Electronic Word of Mouth

Mailchimp Bans MLMers and Affiliate Marketers

I was asked by one of my clients if they can get banned by Mailchimp if they use them to do business as a multi-level, network or affiliate marketer and the answer is YES.

However, this doesn’t mean that if you are a Beachbody coach or with some MLM or if you share affiliate links that you should stop using their really great (and FREE to most users I might add) service.

The truth is that they just don’t want a bunch of people who receive your emails to mark them as spam. This is truly the biggest issue with any and all mailing list and newsletter service out there. Their concerns are valid as well because some people will just start blindly emailing addresses they buy (or collect) expecting to make money…but then find they are labeled a spammer and their domain name and website get banned on the Internet.

I’ve SEEN this happen at a company I worked at and TOLD THEM not to do their own newsletter to thousands of people from their own company server and they did it anyway and it cost them dearly. Their email was shut down for days. Their excuse? “Well, these are customers and they TOLD us we can use their email when they wrote us to get a free sample.” What they didn’t understand was exactly what I told them before and after: “You must opt-in everyone who says you can use their email.”

You’ve done this yourself. Every time that you sign up using your email, you get a confirmation email (double opt-in) or maybe a new page comes up asking you to verify (single opt-in) that you really do want to receive their newsletter. Once you give permission by clicking that button, you now have to unsubscribe in the way they have it set up.

The bottom line is that everyone hates spam including your newsletter folks and so they have very specific rules about the kind of business they will allow or find OK. In their specific language, it says—

Nothing personal, but in order to maintain the highest delivery rates possible for all our customers, we can’t allow businesses that offer these types of services, products, or content:

  • Escort and dating services
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Work from home, make money on online, and lead generation opportunities
  • Online trading, day trading tips, or stock market-related content
  • Gambling services or products
  • Multi-level marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Credit repair and get out of debt opportunities
  • Mortgages and loans
  • Nutritional, herbal, and vitamin supplements
  • Adult novelty items or references
  • List brokers or list rental services

If you send this sort of content, most email services providers won’t be able to help you.

I think it’s interesting to note that if you are a mulit-level marketer that you are put on the same level as dating services, credit repair and adult novelty items.

But if you read through several pages of this information, you start to see it from their point of view. They would go out of business if they let people abuse their service. And they are probably making this list based on experience and not based on your ethics (yes, YOUR ethics are clean but some MLMers give you a bad name).

On another page, they do talk about how it’s perfectly OK for affiliate marketers to send out a list with some links. That’s fine as long as there is no abuse.

They liken the kind of people who give you a bad name to the kind of people who primarily use telephones to close sales. The worst of them are called “telemarketers” but that doesn’t mean everyone who uses a phone to close sales is a telemarketer. Telemarketers have a bad reputation because they are all about the numbers instead of being all about service.

So, according to Mailchimp, you can be an affiliate marketer and be OK with them. I think that they also mean to include multi-level marketing without actually saying it, but just keep this in mind: You could be a medical doctor and get labeled a spammer very easily. It’s only a matter of time if you are sending people unwanted email for you to be labeled that way.

You can read more about Mailchimp’s rationalization if you like but it all comes down to this: They can only shut you down ethically if they warn you first (and if you are an MLMer then that’s already a strike against you and they say that this applies to all mailing list providers like Mailchimp).

So just don’t spam people. It’s really that simple and you won’t have to worry about being banned. Ever.

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