Scheduled Maintenance: Saturday, October 1
Update: MailChimp v2.2 is live. On to the next set of improvements!
Just a heads-up that starting Saturday, October 1 at 3am EST (midnight PST), we'll be upgrading the MailChimp system to v2.2.
MailChimp services will not be available during the upgrades, but if all goes well, we should be back up and running on Monday, Oct. 3, at 9am EST.
If you have a "mission critical" campaign that absolutely positively must be delivered this weekend, contact us.
MailChimp v2.2 Update
So a couple users have called us out on the fact that we're a little behind on launching v2.2. Guess it's time for an update...
We finished programming on August 1, and have been conducting user testing (video cameras, one-way mirrors, brain-scanners, those suction-cup heart monitor thingies, the works).
We uncovered most of the inevitable interface issues and are working on miscellaneous refinements (font tags and hyperlinks), plus the obligatory help docs.
Any brave souls that want to help us beta test can contact us here. We'll give you plenty of email credits (plus the most awesomely cool MailChimp coffee mug). But we'd need someone with the time to really evaluate things and send us lots of feedback.
Here's a quick summary of what's going to be different in v2.2:
- List Management: Users who don't already have their own list management system will finally be able to upload their customer list into MailChimp, and we'll manage unsubscribes, bounce cleaning, etc. for that list. We unsubscribe hard bounces automatically, and allow 3 soft bounces (such as out-of-office autoreplies) before we unsubscribe those members.
- List Setup Wizard & Control Panel: We created a super quick, 5 minute wizard for getting your database setup. Once you finish the wizard, you can go to the "List Control Panel" to tweak your settings.
- Customizable Templates: You'll be able to customize all the code and emails exactly how you want (our users are control freaks, and we're proud of that!). You can also code subscribe forms on your own website, and just link to our system.
- Export Lists: Export your member list from MailChimp as an Excel file. We also store unsubscribed members as a seperate list for download (in case your or your client's company stores a global do-not-contact list somewhere).
- Double Opt-in: If you manage a list on our system, we use the double opt-in process. It's quickly becoming the best practice for managing lists, and helps ensure CAN-SPAM compliance.
- Quick Stats Calculations: Some users have pointed out that we should count unique opens "among only those users that actually received the email." Basically, we're going to subtract "bounced addresses" from "total sent" before calculating uniques.
There are a bunch of other minor changes, but we'll send full details in an email to all members when we launch. Which reminds me, if you haven't already opted-in to receive MailChimp updates, sign in to MailChimp and check the little box under "Account/Contact Information"
Organizing Your Design Business
Just discovered "Return of Design," a great website for designers and creative agencies. There's a great discussion there about software and tools that agencies can use to organize their businesses. Links to applications for time tracking, contact management, project management, and task lists.
Are "Postcard" Emails Better?
MarketingSherpa just published an interesting case study from J.Jill on how they tested 2 different types of html email campaigns. One was the typical format with lots of thumbnails, text descriptions, and links. The other was a simple "postcard" style email, with a large graphic at the top, and a simple link over to the website. Interesting results, so you might want to test your campaigns in the same way. Check out the article soon, because it's locked down after September 25th.
Email Servers Breaking CSS in HTML Email
We designed an HTML email for one of our clients, and noticed that the CSS broke when we checked it from home (sometimes). Luckily, we design with CSS to fail gracefully, so the email didn't look bad. But still, we had to find out what was breaking our CSS---it was driving us crazy!
Turns out the culprit was all the "periods" in our CSS code...
Some email servers (not MailChimp's) do weird stuff if you start a line in your HTML email with a period. We think they interpret those lines as email header information, and they actually reformat your CSS code!
For instance, code like this:
would get turned into this:
(note the period in front of .small was removed)
It seemed to be happening only when we checked email through a Comcast account, but we imagine any ISP could be doing this as well.
In order to prevent this from happening again, we just inserted a space at the beginning of every line in our CSS. Things worked brilliantly after that. If anyone else has had this experience, or can provide more insight, please do.
MailChimp Wins WebAward
Cool, we just found out that MailChimp won the 2005 Webaward for "Best Application Service Provider." Now that he's had a little taste of winning, the 'chimp is blood-thirsty for more awards and trophies, and he will not stop until he's won them all. Now if only we could win a Webby like that awesomely cool Peter Pan dude...
Everyone Loves Monkeys
Our good friend Matt tells us that ever since he stuck one of our MailChimp business cards on his fridge, his twin boys point and yell out, "It's Maaaaailchiiiiiimp!!!" whenever they walk into the kitchen.
"Too adorable to be true" we told him, so he sent us this movie as proof (350k with sound).
That completes Phase 1 of our master plan. Phase 2: Hypnotize all the children in the world to chant, "Buuuy mooore Maaaiiilchiiimp credits..."
Chimps and Beer Contest (update)
Kevin Bolduan from Pivot + Levy was first to submit (and his card was hilarious), so he technically won the contest. But this is like, the 3rd contest that he's won (he wishes we ran the lottery in his state), so we're also going to give a prize to the 2nd runner up: Tommaso, at Thinkseed (that's Tomasso's amazing Photoshoppery you see to the right).
We'll post some of our favs shortly. Thanks again everybody!
Build Useful Stuff, Get Filthy Stinking Rich
We just had to post this awesome presentation (PDF format) from Wil Shipley (creator of OmniGraffle) to a group of aspiring young programmers. It's a nerdspirational story from a dude that dared to be a little different, built some useful/simple/efficient tools, and came out on top.