Sure, I had other bloggers talk about how they used Aweber or Feedblitz to handle their mailing lists and I had read complaints from other bloggers on how MailChimp banned their account because they were doing affiliate promotion and this is against policy. MailChimp mentions they support Newsletters and not direct affiliate promotion, so I had thought I found a balance where I could give updated information and news to my readers and yet still have a few banners/links to maybe get some cross sales.
Looks like I was wrong….
MailChimp Disabled My Account
Now, to show you what my last Newsletter looked like before my account got disabled and let you be the judge on if you think this was blatant affiliate promotion or not. Note: I had sent 12 newsletters previously with the exact same template and sidebar and was not banned or warned, yet last night all of a sudden my MailChimp account was banned.
This is the format of all my previous newsletters:
My body of my articles is about the subject and I list a sidebar where some cool products I work with or want to showcase to my readers get some attention. I have done all of my newsletters like this without issue.
Last night was apparently considered violation and different somehow. What’s worse is that not only did MailChimp disable my account but because they replace all your hyperlinks with their own for click tracking, they disabled and broke all links in my emails which did go out to the 480+ mailing list subscribers I had. So the links to all my contests = broken and I had many readers contact me to say my links were broken which is how I found out my account had been disabled in the first place.
Unsubscribes Cause Disable with MailChimp?
I did have 4 unsubscribes after the Newsletter went out, but this is normal when you go 4 months without sending out an update. My previous Newsletter was in March 2012, so people often forgot they signed up when they see something out of the blue that many months later. Shame on my for not putting together a consistent newsletter every month, but this doesn’t warrant an account disable.
Affiliate Links in Newsletter Disables MailChimp Account?
Maybe it is the fact that I mentioned about our upcoming Guild Wars 2 giveaway coming in August and the link for “Guild Wars 2” was to the Amazon affiliate for the game. Again something I have done with previous mailing newsletters since the readers can purchase the game if interested from Amazon.com yes it is my affiliate link, but I am not actively telling them to purchase anything, it is just a link to a product listed on Amazon.com (that has my affiliate tag).
Or maybe the banner ads in the sidebar were considered “affiliate pitches” when they weren’t the last 12 newsletters.
Either way, I won’t be using MailChimp anymore and pull my endorsement for any bloggers who in any way want to leverage their mailing list as a business resource. Instead I was already signed up for Feedblitz which lets your email RSS subscriber list be your “Mailing List” so you can send manual updates/newsletters in the same way ComLuv.com was leveraging them. Aweber is also a perfectly viable alternative as well.
Bottom line, don’t use MailChimp at all if you ever want to include an affiliate link to a product even an Amazon product link in your email. It strictly is for casual updates or the most basic of promotional/marketing methods and you really have no control in leveraging it as a business / monetizing method. Worse you immediately lose all the work to build up the list once you are disabled.
I won’t ever touch MailChimp again as a result of this experience.
New Mailing List Sign Up
I apologize to have to ask all readers of DragonBlogger.com who had signed up for our mailing list to sign up again, but I will be providing a special incentive and giving a $25 Paypal cash prize to 2 lucky people who sign up for the DragonBlogger.com mailing list between July 11th and August 1st 2012. Winners will be contacted on August 2nd, the winners will be chosen randomly via the random.org list generation. As the mailing list grows I will be offering early chances and special contests, giveaways and promotions for mailing list subscribers as well.