Is Constant Contact Like the Death Star?

Yes, I’ve had a terrible experience with Constant Contact. They’ve been miserable to deal with at nearly every turn. No, I don’t think they have the power to destroy planets. What I’m pointing out here may be its fatal flaw – that one point you hit and the whole thing blows up. (Not literally, and this is not a threat, and screw the lawyers for whom I have to include this.)

I had been using Constant Contact for a while with nothing of note except for their unjustified prices. In fact, I’ve been pretty bad about consistently using my email list. So last December when I sent a couple emails to my list about upcoming events that I’d be speaking at, I thought nothing of it. But then a week later when I tried to get back into my regular routine of a weekly email to my list, I was cut off from sending any emails.

After a few maddening hours on the phone with technical support, they were finally able to explain to me that my email list had been shut down because of a complaint about spamming. For the record, I don’t add anyone to my list. You used to be able to sign up on my website. They said that because of one complainer who reported my recent emails to SpamCop, they had to shut down my list until I could do a “double opt in” on my entire list, meaning I had to send an email saying, “If you want to keep receiving emails from me, please click here.” I tried to explain to them what happened, but Constant Contact wouldn’t even let me put that in the message. I was not allowed to see the complaints, confront my accuser, or even get Constant Contact to review the specific emails in question to see that they obviously weren’t spam.

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Predictably, this killed most of my list. I don’t know about you, but I like being subscribed to a number of email lists and I don’t read every email from every list I’m on. So I tried to get the issue to a manager and hit a wall with the guy who tried to explain that this policy was a good thing. So I cancelled my account with them. Bear in mind, they still charged me during the whole time when I couldn’t use my account.

I called out Constant Contact on Twitter, and they replied with a stock message to send a DM to their tech support with my account info. So I asked them to publicly explain their policy and they didn’t reply. Instead, they called me. You would think that they would have the decency to apologise, or at least be understanding, but no, months after this whole thing transpired, they called me to obnoxiously try to justify their policy. “Thanks for reminding me why I cancelled my account!”

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So if you have business or political rivals using Constant Contact, all you have to do to shut them down is subscribe to their lists, then complain about spam to SpamCop. Or maybe I’m wrong. But if I am, it would mean that I was singled out for political reasons. Anyone want to test this theory?

(We’ve been working on a new email system for a while and it should be live soon. Sorry to those of you who have been missing my emails.)