaving MailChimp after 6 years

 

I’ve been blogging since 2007 occasionally sending out an email here there back then.

 

I accelerated my blogging around 2010 but not knowing any better throwing up 100 – 200 words with a couple of pictures seemed to be all you needed.

 

Although the mantra today seems to be content is king by the time 2012 rolled around I began to see the merits of seriously blogging and started emailing weekly.

 

I never missed a week but I would vary the days the times our email deployed and it was usually heavily laden with marketing messages.

 

While I was struggling to increase my opens and clicks I began to realize that people really wanted information especially in our niche which is captive birds.

 

We migrated our website  including our blog which was on the hosted platform 3-D cart as it was slowly degrading.this was in August of 2016

 

Because we didn’t have access to the blog database on 3dCart I hired two offshore and one onshore contractor to migrate our thousand plus blog posts 

 

Each post was placed into a Google doc and then moved into our new WordPress blog.

 

Today we’re at about 1.25 million words on the blog (I get verbose when I drink and blog).

 

Is never easy to come up with fresh content on a weekly basis and a strong case has been made to leverage evergreen content these days.

 

For the past three months, I started on page 53 in the back of WordPress looking at everything that we’ve written since day one.

 

Crappy little posts with 100 or 200 words and outdated advertisements got deleted and redirected to more relevant posts.

 

Other relevant posts that just didn’t have enough content 250 to 300 words, got blended into a larger post of the thousand and 2500 word range.

 

The original posts got deleted redirected to the “new” larger posts.

 

Between that and my schedule of writing fresh content weekly, I’ve been able to send out a single email once a week for the past 322 weeks.

 

Because I got tired of hearing the term “newsletter” which sounded a little stiff we branded ourselves by calling our weekly email the Birdie brunch.

 

We add pictures of brunch buffets and great plated meals

 

We now deploy out at 7 AM using MailChimp’s time warp which allows delivery to inboxes at the same time regardless of time zone.

 

So when you get an email from us you’ll get it every Sunday morning at 7 AM regardless of where you are on the planet.

 

We’ve been using MailChimp as our ESP since August 2012. It seemed fine for a few years. Whenever you had a problem you contact support being on a paid plan a response was prompt in a solution was found.

 

In the past six months out of 11 tickets that I have opened with MailChimp support,I’ve gotten only one response indicating that they are closing a ticket.

 

I tried live chat but the conversation degraded when I was told that my site was coded wrong and apparently I was the only site of 8 million MailChimp customers that had this particular problem – which is always a red flag.

 

What are some of the issues that I’ve been experiencing?

 

Email templates nolonger responsive. Images don’t change size on desktop tablet nor mobile.

 

The link that enables the user to view the email in a browser is still HTTP not https.

 

There are times when I am pushing out the emails at the last minute and the MailChimp email template stopped being responsive in the MailChimp platform so that I’m scrolling back and forth across 2000 pixels trying to put together content and images.

 

We lost the ability to post videos in the email for about 6 months

 

I don’t expect a lot for $150 a month (22,000 plus subscribers and $17.25 tax added 1/1/19) but I do expect a response now and then.

 

About 16 months ago we migrated to Zen cart and bought the “ChimpChamp” module from one vendor who claimed to be the developer but was unable to install the module.

 

We were refunded and bought the module from a second vendor who claimed to be the developer but ignored more than a dozen emails seeking integration help with MailChimp.

 

Thus our $400 investment has laid dormant and we have no automation. I

 

reached out to one of our team members who actually worked for the second developer but has been unable to get chimp champ to work between MailChimp in Zen Cart.

 

This is one of many reasons were leaving Zen cart moving to Woocommerce but that’s a whole other story.

 

If customers can’t read emails, we lose them and as all of you know new email address acquisition is one of the toughest things you can do as an SMB.

 

As far as I’m concerned MailChimp’s lack of concern is inexcusable.

 

I’ve now begun a search for a suitable replacement. I started with the other big dog on the block Constant Contact.

 

I filled out the forms and may or may not have created an account but they had enough information to contact me, which they did.

 

Brandon from Constant Contact introduces himself on the phone last week.

 

I explained my issues with MailChimp and related to him that we were moving to WooCommerce using WordPress as our CMS.

 

File under you can’t make this sh*t up

 

Brandon said “that’s great because Constant Contact owns WordPress.

 

We also own Bluehost which is part of WordPress”

 

So I’m new to this whole web thing I’ve only been a webmaster for 15 years and operate currently 12 WordPress sites. I’m pretty familiar with owns WordPress and I asked Brandon “then who is Automattic?”

 

He didn’t know – I asked him who owns Jet Pack and WooCommerce – he had heard of neither.

 

The conversation ended with my typical nicety, unfortunately, words spewef from a biker that can’t be used in prime time.

 

But wait there’s more

 

This guy calls back from constant contact, speaks to my wife and threatens to “blacklist us”

 

I asked my wife if I could speak to him but he hung up too quickly.

 

written by nitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing

 

2 thoughts on “My exit interview with MailChimp and why I’ll send a million emails a year with a new ESP”

  1. Hi, mitch, I have been on your site for years but can no longer log into site,
    can you help? I still have wonderful pictures of Popcorn in my mind and her story which is sad.
    [email protected] is my email that I wish to use. you will have to help me set a password
    for a new acct with you. I love th4e budgies and ring neck. I fell in love with a purple a few years ago. I still have my first budgie :Tweedle sky blue pied age 13 and still has lots of spunk!!!! We also had/have English budgies, but in smaller numbers You used to carry an edible cream for minor scrapes ==no petroleum–very healthy!!!The changes to your site have my mind spinning. At 72 I am unable to keep up with the cloud!!!! So I need to keep it simple. The greed and speed chasers are inhuman Like the BORG!!!! they do not even recognize people like my humble self!!! Any way can you help??? thank you Jo Ann Boyle

  2. So funny – in the reading, anyway. Living it must have been a sweaty, tum churning time. Good for all of us you kept your perspective and soldiered on.

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