This is just a short note to withdraw a recommendation that I made a year or two ago about the Zookoda email service.
When they first came out Zookoda was a dream come true for me – a free service that enabled bloggers to built a newsletter subscriber base, convert RSS to email etc. It took what Feedburner offers with their RSS to email subscriptions a step (or a few steps) further as it allows you to configure and design your emails. I’ve been using it on a weekly basis for 18 months to deliver newsletters to readers.
When it launched it was in beta and a little buggy but the support team was pretty good at fixing problems as they came up.
However since it was sold to PayPerPost (now known as IZEA) I’ve noticed the service becoming more buggy and the customer service seems to be decreasing. I’ve had problems with deliverability (for a while there it wouldn’t deliver emails to anyone with a yahoo email address – I have thousands of subscribers using them), emails regularly are not sent and I’ve noticed more downtime and slowness with the site.
This week I’ve had two emails queued to be sent for 36 hours now and they haven’t gone. I’ve attempted to reset them myself – but still they don’t go.Emails to their ‘contact us’ form have gone unanswered. Emails to my customer service manager have not been replied to (she’s previously been quite good). I’d understand this if it were the weekend and wouldn’t mind so much if this were an occasional occurrence – but it seems that it’s become an issue that happens every second week. update: just as I hit publish on this I got an email from one of their staff. The latest problem isn’t fixed yet – but they’re working on it. Having said this – it’s an ongoing pattern. I send an email, it doesn’t go, I email and complain, they work on it, it eventually goes.
Email newsletters have become a central part of my blogging and I can’t afford an unreliable service any more. I’ve hung in there to give the new owners time to improve the service – but if anything it’s gone backwards.
As a result I can’t in good faith continue to recommend Zookoda any more.
My emotions in saying this are sadness mixed with a little anger.
Sadness because it’s a product that I think had (and still has) a lot of potential – if only it would reliably do what it say.
Anger because I’ve invested time and energy both into promoting the product in it’s early days and building up my own subscriber base who use it (I have three lists with a combined total of 62,000 subscribers). I will now need to find another service and attempt to migrate these across (and in the process am sure to lose many of them as reputable service require you to get users to opt in to them – even though you’ve already done this previously.
Lastly – I’d like to ask readers who they use to deliver their email newsletters?
I’ve used AWeber previously and will probably go with them but what other services do you recommend? I’m looking for the ability to send weekly emails (html) to multiple lists with high reliability and as much ease of use as possible.
Update: after 5 days of waiting for my last newsletters to go (and having tried to reset them 4 times each now) I’m still no closer to my readers getting their weekly update. Readers have been emailing/complaining and I’m sick of it. On the positive side of things – I’ve had a number of other email service providers contact me to offer their services and hope to transition to a new service in the coming weeks.