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Zookoda Move to Manually Approve Broadcasts

Over at the Zookoda blog they’ve announced in the last day or two that they’re now going to manually approve all broadcasts to combat spammers. This means that before your emails go out a staff member at Zookoda are going to have to eyeball it and give it a tick of approval.

While I understand the spam problem – I’ve never seen any other service like this go that route.

This will impact those publishers sending one off emails most and I suspect will hurt those not in the US time zone and those who send emails on weekends (my experience with Zookoda is that they only work week days in US business hours.

I recently wrote about how I don’t recommend Zookoda any more – and this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

I’ve been chatting to a helpful contact at Aweber and in the new year and transferring my lists to there. While it’s a paid service my previous experience with them shows that it’s reliable, has a high deliverability rate (my last email with Zookoda bounced with over 40% of recipients) and is continuing to innovate.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Craig says:

    That truly is madness! Surely they need to be spending that time actually improving existing services. Like you and many respondents to your last post on zookoda, I’m in the process of shifting my databases away to other providers.

    At present, it looks like nouri.sh is going to fit the bill for me — rebroadcasting RSS feeds.

  2. Yes thats really dont look good, i use getresponse and works great for me!

  3. Mannualy approve it all? they are crazy..

  4. Martin Jones says:

    I’d be interested in how your move to Aweber goes. I had planned to move there but had some issues.

    One of my sites has been around since 2001 and has a list of about 4000 subs. I email this list every other week and delete bounces, etc, so it’s a clean list however; Aweber said the subs were old and invalid ( which I can promise they are not) and I would no be able to upload it to their system. Their only suggestion was to pretty much start a new over. (my interpretation)

    It’s too bad because it looks like a great service and the pricing is more than reasonable. They also mentioned sending emails and reminders about the move to all of my subs. If you’ve ever tried to move subs from one service to another using this method, you know the results can be painful.

    While I can understand them wanting to protect the integrity of their site and servers, it seems like there should be some way to facilitate this.

    For someone who doesn’t have this issue, Aweber is the way to go. For now, until I can figure something else out, it looks like I’ll try Feedblitz.

  5. Kelvin Kao says:

    Hm, this could create a lot of delay. On the other hand, I actually appreciate video sites like Revver and Metacafe that actually manually filter their contents…

  6. Yes, I used to use Zoodoka. It had such potential. As with you though about half of the emails bounced, and every couple of weeks it would just stop sending the emails.

    I am now with feedblitz and I have to say they are superb – I can just sit back and let it do all the work without having to worry!

  7. Ben Cook says:

    I’ve been very happy with Aweber. I love the feature that allows you to integrate your blog and make a broadcast automatically every X number of posts. Very useful.

  8. Sounds like the the people at Zookoda like endless busy work. Who has that much time on their hands. Aweber looks pretty interesting. I’ll have to research more on them.

  9. Brad V. says:

    Wow! So now Zookoda will be even more inefficient – I didn’t think that was possible. I dropped them a while back because lots of my subscribers weren’t getting their newsletters (I only sent it out once a month). I also didn’t like the user interface to plan, prepare and eventually send out an email.

    Like the Complete Geek above me said, who has that much time on their hands? I hope Zookoda employees like busy work!!!

  10. Darshana says:

    I think you are taking the wise decision, if its being giving you this much trouble. I am not much aware what are the best services to fill in but I have seen lot of people use Aweber so it must be pretty good, because I keep getting my newsletters.

    Going back to manual checking is a step back to stone age, you only help the objectives of the spammer, its much better to use new technology which won’t disrupt your service to true clients.

  11. Liz Strauss says:

    Hi Darren,
    I’m sorry to hear this too. They’re a great bunch of people, but they just can’t seem to get their “game” right.

  12. Hey Darren,

    Hmmm… good luck with Aweber. We were with them for well over a year and always very happy… they’re the best “autoresponder” email follow-up service we’ve tried. And they certainly have great delivery results.

    But since our main focus these days is email syndicating our blog content for AskDanAndJennifer.com, we ended up moving to FeedBlitz not long ago. THe Aweber blog syndication tool isn’t nearly as seamless. We had to manually edit every single post, and it was kind of a pain.

    Depending on your list size FeedBlitz costs just as much if not more than Aweber (new pricing structure at FeedBlitz recently).

    But FeedBlitz has the cleanest and most versatile blog-to-email function we’ve seen yet. It just works. We don’t have to spend time daily or weekly preparing these emails… their RSS syndicator just pulls down the latest entries, formats them nicely, and preps the email. Then it can auto-send it or I can send it on command – that’s been our preference lately since we can now even reorder the sequence of blog posts in the email, and the first one becomes the title of the message. :-)

    Oh, and unlike some of the other blog-to-email services (like Feedburner’s) you can also send out custom “broadcast” emails whenever you choose.

    We’ve been with FeedBlitz for about 4 months now and are quite happy with them. No way to know for sure what their delivery rate is, but we’re seeing an average of 30% open rate on our messages. Considering the custom nature of the subject lines (each message will appeal to a different subgroup of our audience), that’s not bad. Could be better, but not bad.

    Have an awesome day!
    Dan & Jennifer

  13. The approval process would have to kill through-put I’d think. You would think that a program could check bounces/un-subscribes to detect spammy messages, and then flag a manual review to determine if the account should continue/drop.

    I’ve seen this done with websites, why not e-mail processors.

  14. Carl Pruitt says:

    Unfortunately, such nitpicking is the way that aweber has kept their high deliverability rates. It does make the process a hassle if you didn’t start there to begin with!
    - Carl Pruitt

  15. I don’t get it, people are switching automatic and they (at Zookoda) are taking the reverse gear. It them who will be loosing not others. Maybe they get this and reverse their decision.

    Anyway good luck to them.

  16. Sonia Simone says:

    Aweber gets such consistent high marks for deliverability, which is the primary name of the game IMO. I’ll deal with a clunky interface if it means my mail gets through.

    I also realized shortly after I set up my list on Emma that I really need an autoresponder function, which Emma doesn’t have. And I notice that in a lot of replies to my email, my header’s been amended with [SPAM] which is just [ANNOYING]. I think that Aweber is more aggressive & successful about cultivating relationships with ISPs and ESPs.

  17. mbhunter says:

    I started having problems with Zookoda at the same time you did. I moved to another service. The service was reliable for a while but it was slightly clunky to figure out what to do to get things moving.

  18. SpicePuppy says:

    Zookoda is a great opportunity for spammers because it’s a free service, while AWeber users are generally very careful not to risk losing their account. Still, manually approving every message can’t possibly be a good idea.

  19. Rich Miller says:

    I built my mailing list using Zookoda, but switched to AWeber in September. I’m pretty impressed with AWeber thus far, and their delivery rates seem much better than Zookoda.

    I’m now using Feedblitz for my daily blog update emails and AWeber for a weekly newsletter with “beyond the blog” content, and I’m pleased with both services.

  20. Maya Norton says:

    Hmm, it doesn’t sound like they thought through their options that well. Especially if they are keeping strict US business hours. Bad call all around.

  21. Lane Lester says:

    For those who can afford to pay, there’s no doubt that Aweber is great. Losers like me have to find cheaper approaches. For regular newsletters, as opposed to autoresponder emails, I’ve had a good early experience with self-hosted NmnNewsletter. If you’re comfortable with FTP, get the download: http://freshmeat.net/redir/nmnnewsletter/68008/url_zip/NmnNewsletter1.0.7.zip
    There’s a good PDF manual that comes with it.

  22. They Must have been dinged by the RBL’s

  23. Donald says:

    Certainly, they have to be paying attention to this blog and all of our responses. Maybe they will take heed and seriously rework the system.

  24. Mike | Blog says:

    That’s going to be tough – weird decision!