MailChimp vs Affiliate Marketers (Important!)

AweberIn a recent comment, Tommy asked about Aweber vs Mailchimp and which was better for managing your mailing lists. It reminded me that Brett Romero had written this guest post for us (below) about MailChimp, and at the same time several discussions popped up around the web about Aweber vs MailChimp that I want to share with you too.

I use and love Aweber myself. I've been a happy customer for many years now. I'm also an affiliate, and recommend them to every online business owner know. Not just for the commissions, but because they are THE market leader in email marketing and mailing list management.

Most people ultimately end up at Aweber (if they're smart), and moving your email lists is no easy task. In fact, you'll lose about 90% of the subscribers you've worked so hard for, so it just makes sense to start where you're going to end up.

This is an extremely important topic. There are things you need to know about MailChimp, real life stories you need to hear, and details you need to consider regarding your Email Marketing - whether you already have something set up, or you're currently looking for the best deal and the right option...

MailChimp has very strict policies, and it's a well known fact that they are NOT "affiliate friendly". Many marketers have had their accounts shut down, losing the ability to email their lists at all. Others have simply not been allowed to send their emails. As an example, here's a discussion with Sharon on Facebook:

MailChimp Discussion on Facebook

Even if you're not an "affiliate marketer" this could STILL affect you. If you are using MailChimp, you'll want to read their terms VERY closely. Just to give you an idea, see this discussion:

MailChimp Stories

With all that said, Brett wrote a guest post for us explaining MailChimp's terms, and "his side of the story." It's always good to hear both sides, get educated on the details, and then make your own decision...


MailChimp vs Affiliate Marketers

Guest Post by Brett Romero

I imagine you’ve read many times that MailChimp is an affiliate marketer’s worst enemy. You’re aware that MailChimp offers your first 2000 subscribers for free. It’s tempting to use them because that’s a decent wad of cash in your pocket, compared to other services.

But, you don’t want to build up 500, 1000 or even 1500 subscribers, only to have MailChimp destroy all of your hard work by shutting down your account. Your reasoning is because every time you read a “MailChimp vs” thread or ask someone about MailChimp, it’s always the same answer: MailChimp hates affiliate marketers and will shut down your account for no reason.

The Truth Revealed

I’ve been using MailChimp for a while. I find their support fantastic. I couldn’t imagine why they would be so against affiliate marketers or why they would be so quick to shut down an account.

I for one didn’t want my account shut down either. I started asking the MailChimp staff questions about their hatred to affiliate marketers and here’s what I found out.

MailChimp doesn’t have anything against affiliate marketers. In fact, you can send out affiliate links to your heart’s desire.

Wait! You say. I’m not buying it. Everyone I know has had their account shut down for sending out affiliate links.

One Simple Trick Saves All

I get it. I’ve heard this plenty as well.

Here’s the simple trick to avoid any issue with affiliate marketing through MailChimp: Be sure your affiliate link is not black listed. That's it!

MailChimp even provides several ways to verify if an affiliate link is black listed. They go into detail about it here Scroll to the bottom of that page to check that your affiliate link is not black listed.

Here are another way to check if a link/domain is black listed and how to find a domain from an IP:

  • Check blacklisted sites:
  • Find IP address:
  • How To Save $210 Your First Year

    AWeberYou likely already know about MailChimps carrot they always dangle in your face: first 2000 subscribers for free with up to 12,000 emails per month. For a new business or blogger, 2000 subscribers in your first year is a lofty goal. Meaning, you can use MailChimp for free during that first year (or likely more).

    How exactly do you save $210 than? Let's compare MailChimp against one of its biggest competitors - Aweber.

    Here’s how it works. Aweber charges $19/mo for your first 500 subscribers. Your first month is only $1. $1 + 11 months x $19 = $210. In full discloser, you can bring that number down some by paying quarterly or annually with Aweber.

    Keep Saving With 2000+ Subscribers

    But, you can go a little further on savings and keep beating Aweber even when you have 2000+ subscribers. Here’s how it works:

    MailChimp charges $30/mo for 1001-2500 subscribers. Aweber charges $29/mo for 501-2500 subscribers. A $1 difference.

    MailChimp gives you a 10% discount when you use AlterEgo (, which is a multi-factor authentication system for your MailChimp account. That reduces the $30/mo price to $27/mo.

    Of course, the real savings come in for those that aren’t yet at 2000 subscribers.

    The Verdict

    Hopefully this has given you some new information to ponder when considering MailChimp vs any other email marketing service. You may think twice before writing off MailChimp when you hear the naysayers telling you how quickly they’ll shut down your account.

    What is the verdict you ask? That is up to you. Information is power and now you have it. I’d like to know if this post has changed your mind about MailChimp’s stance on affiliate marketing or if perhaps you are now considering MailChimp...

    About: Brett Romero helps people navigate all forms of technical land mines. He consistently doles out bitesize business strategies like popsicles on a scorching hot day. To get his advice delivered to your inbox, sign up at


    Thank you, Brett! I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences regarding MailChimp, or whether you feel differently after reading this article. Please leave a comment below. 😀

    Aweber TrialPersonally, I still stand behind Aweber as the better choice for Mailing List management, and will continue to recommend them.

    They have tons of templates for both opt-in forms and professional email designs, which are mobile friendly by the way!

    They also have great support, the super-handy Blog Broadcast feature, and tons of how-to tips & videos for anything you might need regarding email marketing. The bottom line though is: It's not all about "pricing" when it comes to choosing a mailing list manager!

    You may be looking to save a few bucks, but consider how much you'll earn by having a great provider - and what you stand to lose if you don't...

    If you're looking for a great mailing list manager, try Aweber's $1 trial and check it out for yourself. 😉

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. Sharon McPherson says

    Thanks for the mention Lynn, and for once again bringing attention to this problem.

    I must however take issue with Brett's statement:

    "Here’s the simple trick to avoid any issue with affiliate marketing through MailChimp: Be sure your affiliate link is not black listed. That's it! "

    The email that got my sending capability blocked by MailChimp contained only one link - to my own domain, no affiliate links, not even a redirect link.

    I had been using MailChimp for 9 months using the same words and phrases that were included in the above mentioned email without a problem. Then on August 6th all of a sudden I'm violating their "acceptable use policy"?

    Since you told me they are not "affiliate friendly" I've been doing some research. From what I've read you were on the money with that statement.

    • I really hate that you had this experience, Sharon. I hope your switch over to Aweber is super smooth. I've been happy with them every since I made the switch myself. Better sooner than later, given moving lists can be such a hassle!

  2. MichaelSBrown says

    Like some of the other comments here I have been happy with Aweber. Personally, I wouldn't take a chance with my email list on Mail Chimp.

    I've contacted them before when I was looking for a cheaper email services for my students and asked them what they thought about even being in the business of teaching email marketing...

    Their response was "If it even involves affiliate marketing at all, you and your students run the risk of being banned."

    No thanks 🙂 Aweber has been awesome for over 4 years for me now.

  3. It kind of drives me crazy when people haggle over the cost of email marketing.

    If you're the kind of person who looks at ROI, it seems insane to me not to go with the BEST choice instead of the CHEAPEST choice when it comes to one of the most essential online marketing tools you can use alongside a website.

    I say fork out the money for AWeber and don't lose thousands of email subscribers when you finally figure out it's the one you need (like I did!). Plus, if you intend to run a real business you need to aim to make more than the $200-something it costs for a full year of service... I mean if you don't plan on making more than that you've got a hobby, not a business.

    • I should add that I may have used 'Insane' a little too strongly, lol. I know your readers hae their sanity and as a matter of fact I was one of those people who looked for the best price in the beginning.

      I might just be so strong with my words because I want people to avoid losing all the email subscribers I did when I finally 'smartened up'! lol

  4. I concur with what Angela said. I've been a happy Aweber customer for years. My questions, since on the topic of AR systems, what are you comments on Constant Contact? Thanks!

    • I haven't had an experience with Constant Contact in years - and then it was very little experience, helping a client who was using CC. Sorry I couldn't be more help!

  5. Hi Lynn,

    I cannot thank you enough for your content. Really. I am so enjoying being back into working on my websites full time! Well, nearly full time! 😉 I had almost forgotten that my website host offered a program for mailing lists and e-mail compaign templates. I went with that. The only drawback I have had in the past is making sure it gets paid each month! In other words, definitely want to keep the auto-renew on! I also like to say "yes" to the option of getting an e-mail notification with each new subscriber, so I can keep my own list in a wordpad document document.


    • Hi Lynn,

      I don't recommend using the mailing list feature through your web host. Most of those types of mailservers get blacklisted and the delivery rate is very low - which you have no way of knowing because they don't offer stats of any kind.

      I started out with that more than 10 years ago, and found they offer very little support for that feature - it's definitely not a priority. On a shared hosting account, with a shared mailserver, you're going to be lucky to get many emails reaching subscribers' inboxes.

      If/when you do use a dedicated mailing list manager like Aweber, you'll have to make every single subscriber confirm their subscription again, which results in losing approximately 90% of your list. Considering how much goes into building a list, it's really not worth it.

      • Lynn Hasty says

        Wow. I had not considered some of these things, but I honestly have had a bad experience in the past with e-mail list through a hosting provider, with changing my billing, truly thought that my hosting service had understood me to say how I wanted the new billing, but guess what? The next month my entire list was gone because my instructions got lost in a phone call. That said, my provider did offer stats as far as who received/opened their e-mails, but I didn't like their templates 100%. Maybe I should rethink this...

        Thank you!

        • It's definitely worth putting serious consideration into. Most people ultimately end up at Aweber, so it's best to just start there - and not risk losing a big junk (up to 90%) of a list you worked so hard to build...

          They do have a $1 Trial option to start, so the key would be to build & monetize your list fast so that it's paying for itself. 😉

  6. I have been a Mail chimp subscriber for years. I like their layout, their ease of use, and the fact that it has been free for a long time. That is especially helpful in the beginning when you have no $ to spend. I only recently switched to Aweber because Mailchimp's auto responder system wasn't working for what I needed. I have had more then a few grips with Aweber. Currently I use Mailchimp to format my posts and then paste the HTML into Aweber. Its an annoying two step process. Aweber has some things they need to fix if they want to remain #1. A few prominent IMers are moving to other systems now. I havn't had the problems others had with affiliate links probably because I don't use them.
    If you are going to move your list to Aweber you just need to email them about it. They allowed me to move all my subscribers over without them doing another opt-in.

    • Hi Debbie,

      You can just create a template in Aweber using your own HTML which would be easier. You might get on the phone with Aweber too and see if there are solutions to the issues you're experiencing. There may be easier work-arounds. 🙂

  7. Personally I woud love to be able to switch back to Aweber. Unfortunately the only way to really do that is to completely start over with your list. When you spend years building your list, that can be very discouraging. I wish Aweber would allow some type of move from Mail Chimp back over to them.

    • Hi Shawn,

      Just call Aweber on the phone. If they can verify that all of your subscribers are double opt-in (compliant), they may be able to import your list without making them reconfirm their subscription. 😉

  8. Nice try explaining how MailChimp does business. It is convincing and sincere. 🙂

    I am neutral, meaning I don’t hate both. I just feel like the better and safer choice is still AWeber. It is more expensive at first glance, but you can always risk for something safe.

    MailChimp has to prove that they are not what others are portraying them to be.

    This post has been shared on the IM social networking site, because of its helpful content. Keep it up! 🙂

  9. Lynn, I appreciate you presenting both sides.

    Here's a recent post on the MailChimp blog about affiliate marketing with their service.

    I'm delighted with MailChimp, as are my clients. It's a super duper fit for them. I send affiliate links when appropriate, but I'm not strictly an affiliate marketer, which most folks that read this site are. Most of my clients aren't. So, different strokes. Get what meets your needs. No need to trash MailChimp. It's a good service. If it's not right for what you do, use something else.

    I do a lot of site integrations with other services, like member sites and such. I've found the Aweber API to not be flaky. So, when folks tell me that's what they want to use, I tell them of the issues other clients have experienced with not capturing emails. As long as they are willing to take that chance, then I'm happy to set it up for them. Keep in mind this is just an integration issue when the API is in play with another service, like membership sites and some webinar registration forms. I have not seen this issue when taking emails on a website directly, through something like the Aweber widget.

    • I'm glad to hear you've had a good experience with them, MaAnna. Obviously I have not used MailChimp myself, so simply sharing conversations around the web regarding this topic.

      As you can see from the conversations above, affiliate links have not been the only issue - common words used within the email copy raised flags as well.

      The readers here at ClickNewz are not strictly "affiliate marketers" but have a variety of business model types. You're a good example. That said, you can (and in my opinion, should) integrate affiliate income into practically any business model. It was a great source of revenue for me in my service based business, for example.

      Great discussion here! It's been a hot topic for awhile, and it's been interesting to hear everyone's opinions and experiences. *cheers*

  10. Great great piece of information! After reading this, I'm not going to recommend anyone about MailChimp anymore.

    I really like these comparisons - Service A to B and battle them out.

    Maybe you can share some good link building sites, compared the results and cost. Really interested in that.

    Thanks Lynn!

    • Hi SC,

      I don't use link building software or services - and don't recommend them to anyone either. I only do organic link building (think: market your site like Google doesn't exist). 😉

      See the link below for a great free tool though, and how I use it...

  11. I haven't used them [yet], but I've heard lots of good things about Feedblitz. Lynn Terry did an interview with the founder here:

  12. I wish I had read this article before I wasted my entire weekend setting up my email campaign in MailChimp. They just closed my account after I sent t a test email to MYSELF.

    I don't have any emails on my list. I've been sending test emails to myself all weekend making minor adjustments. Something I changed on the final, fateful email triggered...well, I don't know what, but it triggered something.

    I have thoroughly read their policies and can state with absolute certainty that nothing in my test email violated their policies.

    This article by Mr. Romero provides information that comes directly from MailChimp about their policies. I would consider MailChimp as a source to be unreliable.

    Don't wait until MailChimp becomes a problem. Just stay away from them.

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