3 Disappointing Truth About MailChimp Email Marketing Solutions

3 Disappointing Truth About MailChimp Email Marketing Solutions

MailChimp Email Marketing Services. This post was published on 9th July 2013 and it is time for an update because there are a lot of things that had changed over the years. Not only MailChimp had changed, everything from list building to email marketing solutions had evolved with technology.

So, are you planning to use MailChimp for email marketing or already using MailChimp but is actively looking for alternatives? Today, I'm going to share some important things you should know about disadvantages using MailChimp which can impact your email marketing strategy dearly.

​This article is not about flaming or putting MailChimp down. Instead, it is just several small information which could affect you, your website or business if you are not careful with. More importantly, these disadvantages might impact your online marketing strategies!


​What is MailChimp (or ChimpMail)?

​MailChimp has came a long way and over the years, it had it shares of improvements done to email marketing. MailChimp is currently the market leader for free email marketing solution.

Here's what MailChimp looks like in the past.

mailchimp review

​It's bloody old school to say the very least! 

Those days, the tagline for MailChimp is "Send Better Emails" and now, the latest MailChimp tagline is "Marketing Platform For Small Businesses."

While MailChimp may have changed its logo, branding and tagline, the same old MailChimp email marketing ​model (which are highly sought after) remains:

  • ​Forever free account for email marketing
  • ​Manage up to 2,000 email subscribers free
  • ​Send up to 12,000 emails per month for free

I know thousands ​of businesses around the world who stand by MailChimp when it comes to ​email marketing service. ​Even bloggers (both beginners and professionals) use MailChimp to manage their email lists!

So, why is MailChimp such a popular email marketing service?

I bet it has nothing to do with the chimpanzee who dressed up as a postal service previously. While I think that it is a great mascot as it serves a good balance between fun and work, the new mascot for MailChimp looks better and portrays quality.

new MailChimp looks

​MailChimp got its name and fame by offering pretty much forever free email marketing solutions to those who need it.

Small business owners, email marketers, bloggers and entrepreneurs use MailChimp because of the excellent pricing structures and of course, very good delivery rates.

In short, MailChimp is an online email marketing solution to manage your contacts, send emails and track results. It offers forever free membership for the first 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails monthly.

For me, forever free email marketing solution is very tempting and mouthwatering feature especially when you are new in blogging or Internet marketing industry. We are always trying to grow our mailing list and ​if you are just starting a new venture, you wouldn't want to spend $20 to $100 a month for premium email marketing services.

​Hey, I get it ... I've been there myself! When I first started Marketing Lancers (digital marketing agency in Malaysia), the entire company's was going on lean marketing/setup. Minimum staffs and leveraging as many free tools as possible to reduce the overall cost.

With the very interactive user interface, excellent back-end dashboard and​ forever free MailChimp email marketing services, ​your email marketing problem is solved, right?

Well, I wished that was the case but it isn't. There are some MailChimp weaknesses and disadvantages which you should be well aware off, or else they are going to bite you where it hurts the most (destroying your email list).

​Carry on reading to learn more about MailChimp email marketing solution.

​BONUS: If you want to learn how to use MailChimp effectively, here's an awesome guide for you. The Complete Guide In Using MailChimp Email Marketing ​Solution (Step By Step Guide).


1. No affiliate marketing with MailChimp

The single biggest problem with MailChimp email marketing solution is their legal policies. MailChimp legal policies is pretty strict especially for many bloggers and work from home Internet marketers.

Why?

I got this shot from the main website (source below).

​Prohibited Content on MailChimp

Please don't use MailChimp to send anything offensive, to promote anything illegal, or to harass anyone. You may not send:

  • ​Pornography or other sexually explicit emails
  • ​Email offering to sell illegal goods or services
  • ​Emails that violate CAN-SPAM Laws
  • Alternate Comment Times
    Marketing or commercial email with permission

Some industries have higher-than-normal abuse complaints, which can in turn jeopardize the deliverability of our entire system. Nothing personal, but in order to maintain the highest delivery rates possible for all our customers, we can't allow businesses that offer these types of services, products, or content:

  • ​Escort and dating services
  • ​Pharmaceutical products
  • ​Work from home,make money on online, and lead generation opportunities
  • Alternate Comment Times
    ​Online trading, day trading tips, or stock market-related content
  • Alternate Comment Times
    ​Multi-level marketing
  • Alternate Comment Times
    Affiliate marketing
  • Alternate Comment Times
    Credit repair and get out of debt opportunities
  • Alternate Comment Times
    Mortgages and loans
  • Alternate Comment Times
    Nutritional, herbal, and vitamin supplements
  • Alternate Comment Times
    Adult novelty items or references
  • Alternate Comment Times
    List brokers or list rental services

​If you send this sort of content, most email services providers won't be able to help you. You might want to look into setting up your own mail server. MailChimp's Delivery Guide explains how that works.

Source: MailChimp

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Are you blown?

For the benefit of the doubt, I understand that MailChimp wants to protect its delivery rate but do you agree that MailChimp terms is not even an advantage to consider for online marketers and bloggers?

I was made aware thanks to Adrian and you can read it all here (comment section).

Personally, I wouldn't mind the first few disadvantages but not allowing affiliate marketing is definitely the stop point for me. As a​ professional and seasoned affiliate marketer, using MailChimp email marketing solution means that I'm at risk of losing my whole email list​ and more importantly, going to impact my affiliate earnings severely!

I could be wrong but Internet marketing is either selling/promoting products (affiliate marketing) or creating some sort of lead generation for business. ​

​Editor's Note

​If you are in the affilaite marketing niche like I do, I recommend you to understand the terms and conditions of MailChimp before using it. ​MailChimp has the tendency to remove your account without any notice and this means that all your hard work will just go straight into the drain!

When it comes to MailChimp abuse reports, the risk is high and you need to know that you are not allowed to promote any affiliate products (apart from your own) using MailChimp.


​2. MailChimp pricing structure is misleading

This MailChimp review is not complete without talking about the MailChimp pricing structure.

MailChimp pricing structure is really bad. Take a look at both of these screenshots.

MailChimp Pricing

​Basic pricing structure

MailChimp 2000 Subscribers

​When you have more than 2,000 subscribers

​For me, the MailChimp email pricing structure is really misleading. Compare both the left and right side of the images.

Let's assume you are at 2,000 email subscribers and you are required to go for paid email marketing by MailChimp. You are no longer paying $10 but $30 for 2,000 email subscribers (up to 2,500 email subscribers).

Do you see the big jump in pricing? That's an additional of $20 on top of the base $10 per month! For bloggers, this is definitely not worth the money and effort.

Sure, professional email marketers (even other blog posts) will say that when you have 2,000 email subscribers, you will be able to make sufficient money from your list.

But, is that the real truth? For a fact, I know many bloggers and Internet marketers who have more than 2,000 email subscribers and not making a single cent from email marketing.

​We can make money from email marketing ... only if you know how to do it right.

Click to Tweet

If I'm putting myself in the shoes of new bloggers or low-income online marketers, MailChimp pricing is definitely one of the biggest disadvantages using MailChimp.

Plus when include in the terms and conditions of not allowing affiliate marketing, it gets even worse!

I will not be surprised the number of bloggers who have this question in mind, "How do I make money with email marketing with MailChimp?"

Personally, I rather pay for AWeber anytime of the day compared to MailChimp based on the pricing structure (no offense, MailChimp).


​3. MailChimp support is bad

​Based on industry standards, MailChimp has one of the worst support you can ever image.

mailchimp support

​If you are using MailChimp free account, support will only be given to you on the first 30 days via email only (refer above).

Yes, I know EXACTLY what you are thinking.

MailChimp Support Email

​It is rather safe to say that when you use MailChimp free account, there is absolutely NO support given and I can't even imagine MailChimp has such feature. Sure the knowledge base for MailChimp is very detailed but in today's business world, data suggests that customers see fast, friendly and consistent customer service as the gold standard. 


​Should I ​still use MailChimp?

​I think this is one important question to cover. MailChimp has many disadvantages but I still use MailChimp for some of my blogs and businesses.

When it comes to email marketing, MailChimp is pretty awesome and has a very unique pricing model. If you are a small to medium sized business and doesn't require much from an email marketing solution, MailChimp is an excellent choice.

If mailing list is under 2,000 email subscribers and you are not willing to pay for an email marketing solution, this ChimpMail is worth the try.

​The most important factor when considering using MailChimp is that you are not opening in the industry or markets which they do not allow (refer to their terms above).

MailChimp is just like any other email marketing solutions such as AWeber and Convertkit. It is common to have emails delivered via MailChimp going to spam. This happens!

The problems (in most cases) don't sit on MailChimp servers but most of the the time, the email domain that you used or the content in the email that triggers the spam filters. Here are some samples:

  • Using Gmail or Yahoo to send email
  • Having words like "free" and "sale" in the email body

What's your thought on MailChimp?

What do you think about MailChimp and all these issues?

Again, this doesn't prove or mean that MailChimp is bad choice for email marketing. I got to admit that the above sounds a little ... biased ... but I promise I'm not!

Maybe, just a little frustrated as an avid Internet marketer myself.

If you're able to live with it (like the thousands who do), why not right?

MailChimp offers:

  • ​Free and pay as you go (services)
  • ​Acceptable level of reliability (delivery)
  • ​Simple to use and intuitive dashboard/email marketing features

Personally, I would use MailChimp if I'm running a small blog or a non-business site. However, I would rather pay a little bit more to have a better service especially when it comes to business matters. Moreover, Internet marketing is all about the 'list' and without one, you are basically nothing.

My only concern about MailChimp are their terms and MailChimp pay as you go mechanics which can be very expensive as you grow your email list.

Are you convinced with what I have to say about MailChimp? If you are thinking that hey, MailChimp is free to sign up and no strings attached, go ahead and register your free account here. Moreover, you have nothing to lose, right?

Now, what's your take on this? Will MailChimp be able to restore confidence among its member? Hit the reply button below and tell me what you think.

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Thinking twice of MailChimp or looking for another email marketing provider? How about AWeber?

Try it out for FREE today (plus 30 days money back guarantee)!

And if AWeber is not your cup of tea, here are 4 more MailChimp alternatives to start your email marketing campaigns today. Read here.

Overall, there are many other MailChimp alternatives that you could use. It all boils down to your email marketing requirements and the budget you can afford to commit to every month.

If you like this article, could you please share this for me using the button below?

37 thoughts on “3 Disappointing Truth About MailChimp Email Marketing Solutions”

  1. Hi Reginald, MailChimp policies are quite weird. They are like made by 2 different companies that have 2 different targets.

    I don’t like the restrictive policy you mentioned at #3 but I can understand it. However, the truth is that no big dog in this industry has such restrictions. But as I said… I understand it. They overprotect themselves. But…

    The other policy – no problem to import subscribers – is fine, I like it. If I move my newsletters to them, I can import my subscribers, great! But this policy is opposed to the policy mentioned above. A spammer can import lots of harvested email addresses and then no problem to spam. MailChimp will find it soon, but they will find it AFTER the spam was sent.

    So… what’s the first mentioned policy saying? We are overprotecting ourselves. What’s the second mentioned policy saying? We don’t care about protection. Well… how’s that? Isn’t it funny?

    • Hi Adrian,

      Thanks for the comment. I understand that they have to protect themselves, I mean … who doesn’t right? However, this is pretty bad since it is going to affect us (the user).

      Importing like what you said is great is you are moving from A to B. But, I know tons of people who do this the wrong way. Whacking any emails they can scrape from the net.

      Another food for thought maybe?

      Reginald

    • This is actually not the case. When you import a list, Mailchimp analyzes it and compares it against known “purchased” lists. It also analyzes it to figure out how many emails are likely to bounce, how many are old and likely scraped from the internet, et cetera. If it thinks your list is too spammy, not fully opt-in, not “organic”, et cetera, it will prevent you from sending. Check out their “email genome project” Email Genome.

      • Hi David,

        Thanks for your comment. Well, it really depends on how you see it. The list checked by MailChimp is probably from a ‘known’ list. However, this doesn’t change the fact that there could be spam mails or emails treated as spam. Nonetheless, I heard that MailChimp is trying to ‘fix’ that but I believe the only way out of this completely could be disallowing that.

        However, with the traffic and business MailChimp is having, I don’t see the changes will take place. Let’s keep fingers crossed on that, shall we?

        Just my 2 cents 🙂

        Reginald

  2. I don’t have a list yet, but I am planning on it. Since I am a bit low on budget, that’s why Mailchimp was the one I was looking for. But wow! I was aware of the first few points that you have mentioned. But these rules and regulations? These are a bit too much to take.
    Before reading your post, I have never read about these rules anywhere on the net. But still so many people use it fo affiliate marketing and list building, without getting their account suspended.

    • Hi Sourav,

      Yes so many people are using it but ain’t getting suspended. Maybe if MailChimp does that, they could lose like … 50% of the business? Or maybe like what Adrian (above) said, they are just trying to cover themselves. MailChimp is good and it really is! What more can you expect from a free service right?

      But the down right fact here just be careful if you are planning to use it 🙂

      Reginald

    • Hi Nicole,

      Thanks for the reply. For me, MailChimp is rather okay and easier to use than Aweber. The learning part is also lower compared to others. However, one thing I got to admit is the starting part (learning part) is the time consuming 🙂

      Take care!

      Reginald

  3. Well,

    Thank for make this to my attention. I am still a MailChimp user. I also used to be an Aweber user but since my blog is small and I don’t except to make money out of it, that’s why I decide to use for instance MailChimp.

    You are right to raise these concerns up, especially the possibility to add email address to the list without Opt-in form. It’s useless because people are going to unsubscribe if they are on the list without the Opt-in.

    But sometime we might need to move from one provider to another, it would be useful.

    But again nothing is free in a long run.

    • Hi Santel,

      Thank you for your comment!

      There are so many email marketing services nowadays and we’re basically spoilt with choices! Also, heard about ‘no free lunch in this world’?

      Haha! Thanks for your time and support mate!

      Reginald

  4. I didn’t know about the ‘no affiliate marketing’ policy of Mailchimp. I looked it up, and Madmimi is the same. I use Aweber, and as far as I could tell, using Aweber is OK for aff marketing. This is what I do, so I guess I ended up with the right choice. I would think Mailchimp and Madmimi would make this a bit more obvious because there are so many people in this industry that use these email marketing services.

    • Hello Nathaniell,

      When I was first made aware of the matter, I really checked through the T&C and was really surprised with it. Honestly, I’m glad to be with Aweber and no doubts on that. Worth the money? You bet!

      I would say the way they reacted to the matter is simply due to business and at the same time, ensuring that they are protected in some ways 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

      Reginald

  5. Thank you again for another great informative post. I will be needed to make a decision on this in the next day or so therefore, I am grateful that you have taken the time to list some of the issues with Mail Chimp. I have been recommended to Aweber by a few other people as well so I will check them out.

    Thank you over again… and I see you just started following me on Twitter. Thank you for that as well.
    Missy Bell

    • Hi Missy Bell,

      You sre most welcome. I’m glad you find that interesting and useful. Good luck to you on the mailing list and if you decided to sue Aweber, it would be an honor if you could use my affiliate link (if you have no other plans in mind) 🙂

      Take care!

      Reginald

  6. Great post . I just signed up to mailchimp as I am trying to get advertising on my new site. I hadnt tried it yet but didnt realise the limitations ( but hey , its free aint it )
    But I am glad to be made aware. I have noticed most email I get is marketed/processed by AWeber so maybe thats why?

    • Hi Stu,

      Well, MailChimp is okay and I’m not ditching it at all. I’m using it for my old blogs. However, definitely not going to try with my money blogs 🙂

      I see most people using Aweber is because they have better spam control and subscribers need to confirm the newsletter. This feature improves the CTR rate since we know that we had subscribed to those.

      At least, that’s what I think.

      Reginald

  7. Hi Reginald,
    Thanks for the great in-depth product review. Of course, MailChimp is a freemium software, meaning they offer free services hoping some users will up to a pay account. Of course, there are freemium sites and there are freemium sites and the question is whether you find enough value in the free account to continue.

    • Hi Heather,

      How are you? Hope you are in good health!

      In fact, I still like what MailChimp can offer but I certainly hope they doesn’t do the ‘one button delete’ for fellow members. That will be so catastrophe!

      I am still using it for my niche websites but since it has nothing to do with affiliate, I bet it should be just fine 😉

      Thanks for dropping by and take care!

      Reginald

  8. Hi Reginald,

    I just started building my list through MailChimp services as it seemed to be the best choice for free service. I never looked at the policies section but since you list here I am afraid to move forward with them; I don’t want to risk loosing my mailing list. However for spam email I have seen MailChimp recently trying to fix this as they have restrictions on adding email address manually unless imported from one of their trusted source (However you may have been adding spam email addresses on the original source before importing) Also I have seen that they have a feature to test how your email looks according to spam standards before you send it out. Not sure If I would continue with them in future but at the mean time they are the best option.

    • Hi Qasim,

      Thanks for commenting. MailChimp is still very good especially when it comes to free email marketing services. No doubt on that. What I can’t understand is about the policy. I mean, I think the policy is a little harsh but I understand that they are doing this to protect their business. I believe MailChimp will not take action to delete accounts etc unless there’s a complain lodged.

      Being said that, I don’t like the feeling of insecure and thus, that’s why I rather go for AWeber instead. Each has their own pro and cons so, you got to decide which best fits your need.

      Have a great Monday!

      Reginald

  9. Do you think it would be safe to use mail chimp if just providing links to blog posts on my site where the posts themselves contain affiliate links? Obviously a lot of e-mail marketers put affiliate links right in their e-mails, I’m just wondering if it’s worth switching from GetResponse to save myself some money each month if I can abide by MailChimp’s rules.

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for commenting and welcome to my humble site!

      Personally I uses MailChimp and I had absolutely zero issues with them. However, due to this, I had no choice but to use it on my other blogs which doesn’t sell anything. Here’s the thing; they are still keeping a blind eye (or ear) at this. However, this doesn’t mean that they will not take action. Possibly they will take action when someone complains. Other than that, your list would still be safe.

      I have yet to use GetResponse so I can’t comment on much. You may want to consider Benchmark email as they serve free emails like MailChimp. Read their T&C first as I haven’t have the time to do so!

      *p/s will reply to your email by today.

      Talk to you soon John!

  10. You forgot to add their absolutely TERRIBLE customer service. I manage a list for a charity of over 22K email recipients and we send emails weekly. Because we’re a charity there are items in the CAN-SPAM act that don’t apply to us. But that doesn’t matter to Mailchimp. The two times I had a problem and they suspended sending from our account, I could only contact via email and it took days to get the issue resolved through slow-response back-and-forth emails. The second time, they didn’t even respond to my email. I moved straight over to AWeber – haven’t looked back since!

  11. My biggest complaint with Mailchimp is how they organize (or should I say DON’T organize) your contacts. You can have multiple lists, but if you have the same contact on multiple lists, it counts as two subscribers. Since pricing is based on subscribers, this isn’t fair.

    Also, if I want to send the same email to multiple lists, I can’t do it without scheduling two completely separate campaigns. If a user is on both lists, they get the same email twice. And, if someone has multiple email addresses, there is no way to add them to the same contact profile.

    To address this issue, Mailchimp says to put all your contacts in one master list and group them into segments. However, by doing this, when someone unsubscribes, they unsubscribe from all emails, not just the segment.

    As some have mentioned, their customer service isn’t great either – slow emailing back and forth with no ‘real’ answers, just links to a page on their site that somewhat addresses the issue.

  12. IT’S A TRAP!…. Sort of. Let’s say you have 3000 customers and 2000 unsubscribed. You still pay for 3000! What’s worse is they start off very small. Then the jump between 2300 and 2500 list jumps from $35/mo to $50/mo!! What?

    Then I tried credits. I tried sending a newsletter to 3k people. Not THAT many. They wanted to charge $80. It’s complete BS.

    Here’s what you do. Use them for free for list, organizing, API, and templates. EXPORT templates html and use another service like SendBlaster with Spark post (more or less free). Once you have the rhythm down, it’s only a 10 minute loss to save up to $200/mo!

    Since they do have an API I bet there’s even easier ways that connect directly to MC.

  13. It doesn’t start well on the majority of email platforms when you go onto their websites, over 10 and upwards to over 100 cookies (including third parties) grab personal data which shoes little respect for consent based data privacy. This means as i’m the data controller of my lists but as soon as these companies get them, i have lost control and therefore failed to look after the data that was entrusted to me. Choose carefully who you hand over data to both from a business but also legal perspective.

  14. I’ll be sticking with MailChimp since they offer a truly free option for us tiny publishers and content creation. Have zero income coming from my site, I’m not in a position to spend any money whatsoever.

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