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Constant Contact Review

27 December 2008

I have used Constant Contact for several years across several clients. I send out hundreds of thousands of messages every week to professionals in the insurance field (agents and brokers) and legal field (lawyers and expert witnesses). I find the service generally good, but I have a problem with their policies.

I never used the templates provided by Constant Contact. All of my clients use their own custom designs. I find it easy to upload and manage the different designs. Constant Contact treats the design, the list of contacts to receive the mail and scheduling information as a unit. I think it would be easier if the design were saved on its own and could be associated with a list at the time it's scheduled (the system used by Endai Worldwide), but Constant Contact's architecture is easy enough to get used to.

Even though the service is technically among the best, I cannot recommend Constant Contact, unless you can tolerate a sudden, non-appealable termination of your services. Constant Contact is very strict about spam complaints. Constant Contact allows only one spam report per 1000 addreses in your list. It doesn't take too many people having a bad day to get your list banned. At that point, you can never send email to that list again. There is no flexibility on this, even if you escalate to a supervisor (I've tried).

As an example, I have a client that sends out a large number of emails to expert witnesses on a weekly basis, and has been doing so for over a year at Constant Contact. The list is very mature (it was used for about two years with another provider, prior to Constant Contact) and gets very few complaints. We recently moved a small list of a couple thousand addresses from another service to Constant Contact. The first time we sent to this list, we got a few spam complaints (not unusual when switching services) and, as explained to me by Constant Contact tech support, a single person compained directly to their ISP. This single complaint caused that entire list to get banned. Because that list is banned, we are not able to consolidate on Constant Contact as a single provider, so we will have to look elsewhere.

While Constant Contact's user interface is better than most, their deliverability is not noticeably better than other providers.

Constant Contact does not offer an autoresponder, but their report does tell you, on a link-by-link basis, the email address of any recipient that clicked on a link.

We have quite a bit of experience in e-mail marketing. We send out hundreds of thousands of messages each week to seasoned opt-in lists on behalf of numerous clients. If you are a professional firm, sending e-mails to other professionals, we can probably help you. Give us a call: 973-796-2820.

 


Comments

Matt says:
22 August 2013 at 5:50 PM
There are tons of better services out there like www.mailchimp.com for newsletters or www.e-blasting.com for email and sms promotions.
8307c4 says:
22 August 2013 at 11:25 AM
Yeah I mean, "constact contact," doesn't take a stroke of genius for me to understand that means SPAM!
Kristen Bissontz says:
2 August 2010 at 10:07 PM
We've recently had to walk away from CC. Their reasons for shutting us down was that our list was "too old" since we have email addresses on there from 2004. We were told that we would have to remove all of our contacts and start from scratch. We've spent 6 years building relationships with clients, customers, and colleagues who have all asked to be on our list-our opt in and opt out numbers were quite large-we can see upwards of 15,000 people at trade shows- from month to month. We are in the process of finding another provider since constant contact's request was unreasonable-they wanted us to provide the documentation from the opted in subscribers from 4+ years ago. The customer support people were not helpful, were condescending, and kept asking "Are you SURE you didn't get a 3rd party list?". Yes. I'm sure. We run 5 accounts/clients through CC and we are pulling all of them to another provider. Currently looking at iContact, MailerMailer, and others. Hope to have better service elsewhere.
Wai Lau says:
21 June 2010 at 12:49 AM
Michael B,

This is what exactly happened to me, they i got 7 spam out of 5000 emails that i sent and they supended my account, i ended up cancel the service, i think they don't even care.
Derek Leung says:
20 June 2010 at 11:55 PM
I believe their service is way overcharge, and i hate the big logo at my email for them to advistising themselve and you can't remove it i will not recommend. Just a waste of your time.
Michael B says:
9 June 2010 at 8:04 AM
I too am getting rather annoyed with Constant Contact. We have a pretty small e-commerce website with around 18,000 contacts we email once or twice a month, sometimes more. Last email had 20 spam reports, going over their 1 per 1000. Now my account has been flagged and I have to call them and talk to one of their "professionals" AGAIN...3rd time in less than a year. We're slowly trying to refine our process for getting quality contacts (it's 100% opt in, but some people opt in and two weeks later report us for spam when they get their first email from us - just he nature of email marketing unfortunately)....unfortunatly, CC doesn't realize this. Now I have to take 45 minutes of MY time and talk to one of their reps. To their credit, the people I speak with there are always friendly and nice, I'm just getting tired having to call them every couple months. What a joke. I highly recommend going with another service.
Tatum says:
17 May 2010 at 11:21 AM
I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.
MoneyStance Reviews says:
17 May 2010 at 12:56 AM
Thank you for your review of Constant Contact. We appreciate you sharing your opinion and doing the research needed to fairly evaluate this email marketing service. We’ve read quite a bit of positive reviews of the site, but we especially appreciate how you disclosed that Constant Contact only allows one spam report per 1000 addresses. We have seen fit to link to this article in our independent Constant Contact Reviews section. http://www.moneystance.com/constant-contact-reviews

Anyhow, keep up the good work spreading truth.
AA says:
9 May 2010 at 5:59 AM
I couldn't agree more. I spent over 4 hours today putting together one of their templates plus uploading a mail list just to have them suspend my account because 1!! person complained that my mailing was spam. Customer Service left much to be desired and took the attitude that it was my fault and that I had to be up to no good by using email addresses that weren't opted into my list. They flat out accused me of it. Over 1 spam report!! I wish I had seen these reviews prior because I never would have gone with Constant Contact in the first place. Good going Constant Contact because you just lost my business.
J.B. says:
16 April 2010 at 6:51 PM
Yep, me too. Uploaded a list of email addresses from many trade shows I have done, and they said the entire list had to go on the Do Not Email list - permanently. They said there were emails on that list that would never have been provided (spam@xxx.com, xxx@criagslist.org). While that may be true, these are the emails I got from scanning badges at many trade shows.

Worse still, they said no appeals, no supervisor to speak to, it is that simple, and "good luck in your future endevours." Unbelievable! Well, fuck 'em.
Carol says:
23 March 2010 at 6:40 PM
Renata,

I'm glad you were given a refund. I had a similar situation and Constant Contact did the same to me but since I prepaid for another 6 months, they will not refund my $ stating it is because it was a discounted plan? What? I am stuck with a useless program. Money down the drain. Unbelievable. Thanks for the link and I'll check that service.
Renata Loudon says:
16 March 2010 at 12:18 PM
I was using Constant Contact for the last year with no problem and then I added a list of clients and business inquiries to account. During the first email blast of 3800 contacts my account was flagged and they started telling me my list was aged and I had to only use current emails. I said no thanks, refund my money and terminate my service. It was the best thing to happen. I am using an new service that is far superior and less expensive. Their permissions are in line with my client base and business inquiries. You can get more information at http://ymlp.com?a=6CZTNE and you can see how it works on my website at www.shoredreams.net
Chris says:
7 February 2010 at 2:12 AM
I have to say that Constant Contact's customer service is extremely poor. I agree with the other posters here in that they seem to want to push people away more than anything! In terms of spam, they pretty much assume you are up to no good off the bat. My requests for technical help (after having looked through the forums) were ignored, and the customer support person was rude and unhelpful. I got banned- and I was only testing. I didn't even have a list loaded. Save yourself the hassle- find another- any other- email marketing program.
Conference Call Providers says:
31 January 2010 at 11:48 PM
Email marketing has been very popular nowadays. In fact, many email marketers said that each subscriber will bring average $1/month.

In writing this review, have you thought of comparing Constant Contact with other email marketing companies? You said Constant Contact doesn't offer an autoresponder? You can only send broadcast to your mailing list but not having sequenced mails going out?
tmurzens says:
8 January 2010 at 8:53 AM
Tom,

I have been using Streamsend.com on a daily basis. The list is pretty large - at least tens of thousands of names - and several years old. I've been getting good results.

Depending on what your capabilities are, I love the services provided by LuxSci.com. They offer a high-volume SMTP service for DIY-ers.
Tom B. says:
8 January 2010 at 8:42 AM
Thomas,

I appreciate very much your feedback on Constant Contact. We have had the same issue - used a list of 4,000 account holders on our website that had specifically opted in to receive marketing/news emails and 5 of them called our email SPAM, so we are shut down. So, for someone else who is having issues with CC's strict policies, which specific alternate services providers would you recommend?

Thanks in advance.
keyword helpers says:
30 December 2009 at 1:38 AM
myself and friends all have had the same problem with constant contact. We buy optin lists but since there bounce rates are 20-30 percent we get tons of problems with constant contact and then they just end up shutting us down. There is plenty of other legit ways to get inbox to make such a big deal out of this!
Thomas Murzenski says:
17 October 2009 at 6:01 AM
That's the theory - in reality, not so much. I use three or four different email providers and have done "head-to-head" tests - I did not find Constant Contact to be better than their competitors.
eve isk says:
17 October 2009 at 5:58 AM
The strict guidelines actually work in your favor buddy. Nice article btw, looking forward to hear more from you
Joe says:
29 September 2009 at 10:54 AM
Dear Constant Contact, I am very upset with your company. We have done a dozen newsletters over the past year, and send to currently 5401 contacts a month. Over the past three months your company has been impossible to work with. I received 15 spam reports from a recent mailing, to people who typed their name on my site, opt in, and you guys cancelled my account. Maybe these were competitors looking to shut me down. Well, they succeeded. And you helped.

As your company pushes customers like me away, you will realize the powers that small companies yield. Word travels quickly, and we will together locate another, more customer service focused provider.

From a leter to constant contact ownership.
Thomas Murzenski says:
22 August 2009 at 1:35 AM
John,

Thank you for your comments. The email that caused the problem would have looked indistinguishable to the recipients - same type of subject line, same From, same kind of content. Constant Contact told me one single person complained to their ISP, so I could never use that entire list. No appeals, no working with me. I don't see how an "extreme" problem could have been caused by a single email.

I work with numerous email providers. I don't agree that their policies make their delivery rate much better than anybody else's. They are pretty much average, from my testing.

There is really not relationship with the mail recipients. They sign up to get a newsletter and we send it. The newsletter is factual and pertinent to their business. It's a niche product aimed at a specific audience - it's not intended to be for everybody.
John Riley says:
21 August 2009 at 11:24 PM
Constant Contact does have an autoresponder - it's really hidden though. Once you log in you need to click "Emails" then "Autoresponder". I know it's really hard to understand that an autoresponder being a type of email..would be in the emails section...

As for getting the list banned. Constant Contact says ahead of time 1/1000 is their guideline for spam complaints, however if you go over it is not an instant removal from their service. Furthermore, unless the spam complaints and direct ISP complaints are extreme, they will work with you to help reduce your complaints and keep you within their guidelines.

In addition, the strict guidelines actually work in your favor. Their anti-spam policy ensures that only quality mail is sent off of their server, and since all customers send off the same set of servers, other customers solid reputation and sending history ensure that your mail will not be blocked by most ISP and mail service providers. If they did not have strict guidelines your mail would not be delivered.

I would be interested to see if you had used best practices when you transferred your list over from the prior service to constant contact. This includes using the permission reminder, recognized from name, and a quality subject line.

Lastley, if someone was angry enough to take the time to call an ISP to complain about your spam, either you did not have as good of a relationship with your customers as you thought, or you did not present yourself in a way that they recognize you.
Writing jobs says:
12 August 2009 at 1:23 AM
I agree with you that Constant Contact isn't much better than anything else out there. Good review.

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