Why You Should Not Buy a Self-Hosted Autoresponder

Autoresponders – Why Not Host It Yourself?

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

autrorespondersI’m on the mailing list for a number of Internet marketers, and every week, I receive messages about the latest and greatest “must have” Internet marketing products.

One type of product that I’m seeing offers for increasingly often is for a self-hosted autoresponder.

What’s an autoresponder?  I’ve written a lengthy article about autoresponders here. (new window)

In short, and autoresponder is a service that allows you to create and manage a mailing list.  It lets you collect names and email addresses and allows you to send messages to your list whenever you wish.

There’s an old saying in Internet marketing – “The Money Is In The List.”  It means that if you have a Website that sells products, you can make money selling them, but if you have a list of customers, you can market to them over and over.

A properly managed mailing list can be profitable, and there are some marketers that have lists of more than 100,000 customers.

With an autoresponder, sending email to 100,000 people is no more difficult than sending a message to a single recipient.  You just type up the message, select “all” recipients in your autoresponder’s dashboard, select the time you want the message to be sent, and click “send.”

Problems with Commercial Autoresponders

Anyone who is serious about making money online will make use of an autoresponder in order to build a mailing list.  I’ve got one; and if you sign up for my list, you’ll receive messages automatically from mine.

Commercial autoresponder services are Web-based; you log in at their Website and do all of your business there.  They store your mailing list and your email messages and they use their email service to send the messages out.

What people don’t like about them is that they cost money, and sometimes a lot of money.

Most autoresponder services charge a subscription fee – you pay a monthly price to use them.  Most are not particularly expensive, but most of them charge based on the size of your mailing list.

wa_banner

GetResponse, perhaps the best-known of these companies, charges as little as $15 per month, which most people would agree is reasonable.

But if you have a list of 100,000 people, the cost is $1200 per month!

That’s a lot of money!

Self-hosted Autoresponders

That’s where self-hosted autoresponders come in, and I’ve been seeing a lot of advertising for them lately.

Instead of subscribing to a service, you install a self-hosted autoresponder on your own desktop computer, and you use your own email account or Web hosting service to send the messages out.

Instead of paying a monthly subscription fee, you pay a one-time fee to license the software.  I received a sales pitch for such a product last week, and the asking price was $42.

That’s $42 one time, as opposed to up to $1200 per month.

Yes, that’s a big savings, and I’m sure that the product, called Sendiio, is doing quite well in terms of sales, as the thought of paying just once, rather than every month, is appealing.

In my opinion, however, you should never use a self-hosted autoresponder.

Why not?  You’ll safe a bundle, right?

Maybe.  And maybe not.

Why not?  Spam email.

email deliveryMost of the better-known autoresponder companies have been doing business for years.  They have hundreds or thousands of customers and they send out millions of email messages every single day.

These companies are not only well known in the Internet marketing community, but they’re well known among Web hosting companies, as well.

These companies have established relationships with the larger Internet Service Providers to make sure that those providers actually deliver those millions of email messages to their customers, rather than marking them as spam and discarding them.

Part of these agreements is that the autoresponder services agree to take steps to ensure that they are not sending out spam email messages and those companies create policies for their paying customers to ensure that the messages they send out conform to the law.

If you have a subscription with an autoresponder service, you’ll agree not to send out spam and you’ll usually have to agree to what is known as “double opt-in.”

When someone signs up for your mailing list, they’ll receive an email message asking them to click a link to confirm that they want to have their name added to the list.

So it’s not enough to simply sign up; you also have to confirm that you asked to sign up.

This prevents people from just randomly adding the email addresses of strangers to their email lists.  With double opt-in, only people who confirm that they want to be on the list are added.

When you have a self-hosted autoresponder, you don’t have to require double opt-in for your mailing list.  You may if you like, but you don’t have to, and you’ll get a larger mailing list if you only ask people to sign up, rather than asking them to sign up and confirm.

But you’re likely to run into problems when you start sending out email messages in bulk, and you’re going to encounter two kinds of problems:

spamProblems with your Web Host – Most Web hosting companies don’t expect their customers to be sending out thousands of email messages on a regular basis.

When your host sees that you’re suddenly sending out thousands of email messages when you used to only send out a few messages per day, they’re likely to assume that you’re either a spammer, or that your account has been compromised by someone who is a spammer.

Your Web host may shut down your account.

Problems with email delivery – Since you don’t have a relationship with the major Internet Service Providers, such as Google, Comcast, Verizon or AOL, your bulk mailings may be seen by the hosting companies of your recipients as spam.

What happens then?  They’ll likely just block delivery, and you’ll start to receive hundreds or thousands of messages from those companies telling you that they did not deliver your messages because they consider them to be unsolicited commercial email, or spam.

You’ll be blocked, and that is that.  You won’t be able to send messages to those companies again.

Solutions to the delivery problem

trafficwaveSince there’s no point in sending email that won’t get delivered, you must have an autoresponder that can ensure delivery to your customers.

The Sendiio product that I heard about last week had a solution for that – you can use their own SMTP service to send out your messages….

…for a monthly fee.

At that point, this self-hosted autoresponder becomes a subscription model, just like all of the other ones out there.

If that’s the case, why not just get a subscription autoresponder and be done with it?  You’ll be doing business with a company that has a history of reliable delivery and you won’t have to worry about it.

You can do this without spending a fortune, too.  The company that I use, Trafficwave, has a single low monthly price that covers a mailing list of any size.

I’ve been using them for years, and they deliver my messages reliably, and the price is low enough that it’s affordable for just about anyone.

You can read my review of the Trafficwave autoresponder here.

You can visit the Trafficwave Website here.

Sometimes, what looks like a bargain can turn out to be wasted money.  If you’re going to use a self-hosted autoresponder system, that’s what’s likely to happen.

wa_banner2

Retargeting – Ads That Follow You Around

Retargeting – Are You Being Followed?

retargetingIf you’re like most people, you probably make a lot of purchases online.  For some things, you’ll buy right away.  I regularly buy coffee beans from Amazon, and when I go there, I click and make the purchase.  For other items, however, I might search, ponder, and decide to come back later if I’m not ready to make a purchase right away.  Often, when I do that, I’ll find myself seeing ads on nearly every site I visit for the very item I was looking at, or at least something very similar to that.  Retargeting is the name that describes the process that makes that happen.

If you haven’t experienced retargeting yet, you just need to pay a bit more attention to the ads that appear in your browser.  I even see it on eBay; when I look at an eBay listing but don’t buy, I’ll often see sponsored ads for something similar on subsequent pages that I visit on the site.  How does  work?  What does it do, exactly?  Read on for more about retargeting.

Continue reading

Pay Per View Advertising – PPC With a Twist

Pay Per View Advertising – What is it?

pay per view advertisingIn the world of affiliate marketing, success is entirely dependent upon attracting visitors to your Website, landing page or sales page.  Without traffic, you’re not going to make any money.   I’ve written a lot about getting traffic through search engine optimization, or SEO, but I haven’t spent a lot of time talking about paid traffic, or the methods for obtaining it.  That’s partly because I don’t use paid traffic much, but it’s also because I imagine that most of the visitors to my site are on a budget.  Still, I try to cover everything, so today I’m going to write a post about pay per view advertising, or PPV advertising, as it’s commonly known.
Continue reading

Keyword Research – Building Your Site for SEO

Keyword Research – Building the Site Your Visitors Want

There are a number of different ways to build a Website and to create content.  If you’re creating a blog, such as this site, you can write about whatever you want.  People may, or may not, find what you’re writing about, but if you’re truly passionate about what you have to say, it may not matter if you have readers or not.  You just might want to say your piece and be happy that it’s out there.  Most of us, however, want to have visitors to our site, especially if we’re trying to make money online.  Getting visitors is an important part of that, and that’s where keyword research comes in.

keyword research 101Keyword research is about finding things to write about that are relevant to what your visitors want to see.  There are lots of ways that I could find topics to write about here, but I try to write about topics that are of interest to people who want to work online from home.  I use various methods to decide what it is I want to write about on any given day, but I always have to spend some time deciding what those topics are going to be, and I usually try to make those topics something that I know will be of interest to fellow affiliate marketers.

Continue reading

Types of Web Hosting – What Do You Need?

Web Hosting – Which Type is Best?

In order to create a Website with WordPress, or any other type of Website software, you’re going to need Web hosting.  I’ve talked about this before; Web hosting is simply rental of drive space on a computer that is connected to the Internet.  When you upload the files that make up your Website to a Web hosting company’s server, your site will be publicly accessible from the Internet.  It’s a basic service that every Website needs, and there are many options available for how to obtain Web hosting – some are free, some are inexpensive, and some cost hundreds of dollars a month, but all have their advantages and disadvantages.

web hostingWhen you’re starting out in your attempts to work online from home, you’re likely going to be on a budget, and you’re going to want to start out as inexpensively as possible.  That makes sense, but the cheapest possible option may not serve you well.  What you want to find is the Web hosting plan that works best for you, given your budget.  Saving money for the sake of being cheap won’t necessarily help you, and neither will buying a more powerful or robust Web hosting plan than you actually need.  Below, I’ll go over some basic options to help you decide which type of Web hosting may work best for you and your budget.

Continue reading

Using Pretty Link for Affiliate Links

Pretty Link – Tidy Affiliate Links

Today I’m going to talk about a WordPress plugin called Pretty Link.  One of the problems with affiliate marketing is handling affiliate links.  In order to keep track of who is referring visitors to a product’s sales page, it’s essential for sellers and merchants to give each affiliate a unique link that indicates to their Website who referred a visitor to them.  That way, should someone make a purchase, the appropriate affiliate can get credit (and commission!) for the sale.

Continue reading

WordPress Installation and How to Set it Up

WordPress – Your Site’s Foundation

If you’re going to work online from home, you’re going to need a place to do business.  Once you’ve found a marketing niche, a domain name and a hosting company, you’ll need a Website, and a WordPress installation can be done in a snap.  Years ago, building a Website required learning HTML and creating the pages manually by writing all of the code in a text editor, such as Notepad. It could take hours to create a single page.  A few years later, software developers came up with What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editors that had a drag-and-drop interface and worked like a word processor.  These programs, such as Dreamweaver, Front Page and NetObjects Fusion, ruled the Web for nearly a decade before WordPress was developed.  Released in 2003, WordPress is an open source blogging platform that’s configurable as a blog, Website or pretty much whatever you want it to be.

wordpress logoA WordPress installation is easily done manually, but since most people won’t have to do that, I won’t get into the details.  There’s a great five minute WordPress installation video here if you want to see how to do it the hard way.  The hard method of WordPress installation, as it happens, only takes about five minutes itself, but there’s an even faster way to get a WordPress installation.  Most Webhosts today include a program called Fantastico in their Web hosting packages, and Fantastico allows you do your Wordpress installation in about sixty seconds.

Continue reading

Web Hosting – An Essential Tool

Web Hosting – Where Your Site Lives

The next step in the list of things to do after picking a marketing niche and a domain name is deciding on Web hosting.   What’s Web hosting?  Websites on the Internet don’t exist in space; sites are actually collections of files, and those files need to reside on a hard drive on a computer somewhere.  You don’t want them on just any computer, however; you want to have them on a computer that’s connected to the Internet, so that potential customers can visit them.

web hosting serverThere’s more to Web hosting than that, though.  There are a lot of support programs and security features that need to be installed on such a machine, which is usually known as a Web server.  Web servers need to be able to provide Web pages to visitors who want to see them, but they also need to keep out hackers, have a good backup infrastructure so that the sites can stay online 24/7 and come with reliable tech support in the event that something should go wrong.

Continue reading