Barracuda Central Lookup Tools
Maybe I've been out of touch for too long, but I just now noticed that BarracudaCentral has made their IP and domain lookup tools available to the public.
Sorry if it's old news, but this is totally new to me, and it's very good news. Before, there was no way to really confirm whether or not we (as an ESP) were being blocked by Barracuda, or if one of our customers just sent some spammy content in their campaign. Barracuda has always kept their doors shut, locked, and boarded up.
Now, if we suspect a problem, we can just look it up (getting a reply from them will still require some work, though. Those guys are busy).
If you have affiliates (or even rogue marketing departments) who send emails with your company's domain name in them, go lookup your domain and IP address now over at Barracuda Central to see if you've been blocked.
MailChimp's Live Chat With a King
Today, we had the great honor of live chatting with King Erediawa, of Benin Land. He initiated the live chat on MailChimp.com, and spoke with our customer service team. Apparently, the king was looking for an email inbox service. You know, so he could send business proposals to a few bazillion colleagues. When he realized we didn't offer inboxes, he still was kind enough to give us a chance to invest in his opportunity. For this reason alone, you should consider adding LivePerson chat to your website. This is a transcript of our chat with the king...
MailChimp: hello, how can i help you?
King Erediawa: Dont you have inbox to send mail from this site to other recipient?
MailChimp: we are not an inbox service
King Erediawa: ok
King Erediawa: well i just supcrime because i want to propose business to friends
King Erediawa: i dont even know you you will be intrested in the deal
MailChimp: what kind of deal?
King Erediawa: well since you guy do not manage inbox is of no use for me then.
King Erediawa: Partinership in business
MailChimp: what kind of business?
King Erediawa: Well self introduction. I am The King of Benin Land and owner of the following companies: Chairman CEO:(Dipson rubber industry)Chairman CEO: Menatep SBP Bank (A well reputable financial institution with its branches all over the world) SOURCE OF FUNDS:The documents of the above funds in question was handed over to me to be used in payment of an American oil merchant for his last oil dealwith my my company.
King Erediawa: I have an excess of US$116m usd (One hundred and Sixteen million United States Dollars), which I seek your partnership.You will be rewarded with 20% of the total sum for been a partner in this transaction.Can you be my partner on this transaction?
MailChimp: we may be interested in a partnership, do you have access to monkeys?
King Erediawa: Yes of cos
King Erediawa: Much Access to them
MailChimp: we're interested in families of monkeys
MailChimp: but they must be friendly monkeys
King Erediawa: I have thousans of them Even in suply. Please can you send me mail to my private email address and tell me your intress for ae to proceed?
MailChimp: we've had problems with cheap monkeys and we're looking for high quality mammals.
King Erediawa: I have all king of monkey in my factry Well Trains ok
King Erediawa: Send me mail to my private emil address at: email@example.com
MailChimp: are they ISO9000 certified?
King Erediawa: yes
King Erediawa: I have anough in my factry, All time
King Erediawa: i have king kong but is still yong
MailChimp: can they be Microsoft Gold Certified?
King Erediawa: i still have other mighty monkeys that can even do whatever i ask them to do
MailChimp: how can you ship the monkeys to us?
King Erediawa: How you do you mean you want to see them through here?
King Erediawa: that why i told you to send us and email then we get back to you without delay
King Erediawa: but if i can ask, What about my inicial proposal, Are intrested in that,
King Erediawa: ?
MailChimp: we had a bad experience with the last King we spoke with, he did not deliver the monkeys as promised
King Erediawa: listern now, you are not the first company or individual i suply, When i give you the charge and you pay, I deliver it to your destination without any delay
King Erediawa: still give you the arrival time and particular that will guarrantee sucessful deliver
MailChimp: that sounds like great customer service
MailChimp: do you have a free trial?
King Erediawa: free trial of what?
MailChimp: of monkeys
MailChimp: if the trial is good we will be requesting 3 pallets of monkeys
King Erediawa: How do you mean, are you not a business personaly, How do think its posoible for me to transact a business for free of chjarg
King Erediawa: i am sory i dont havce free trial
MailChimp: no i am sorry for the misunderstanding my king
MailChimp: i only meant for a small trial
MailChimp: perhaps 3 monkeys
MailChimp: because surely 2 will die in shipping
NOTE: NO MONKEYS WERE HARMED DURING THE COURSE OF THIS LIVE CHAT
MailChimp: And we only request small monkeys for the trial period sire.
King Erediawa: you tell me the size you want and i take it down and give you exactly what you want?
MailChimp: Do you offer accessories?
MailChimp: Shoes, hats, and small purses and such?
MailChimp: Such that would fit a small monkey
MailChimp: In usa, such items are difficult to come by
King Erediawa: that is my business and i have everything to sactisfy my customers ok
MailChimp: In your country, the king is allowed to own business too?
King Erediawa: if your company want to do business with me, I have give you my email address, Mail me there and tell me what and what you want and i will be thereby suply you, give you exactly what you want ok?
MailChimp: what is your email address?
King Erediawa: firstname.lastname@example.org
MailChimp: Is this a secure email?
MailChimp: I did not realize you also own Yahoo.
King Erediawa: very much secure
King Erediawa: have you send the mail?
MailChimp: Did you get it?
MailChimp: It may be in your spam folder
King Erediawa: wait let me check
King Erediawa: ok
MailChimp: I get so much spam from nigeria and such, that most of my email goes in junk folder
King Erediawa: but i have never got it
King Erediawa: you dont get the email address well
MailChimp: Is there another email address I can try?
King Erediawa: email@example.com
MailChimp: Does royal king highness have his own domain name yet?
King Erediawa: that one is ok
MailChimp: Perhaps from godaddy.com
King Erediawa: keep the email address safe and mail there, i will get it
MailChimp: we have need for much monkey
MailChimp: do you have any other means to reach you?
King Erediawa: i mean as much your company want with gurantee
King Erediawa: i do a clear business
MailChimp: monkey business?
King Erediawa: i mean send me mail i will get back to you on your request
King Erediawa: ok
MailChimp: a thousand thank yous
MailChimp: your highness
King Erediawa: you are welcomz
King Erediawa: if the mail is not going sign up yahoo and mail me from there
King Erediawa: or you give me name i sign up for you now
MailChimp: Roger Waters
MailChimp: but i do not want more email address
MailChimp: I get too much spam
MailChimp: we will send you email
MailChimp: after we fill out monkey requisition papers
King Erediawa: ok wait i will open for you right now
MailChimp: I must go now
MailChimp: monkeys are causing problems in office
MailChimp: this why we need good quality
MailChimp: they will not work hard enough for us
MailChimp: must go punish. Look for my email soon
MailChimp: fare thee well, your highness.
The king was a very pleasant man, and I just wish we had more time to speak with him. Oh well. For some really good conversations, we highly recommend you check out 419eater.com
Detaching MailChimp's Arm
Looks like someone discovered a little tiny hidden UI "easter egg" in MailChimp. Ah, the dismembered monkey. We get occasional phone calls from new customers right when they discover this trick. We pick up the phone, and hear giggling, and then they say, "I just ripped out your monkey's arm! Bye!"
Funny thing is, our web/UI designers never did this---it was our programmers that worked it in one late night. We call that kinda stuff "monkey love" around here. No telling how many other hidden monkeys they've worked into the UI. I'm almost too scared to ask.
Nagging For Dollars
Here's a fun little story over at Fortune Small Business about how Marla Cilley, aka FlyLady, nags her 400,000 email list subscribers every day and makes $4 million a year for it.
Reviving an Old Email List
Found this blog post from Urban Beauty Online. Danni is relaunching that website, and chronicling all her efforts on the blog to help other entrepreneurs.
What caught my eye was how she took a 2-year-old email list, re-invited them to subscribe to that list (to make sure they still wanted to hear from her), and then she posted the results online for all to see:
Granted, the list is small, but the results are pretty consistent with what we've seen at MailChimp. From our experience, you can expect your list size to drop from 50-80%.
And this reminds me of one of our all-time favorite re-invite campaigns:
2007 Pixel Awards Nominees Announced
- BanjoBunny.com (nominated for "weird" site)
- ChoppingBlock.com (I'm wearing their kick-ass National Design Association t-shirt right now)
- Digital Pulp (for multiple websites)
The Pixel Awards themselves use MailChimp to send out their announcements, so we're proud to be one of their sponsors. Good luck to all the nominees (but mainly to the MailChimp users)!
"Where the heck is Dan?"
If you've ever used MailChimp's live chat button, or emailed us, or called us on the phone, chances are you've spoken with Dan Kurzius, our head of customer service (he's also a co-founder). Dan's been out of the office for about a week now, and some customers have been asking about him. No worries folks---Dan and his wife just had their first baby (it's a girl!). Tell me that's not the cutest little baby ever.
Dan will be out a little while longer, but in the meantime Jennifer (our new customer service expert) is filling in. I'm even taking some calls and chats too. By the way, it hurts my feelings to hear all of you say, "Can you just put Dan on the line?"
Dan will be back soon. Maybe he'll even be up late at night now, taking the occasional live chat or email ticket?
Booted By Your ESP?
All of a sudden, we're getting lots of calls from people who were recently booted by their email marketing service (a very, very large competitor to MailChimp).
In this business, you really don't want someone else's trash. But a lot of these people seem to be innocent email marketers who made a simple mistake somewhere. Their complaint rates (and list sizes) aren't even that high. What's sad is that 9 times out of 10, these marketers could just tweak a few things in their campaigns to get back on the right track. But the ESP isn't hearing any of that---they're apparently just shutting them down 'with extreme prejudice.'
Perhaps they took on too many customers, too fast. Our customer review process is pretty lengthy over here at MailChimp, and it's always made me wonder how those guys got so many customers so fast, and whether or not it would bite them back. Guess things are getting dire over there, so it's slash and burn time. What's sad is their employees keep initiating live chats with us, pretending to be small business owners, when we can see their originating IP address plain as day. Sigh. I'm fine with competitive research. But for Pete's sake, don't do it from work, guys (same goes for posting comments to blogs).
Whatever the case, the worst part is that the ESP is just booting marketers, and not even telling them how they can improve their ways.
So here are some articles from the MailChimp Email Marketing Resource Center to help:
- Email Marketing Etiquette
- Is my list okay to use in MailChimp?
- Free email marketing guide
- Reclaiming old customer email addresses
MailChimp Customer Field Trip: Gourmet Station Headquarters
We could sit around in meetings and talk about new features for MailChimp. Maybe watch our competitors, and play "keep up with the Joneses." But we'd rather visit some real customers---get into their environment, and see how they work.
We just recently visited MailChimp customer GourmetStation.com to see how they run their business, and to see how they do their email marketing.
Donna Lynes-Miller, the president of Gourmet Station, gave us a tour of their facility, and showed us how they process orders. We walked through the entire process, from e-commerce cart transaction, to downloading the order details to their local server, to printing labels, to packing boxes, to sending thank-you emails. We also talked about how their business is growing, and the exciting plans they have for the near future (there's email marketing involved! Yay!). It was amazing to see how it all gets done. She showed us the detailed marketing reports she generates, using MailChimp's campaign stats.
If there was ever a person who followed her passion, it's Donna. I'd bet all of our other small business customers on MailChimp are the same way.
We'd like to visit you too!
We got some great ideas for improving the 'chimp by visiting Donna. And I mean the kind of features you'd actually use. So we want to visit more customers. If you're based in Atlanta (or near enough for a road trip), and you don't mind a bunch of nerds visiting and asking/answering lots of questions, we'd love to stop by. Let us know.
Oh yeah, MailChimp recently added 3 new team members, and we bought Gourmet Station dinners for all of them, to welcome them to the team. Here's a picture:
Left to right: Chad (programmer), Jennifer (customer service), Neil (marketing) and Donna (president of GourmetStation)
Found this article from Rob Hassett over at the Gwinnet Business Journal, and thought our readers might find it interesting: