Aweber Wrongly Accuses Dietitians of Spamming

I have always spoken highly of Aweber and have referred numerous clients to them. I’m afraid I have to retract my recommendation of this email service provider. I just spent a good part of today & yesterday dealing with an absurd email list management issue. An email from Aweber notified my client that as of immediately, verified double opt-in will be mandatory for their entire account.

Aweber Wrongly Accuses Dietitians of Spamming

The email goes on to explain that they “have been receiving numerous complaints regarding your specific account.” I found this comment to be absolutely ridiculous. As a nutrition community run by healthcare professionals, my client has never sent out any spam. Why am I sure of this? Because I manage all of their marketing initiatives. All newsletter subscribers signup to receive nutrition tips in the form of a newsletter. Their founder is a well-respected dietitian and frequently appears on TV. Her articles are regularly published on various media such as Reuters, USAToday etc…

0.2% Complaint Rate is Too High?

Being the largest online nutrition community run by Registered Dietitians, their list is obviously a fair size. The 0.2% complaint rate (as reported by Aweber’s own reports) is hardly alarming. In hopes of quickly resolving this issue, I called Aweber as soon as I received the notice.

After speaking with 2 representatives, a tier 1 support rep and his supervisor, I realized that my call was futile. Even before I had a chance to ask questions, the supervisor cuts me off. She declared that Aweber had made double opt-in mandatory for my client’s account. This action was not going to be reversed. All this even before I found out the possible root cause of the spamming accusations!

Take It or Leave It

Throughout the call, both reps cited a specific list name as the culprit. But this list does even not belong to my client! When challenged, they quickly accused other lists instead. The supervisor then firmly stated that there is no room for negotiation and that this move was ordered by their CEO Tom Kulzer. She continued to point out that we have no choice but to accept their mandatory measure. Her tone was offensive and dictated that my client had already been sentenced and we can either take it or leave it.

Still Have No Clear Answer

Instead of trying to resolve the issue, the supervisor avoided my questions. Up until this moment, I still do not know which list is supposedly causing the issue. Of the 4 lists cited:

    – 1 does not belong to my client
    – two are inactive test lists with 1 member (me!) and zero broadcasts
    – the last one is an active list with 0.2% complaint rate & a 1% undeliverable rate

My client is very unhappy, so am I. Aweber is obviously not interested in keeping this business relationship with a legitimate healthcare organization. So I won’t waste anymore time trying to prove our innocence.

Can anyone recommend a good email service provider? Perhaps an ESP with more professionalism. Most importantly, someone credible who is willing to work with a customer to resolve issues when they arise?

Ian Lee
Work from home dad, marketer and photographer. Fallen in love with basketball all over again as I coach my daughter's team.

43 thoughts on “Aweber Wrongly Accuses Dietitians of Spamming”

  1. Yep, that is not nice. I had a similar issue with a different vendor (not email). I eventually found the problem in the vendors system via reverse engineering some of the vendors processes. It took me a lot of time, but the accusation was as severe as being accused of intentional spamming or unethical business practices. You know after such experience that is time to go. I am surprised that this happened to you with AWeber who is regarded at forthcoming and helpful in solving any type of issue. They are obviously not, or not anymore.

    A suggestion regardless of this incident. I would instate double opt-in for the email list. It is not required by any law or regulation and you also will significantly reduce the successful subscription rate, but you also reduce the number of incorrect emails that bounce right from the beginning and possible spam complaints will be reduced and conflicts easier solved.

    If somebody can submit somebody else’s email address and activate the subscription without having access to the email owners inbox, there is a potential risk that spam complaints seem to be warranted, because the person who owns the email address really did never subscribe to your mailer and not just forgot it or is not interested in it any longer.

    I don’t assume that your client bought any lists from a supposedly “good source”, but even if he did that and it was a good source, who knows where that good source got the list from. Third party lists are very tricky and dangerous and should not be acquired lightly. Just another recommendation.

    I hope that double opt-in will become a legal requirement one day, even though the DMA would not be very happy about it. I would even go further and prohibit the use of any list where the user did not explicitly opt-in for. Explicitly does not mean “agreeing to receive emails from business partners and affiliates”, but agreeing to receive emails from YOU. But that is my opinion.

    I recommend the book “Spam Wars” by Danny Goodman. It is a very informative and eye opening read. I thought I knew everything there is to know about this kind of stuff, but I was proven wrong. I hope I do now though, after I read it hehe.

    I sent you the link to the email providers via FB already, but here it is once more

    (because I have a hard time finding older stuff in FB to be honest, with all the apps are information all over the place)


  2. Ian, I think I will follow you and take my business away from Aweber too. I also went with Aweber (you recommended Aweber to me!) and I don’t agree with their practice. I think as a customer, I should have the right to choose what it’s good for my business. Double opt-in is certainly better. For my business, we don’t choose double opt-in as we rely heavily on lead gen and PPC! Besides, Aweber’s verification email sucks! Even I thought it looks like spam with some stupid code on the subject line and pure text…… Aweber hasn’t enforced this on my account yet, but if it happens to you Ian, it will come to me soon so it’s time for me to take it somewhere too!

  3. Hi Carsten,

    Thanks for the words of sympathy and for sharing your great list!

    I agree with you. I run other lists that are double opted-in.

    To address a few of your concerns. My client has never purchased a list. In fact, they don’t even run paid advertising to acquire names. All signups have been generated from their own website.

    I never thought doing things right and running a list with a 0.2% complaint rate and a 1% undeliverable rate would result in this kind of customer abuse. It’s the bad attitude and unwillingness to work with us to resolve the issue (if there is one at all) at hand that irriates me.

    Let me get back to you on FB with our short list. I am going to need more help from you on this one! 🙂

    Thanks again Carsten.

    @Mike: Hang in there. Once I find a solution, I will be sure to post back. I hope it will help you and others in the future.

  4. I recently started using Aweber with a new list I have. I haven’t had any issues with them yet, but what concerns me is their unwillingness to talk to you — to teach you about what happened.

    That kind of terrible customer service would infuriate me and you are right to be angry.

    Kelly Robbins

  5. That’s disapponting to hear how Aweber has handled this situation with you and your client Ian. Please keep us all up to date with how everything unfolds. It will be interesting to know which service provider you end up going with and how their deliverability claims compare to Aweber’s… not to mention, how they rank on the customer relations score card. Good luck with the transition.


  6. I know Tom, the owner. I also use Aweber. I think that something must be amiss here. While I believe you Ian, I am sure that there is an explanation for this that Tom can maybe clear up. Dunno.

    I know one thing, you’re hard pressed to find a solution that is as diligent about keeping squeaky clean lists as them, which is probably their biggest advantage.

  7. I used Aweber before and wasn’t all that impressed. No bad experiences just didn’t see why all the hype. I’ve decided to use after reading this.

  8. Hello Ian,

    Glad to find your blog and I think that your analysis of the situation is quite fair.

    Aweber is a good company and Tom Kulzer is a good guy, but Aweber does have a tendency to want to whip out their Terms of Service and beat you over the head with them at the slightest hint of a problem.

    I pretty much got my head handed to me by Aweber when I had a recent billing and cancellation issue with them. I wanted to cancel and did so by simply not making the renewal payment. To be fair, their terms do state that you have to take certain steps to cancel — steps which I did not take. However, I was not using their service at renewal time, but in spite of this fact, they still insist that I pay for a year’s worth of service that I simply won’t use.

    I, too, have moved on because of this, and should Tom Kulzer ever see this post, please take it to heart. Work with people; don’t use your Terms of Service as a hammer. We love your service but thought we had a partner, not a judge!

    Best regards,

  9. Ian,

    Read thru your post here and thoroughly understand you’re upset
    about last weeks actions with your account.

    As with any email service provider we take each and every spam
    complaint received very seriously. The actions taken had nothing
    to do with the % complaint rate reports that you receive which
    are derived from ISP’s such as Yahoo, AOL, and others. I
    specifically received a complaint from someone receiving email
    from one of your lists that should have never been subscribed
    in the first place. I personally turned on confirmed opt-in
    to prevent the issue from occurring again, and I personally
    asked our support team manager to contact you about the issue.

    Whether you feel the complaint is real or warranted is your opinion.
    Based on 9+ years in the industry I do believe it was warranted
    and took steps to prevent it from occurring again harming both
    your company, AWeber, and that of thousands of other small
    businesses relying on our service to get their email delivered.

    As others in this comment thread have mentioned, confirmed
    opt-in is the absolute best way to manage a subscriber list
    and ensure that those on your list actually requested to
    be on the list. This is a practice we strongly recommend for
    all clients and is in fact the default for many. Businesses
    large and small have adopted this as a means to make sure their
    email is only delivered to those who want it and thus avoiding
    issues such as the one you experienced. CNN, Microsoft, Oprah, CNet,,,,,,,, and even all
    use confirmed opt-in.

    Terms of service are in place to not only protect customers and
    their rights, but also to protect the tens of thousands of others
    that depend on the service to reliably deliver their email. Without
    rigorous enforcement of those terms, our service and others in the
    ESP industry would be completely useless. I’d be happy to speak
    with you about the account offline, as I can’t go into any further
    detail than what you’ve already posted, ironically, due to our
    terms of service regarding customer privacy. One I’m sure everyone
    is happy we abide by.

  10. I was naive to think that someone can fix this Aweber issue for Ian. After reading Tom Kulzer’s post, I have to agree with Tom Brownsword that Aweber is whipping out its TOS. I don’t know the details but it looks that there are a few lists under Ian’s account – and because there are problems in one list (as posted by Tom Kulzer himself), Aweber CEO ordered to have all other lists penalized. Ian, you are right, it’s obvious that your client has been sentenced!

  11. Mike, a customer with bad emails can cause trouble for AWeber, serious ones. This is no joke. without confirmed or double opt-in could somebody sign-up for somebody else, as a prank or to harm the advertiser and/or the email services provider.

    You might also want to check my post at ReveNews about this and also the comments.
    Post at RN.

    As mentioned in an earlier comment. Buy a copy of Danny Goodman’s book. It’s $17.95 or less on If you do email marketing, you should read it.

    Tom: As mentioned earlier, it seems to me that the issue was not communicated well to Ian and his client. They want of course know what happened. Ian stated that his attempts to find out what was going on was left on his shoulders without getting any help from your staff, on the contrary, they blocked him off with a comment like “we did what we did, period, live with it!” .. end of communication.

    Your actions to Ian’s clients account is harmful to the clients business. Double opt-in will cause a significant drop in successful subscription rate, that will translate into hard dollars lost. I think a client deserves a detailed answer, why he should accept this loss in revenue.

    Just another suggestion. Cheers. Carsten

  12. Mike, question. You switched Ian’s client to “confirmed opt-in” or “double opt-in”? There is a big difference. See this post at about that.

  13. Tom,

    It sure has been a long time since we last chatted and it is unfortunate that we meet again under these circumstances.

    There is no argument that double opt-in is a good method for handling list subscription. Indeed, two lists under this client’s account is double opt-in so they are aware of the benefits. The issue I personally have is not with this. It is the fact of being accused of spamming and not being provided with anymore information so we can resolve the problem.

    Again, of the 4 lists cited by both your staff members, 1 does not belong to my client. Two are inactive test lists with zero broadcasts. And an active list that has been running on a website run by healthcare professionals for close to 8 years. When asked which one of these lists could be the cause of the spam issues, the hard-handed reply was that you gave the order and it’s final.

    Tom, I do not see any benefit in contacting you offline – your staff has made it more than clear that there is no room for further discussion. As a long time customer and someone who publicly endorsed your company for so long, being served an ultimatum and not given the opportunity to work with your team to trace down the issue at hand is certainly not what I had hoped from a quality service provider.

  14. Requiring confirmed opt-in is not a penalty and it’s definitely not meant to be. It’s a best practice and one that every business should be using. AWeber and many other responsible email service providers are moving in that direction as it’s the only way to ensure the subscribers on a list requested to be there.

    I’ll pose the same question here I’ve posted elsewhere in relation to this thread. Mike, Ian, or others, how would you have handled this to stop the complaints and flow of unsolicited email from either an unintentional or intentional act?

    I sit within earshot of Tracey’s workstation and do
    recall overhearing the conversation with Ian, admittedly only what Tracey was saying. Based on what I heard, Ian’s account of the interaction isn’t the full story and was also abruptly ended when he hung up on Tracey. We pro actively contacted Ian about the problem and yet somewhere along the way the communication wasn’t what wanted to be heard.

    We take many steps to educate our customers on the virtues of confirmed opt-in and why it is good for their businesses. A search on our site for “confirmed opt-in” or “verified opt-in” will show a wealth of information. Unfortunately I believe that much of the frustration in this situation resolves from misinformation in the general business community that confirmed opt-in is the death knife to opt-in lists. Well over 50% of our customer base would disagree with that assumption as would many of the large businesses I quoted above using confirmed opt-in.

    I, nor anyone here, have called Ian’s clients intentional spammers. If we did, they wouldn’t be clients here anymore as we have zero tolerance for intentional abuse. The pro active contact about the unintentional spam and the requirement to use confirmed opt-in is here to prevent that situation from turning in a direction that every marketer doesn’t want to see.

  15. Mike, I was also surprised to learn from Tom’s post that after a problem from one list, he took action on all lists.

    I am now beginning to wonder if it was indeed one of the inactive test lists that is the culprit. I regularly see spammers trying to subscribe to it by sending chain emails to that list but the spammers never achieve “Active” status (as reported by Aweber) since users subscribing by email is required to go through a confirmed opt-in process set up by Aweber.

    Of course, this is just my guess as I am pretty much still in the dark as to the original cause.

  16. Tom, this thread has been quite professional up until this point. Now come your new personal attacks on me about hanging up on your staff.

    You run a call center and I’m sure you have recorded the call. I encourage you post it for all to hear exactly what happened on the call.

  17. Tom: okay, you are talking about double opt-in. I know that confirmed opt-in is used for double opt-in as well, the problem with that term is only that it is ambiguous. Confirmed opt-in is used (wrongly) by people for the process of sending the user just a welcome message that confirms the subscription with a link to opt-out.

    Also the term “confirmed” implies that nothing more is needed. It’s a language thing. I would use double opt-in and confirmed opt-in to make people aware what you refer to exactly to avoid possible misunderstandings.

    Could it be that confirmed opt-in is a newer term that was introduced within the last 2-3 years? I always use double opt-id to indicate that TWO actions are needed by the user in order to opt-in successfully.


  18. Ian, none of my posts here have been intended to attack you or anyone else. I was only stating fact as was known to me. As mentioned earlier I only know what I overheard from Tracey’s side of the conversation. If we had a recording I’d of certainly listened to it before posting here. I’m truly sorry if my information about the close of that call is incorrect.

    I’m very sorry that our conversation has taken this turn and can only hope to have more fruitful interactions in the future. As mentioned before, I’m more than happy to speak with you about this offline where the details about the issue can be discussed. For obvious privacy issues of both you and your client that’s not something I can get into here. You have my contact info.

  19. It seems the “CEO” is missing the point in much the same way the original rep did and is content to merely generalize, i.e. “I believe that much of the frustration in this situation resolves from misinformation in the general business community that confirmed opt-in is the death knife to opt-in lists.”

    The debate is not about the merits of “confirmed opt in”, it’s about the specifics of just how this client ran afoul of the TOS. How can a client ensure that the “offense” does not occur again if the provider steadfastly refuses to even talk about specifics?

    What it appears to boil down to is, “we’re going to do what we’re going to do and the details make no difference.”

    I’m glad I came across this, I need to set up a couple of lists for clients but I have no time for providers who do not feel the need get into pesky details to help clients identify the root cause of problems and prevent reoccurrence.

  20. Ken, no one here has “steadfastly refused to even talk about specifics.” I’ve offered twice in this thread to speak with Ian personally, and the support manager that he spoke with previously was doing the same until Ian hung up on her.

    As mentioned before, I can’t for privacy reasons discuss here why Ian and his client ran afoul of the TOS.

    It’s awfully hard to help someone who doesn’t want to take the time to listen to the specifics.

  21. Ken, no one here has “steadfastly refused to even talk about specifics.” I’ve offered twice in this thread to speak with Ian personally, and the support manager that he spoke with previously was doing the same until Ian hung up on her.

    As mentioned before, I can’t for privacy reasons discuss here why Ian and his client ran afoul of the terms of service.

    It’s awfully hard to help someone who doesn’t want to take the time to listen to the specifics.

  22. Hey Ian, did I miss something? I came back today to check out the thread and I don’t seem to see the CEO posts. What happened to his posts? I think he made 2 posts yesterday…….

  23. Ken, valid points. I tried to explain this to the CEO who commented on the post at my blog about this incident. The problem is not really about WHAT the issue is (no matter how severe it might or might not be), but HOW the company approached and dealt with it. The WHAT can then be addressed along the way, publicly or in private.

  24. Hey, now the posts by Tom Kulzer, CEO of Aweber, have all disappeared. Any wordpress experts know if comments can be deleted by someone else rather than the admin?

  25. Hey Mike, I for sure did not delete Tom’s 3 posts. I am now seeking help from experts to find out exactly what happened.

  26. This is interesting.

    Ian, I came to your site in a round about way but when I have time I’m going to peruse in depth and maybe you can help me with a few things.

    And for what it’s worth, I see absolutely nothing wrong with the way you’ve handled this issue. It will be interesting to see if you get “blacklisted” from AWeber altogether.


  27. As of this momnet, it looks like Tom’s comments have been flagged as spam by Spam Karma 2. Not sure of the exact reason but Tom’s IP address and comments have been blacklisted. I am working with some experts to bring the comments back.

    Thank you Carsten Cumbrowski and Andy Beard for your help in this technical challenge we are having. Andy, you truly are THE blogging expert!

  28. Thanks for your reply Tom but I’m not that thick you didn’t have to say it twice. There are ways to address the issue in a more relevant way without breaching privacy if in fact privacy is even a real concern here. If it is, the response would have merely cited that fact and nothing more.

    But it seems alot of time was spent putting forth the idea that the problem was with someone’s lack of acceptance and understanding of the general concepts of “opt in”.

    If Ian still doesn’t know which list was being cited as the offender, how can anyone honestly talk about being forthcoming with details? Was he offered your personal time BEFORE he went public with this? Your involvement at this point appears to be nothing more than damage control.


  29. Ken “Your involvement at this point appears to be nothing more than damage control.” …. that could have been the opportunity to find out what the key problems where that caused the (unnecessary) escalation of the issue and resulted in the termination of a customer relationship in bad terms.

    The second opportunity would have been to find possible solutions that would prevent the escalation with other customers for the same or similar reasons and to demonstrate them in public for everybody to see.

    All that would have been resulted into just another opportunity from a PR perspective to show if and how problems are being handled by the company and how a negative incident can be turned into a case study with positive outcome that could be used as reference for other companies.

    Web 2.0 is not only good to raise public awareness of problems, but also to resolve them and learn something from it.

  30. What an interesting read. As someone who has worked in the Internet Marketing industry for 5+ years I’m a little puzzled by (a) the confusion in terms as far as confirmed opt-in, double opt-in, etc. (if you mean double opt-in, might as well just say it), the comparison of the effects of double opt-in on huge multi-million-dollar companies vs. SMEs/SOHO companies (apples and oranges, anyone?, and (c) the fact that this seems to all have resulted from one(!) complaint that just happened to get to the CEO.

    Also, I’m a bit surprised that the CEO of AWeber has the time to be personally responding to issues like this… especially when his comments don’t seem terribly professional or helpful. If th CEO’s going to get involved in a thread like this, you’d expect the reponse to be a clear resolution offered in one post — probably in 20 words or less! Crazy!

  31. Most rational human beings understand that mistakes will be made, things will fall through the cracks and even the most diligent company/entity will have so called “field failures”. The true test always is how these things are handled once they occur. Will they avoid or minimize the issue by “deflection” or will they treat the customer’s problem as they would a poisonous snake poised to strike, quickly with overwhelming force to end the matter immediately?

    The problem is anyone who has had experience with net companies who have a TOS agreement, have also had the experience of having it waived in their faces as a discussion ender when problems arise with no room for taking the customer’s particular needs into account.

    The reflexive action when the customer has concerns about something like this often is to go on the defensive and whip out the TOS.

    I can’t help but think that if the approach is more along the lines of “You know what, you have a valid concern and at my company we take such concerns very seriously. Let’s work together on finding a solution we all can live with.”, you can transform a concerned, often agitated customer into one of your greatest advocates who sings your praises every chance they get.

    Don’t we all need as many such individuals as we can get?


  32. It’s so hilarious that the CEO was blocked by your spam filter!!!

    My understanding of the sequence of event is:
    1. CEO received a spam complaint from one list
    2. CEO ordered to switch ALL lists to double opt in
    3. CEO asked a staff to notify Ian’s client

    To me, this is not proactively solving an issue. That is, “hey dude, i dont’care what’s your story but this is my decision as per our TOS”.

    If Aweber has attempted to solve an issue, before ordering a switch on all lists….
    a. someone could have call Ian’s client to find out more
    b. email Ian’s client to find out more
    c. fax to Ian’s client to find out more
    e. send a snail mail to Ian’s client find out more

  33. The point I thought was interesting in this is that a single complaint apparently started this mess. I don’t know how big the list is, but seriously, one complaint?

    Did someone spell their name wrong by accident? That could certainly happen once every 20,000 signups or so. Did they try to opt-out but the page failed to load? That could certainly happen once every 1,000 attempts.

    Using a single person’s experience, good or bad, as the basis for a decision that would harm a company when the technology involved isn’t foolproof seems like overkill.

    If they were selling penis enlargement pills, I’d be less tempted to give them the benefit of the doubt, but this sounds like a real company with a solid track record of doing the right thing.

    50 kids die a year because their parents forget they left them in the car seat. Is it really that difficult to believe that one person could forget they signed up for an email list?

  34. Yup its the former Spam King, Sanford Wallace, here. I’ve been saying this for quite some time and I’ll say it again. Tom is a hypocrite. He screams and cries about confirmed opt-in yet he still refuses to default ALL accounts to that setting… why? … because his company KNOWS the benefits of allowing single opt-in as well. So while he punishes accounts for one or two complaints related to single opt-in, he continues to profit by allowing most of his clients to ignore his public outcry about it. Tom has always made decisions based on profits vs. consequences and it has little to do with “right” and “wrong.”

  35. Wow I’ve been researching on aweber looking for a hosting solution to for my email list and found this great blog.

    I congratulate Tom for spending the time to post on this blog not many CEO’s would do that.

    I would of thought in this day and age that you would WANT a double optin?

    Why? to confirm that the subscriber address is real and it’s a valid address.

    Sure it’s an extra few seconds for the subscriber but why would you want to waste time with someone who’s not interested in what you’ve got to email?

  36. Let me confirm Aweber Tier 1 support is only good for reading scripted responses to nontechnical questions and refuse to escalate when the issue exceeds their knowledge or access. After attempts at live chat, phone, and now a ticket open for over a week with no response Aweber refuses to provide any SMTP dialog details for emails they have mishandled. Please understand when considering Aweber as a email marketing solutions if you have anything but a basic setup problem seeking help will make you wish you selected another solution.

  37. Kia ora,

    though this stopped a while ago it is interesting to read.

    Why? I had a website until recently using AWstats, but about time this above issue arose I started getting calls from mates to say my e-mail address was blocked. then I started getting calls from government departments & those offering services to confirm e-mail address.

    finally I was told by a mate a few months ago about a pop up that came up when he tried to e-mail me. wording was strange about my email address my being not allowed.

    since I was getting no joy from my website I decided to contact someone I saw on ‘linked in’ to help with what I was doing wrong. get a pop up from Aweber saying I cannot use my email address. read through & it was what my mate had said he got few months ago.

    did two things. first hit the connection to Aweber to find out what was up. reply was that I can not use the word security in an e-mail address end of story. they were told that they could not dictate to me what address I used.

    second was tried again & was able to contact the business. they said they were signed to Aweber as an email marketing but they were not aware that business e-mails to them were being blocked.

    I then contacted our (NZ) department for commercial issues. their response was they could do nothing, but if Aweber were based here, not overseas, they would then look into it with view to prosecution. Only option is taking local web service provider to disputes tribunal & why I have come across this.

    I have never being signed up to Aweber but there seems to be a connection to Awstats as complaint I found on net with associated issues are same as those two combined.

    seems they both are not what they are cracked up to be.

    Customer service is definitely not of the required standard.


  38. Great post! AWeber is great at delivering email but sucks badly at customer support and developing feature sets that clients can use.

    For instance, they’ve been in business forever but still don’t allow the client to customize the notification email that AWeber sends to them when someone fills in their form. The default email they do send is filled with crap and junk information that makes it almost unreadable and useless for lead follow up – which is the point of lead gen forms in the first place. Isn’t it?

    AWeber sucks!

  39. I know this post is old, but I really wanted to comment on it!

    I’ve used Aweber for 6 years now and last month I also got the message informing me that they got “too many” spam complaints and were forcing my account into double opt-in starting next day.

    I agree with the “philosophy” of double opt-in so I decided to give it a try… Well, in a perfect world double opt-in would be the right way to build a list, but unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world! I tried double opt-in for the last 15 days and what I saw was a drop in 70% of my subscriber rate. Well, I need to run a business and a 70% loss is not acceptable.

    Of course, people that defend double opt-in would argue that the subscribers that didn’t confirm weren’t interested in my site anyway or were wrongly subscribed, but that is not the case.

    I’ve getting replies to the confirmation email and what people are saying is that:

    – they don’t understand what they are supposed to do;

    – they don’t want to click the confirmation link because it looks “suspicious”;

    – they don’t understand that the “click on the link” is necessary and just reply saying “yes, I confirm”.

    But these are the people that take the time to reply, most don’t! Some people don’t understand that confirming is necessary, others think it’s a waste of their time, others think they’ll get to it later and so on.

    Now to the spam complaints: When I first opened my account with Aweber I didn’t know single opt-in was an option, I used to think that all accounts were forced double opt-in, so for a long time in the beginning all my lists were double opt-in.

    I get very often complaints from people that have doubled opt-in and it doesn’t matter what I send. Most of my emails are not “spammy” by any means, most are just plain articles, with no links, no offer, nothing that could be seen as spam. Still, when people lose interest or just don’t want your emails anymore, you automatically become a spammer to them.

    The other day I got a complaint sent to the holding company that manages the website that used to email this subscriber. The person thought the company was managed by “other” people and so she was trying to report the website for sending her spam. She stated that she had never subscribed to that website. Oh well, guess what? She was one of the first subscribers and doubled opt-in. When I answered her email saying that she indeed subscribed I got an enraged response from her, saying that “I was lying”.

    The biggest argument to defend double opt-in is that you can prove that the person indeed subscribed to the list, but what are you supposed to do with this confirmation? People are not going to sue you for spam (unless you’re really doing something shaddy), so what’s this proof good for? Just so you can say “yes, you did subscribe, stupid!”?

    If people want to unsubscribe from your list and they don’t know how to (even though you might state clearly in your message) and they think the right thing to do is to click the spam button, they will do it anyway, even if they doubled or tripled opt-in.

    What I think happened to you and me that Tom says “someone contacted Aweber accusing you of spamming” probably was the same thing that happened when the double opt-in girl emailed my holding company acusing one of my websites of spamming her.

    It is unfortunate that Aweber will take actions like this based on “gossip”. Think about it, a competitor could easily spot which websites in his niche are not using double opt-in and contact their list management services “reporting” them for spamming them. That’s a sure way of steal some subscribers/clients since this competitor will get all the subscribers that won’t double opt-in for the other guys lists.

    After all that, I tried GetResponse and hated it. I decided to go solo and be the master of my own domain! I purchased AutoResponsePlus and now I’m waiting for the installation to go thought so I can transfer my lists from Aweber and kiss their a** goodbye. I think this is not an option for newbies, since it requires some technical knowledge and time to go thought the learning curve and manage the system, but in the end I believe it will be worth it.



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