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Warning: Did Aweber turn into PayPal?

What would you say if two of your AWeber accounts with 90,000+ double opt-in subscribers where suddenly closed?

And what would you say if one of the account was already 4 years old and the other one 2 1/2 years?

And what would you say if AWeber would not only not have the decency to warn you… but not even inform you that they closed your accounts after you pre-paid them for a year?

Would you be angry? Would you be confused? Or are you telling yourself right now that AWeber as the Internet Marketing leader in providing autoresponder services would be smart enough not do do that?

It’s sad, but true…

They don’t seem that smart after all. And they don’t seem to care that much about their long term customers either.

Yes… the above scenario is not only possible, but it did in fact happen end of last week.

I was about to send a message to one of my lists and noticed I wasn’t able to login anymore…


Of course I contacted them as soon as I found out and got this short reply…

First Reply

Closed for spam complaint & batching subscribers? All my lists with AWeber had been double opt-in and either let subscriber subscribe using the Aweber forms or Mike Filsaime’s Butterfly Marketing Open Source script. And all it does it to let my members double opt-in my Aweber list with their real IP address while adding them to the script database. Nothing shady there.

As I couldn’t see anything that I did that breached AWebers terms in their reply, I kept digging and contacted Tom Kulzer straight as his staff didn’t seem willing to provide further details.

Tom then replied and provide a bit more details (after a little back and forth)…

Tom Kulzer's Reply

This opened again more questions then it answered…

Is AWeber saying that this was partially caused by other people using our links in spam?

Are they referring to blank lines between email signature and unsubscribe link as a way of hiding the unsubscribe link?

That doesn’t hide it… it just makes it better looking and prevents accidental clicking of unsubscribe links.

And are they saying that Butterfly Marketing has a function build in that is against AWeber terms?

Is AWeber closing accounts for mentioning links that end up on a blacklist during a launch?

And does it mean that if e.g. AOL users use the Spam button to delete your emails, AWeber can delete your user account?

Shouldn’t AWeber simply unsubscribe the AOL subscriber that did that?

I asked Tom Kulzer all these questions in my reply to him… and I will keep you updated on his reply.

I still believe that good customer service would have meant to talk first with a long term customer. What do you think?

It looks to me more like PayPal practice… it seems to me that AWeber is getting too big to care for their customers!

Now, I didn’t give up an kept contacting Tom Kulzer until he replied and provided further info on why my account was suspended without warning.

I did in fact make some mistakes and there where some factors out of my control, and all together that added up to them closing the accounts without warning…

Here is the first thing Tom Kulzer said in his reply…

So, since he didn’t give me permission to publish the content of his email except the links he mentioned, let me pass this vital information on to you in my own words…

Tom Kulzer said: - Spam complaints about mailings done via other systems that pointed to sites with AWeber forms on them.

My question: Is it AWeber policy that accounts can be terminated if people spam advertise a web site that has a AWeber form on it? Is that what you meant with the above reason given?

What Tom Kulzer basically replied: Yes, they can be terminated. See the second paragraph in bold type at ...

Conclusion: That means that any Internet Marketer that allows affiliates or JV partners to promote his web site with an AWeber opt-in form on it is risking that AWeber takes that at least partially as a reason to close the AWeber account without warning as those affiliates or JV partners might promote the site in a way that spam complaints are generated. If you have affiliates or JV partners promote your site for you, make sure they are not using any tactics that can generate spam complaints, like e.g. using misleading email subjects etc. To be 100% save, consider using a self hosted autoresponder solution like e.g. Add2it MailResponder Pro for web pages promoted via emails.

Tom Kulzer said: - Attempting to hide the unsubscribe link in messages.

My question: I assume you are referring to blank lines between email signature and unsubscribe link? How many blank lines can cause an account to be terminated?

What Tom Kulzer basically replied: This depends on a number of factors, but anything more than 3 or 4 blank lines usually means it's being done purposefully to hide the unsubscribe link.

Conclusion: My 10+ blank lines where definitely too much and will reduce it from now on to no more then 3 blank lines. Right now many Internet Marketer are using way more then 4 blank lines and are risking that AWeber takes that at least partially as a reason to close the AWeber account without warning. Check all your messages and make sure you don't have more then 3 blank lines in a row in them.

Tom Kulzer said: - Batching of subscribers thru non native forms.

My question: Can the use of the Butterfly Marketing script cause an account to get terminated? Or only the particular way that it is done at our site?

What Tom Kulzer basically replied: You're not using Butterfly Marketing at, so it's irrelevant to your account. All that I have in front of me is data from your AWeber account.

Conclusion: Since is in fact based on the Butterfly Marketing script, we don't get a 100% sure conclusion at this time. It remains unclear what AWeber refers to in regards to "batching of subscribers". But at this time it seems safe to say that Internet Marketers that are using the Butterfly Marketing script are risking that AWeber takes that at least partially as a reason to close the Aweber account without warning.

Tom Kulzer said: - Numerous blacklisted URLs contained in messages.

My question: Does AWeber terminate accounts for mentioning links that end up on a blacklist e.g. during a launch?

What Tom Kulzer basically replied: That depends on a number of factors.

Conclusion: Internet Marketers that mention web pages in emails send via AWeber that got blacklisted during e.g. a launch are risking that AWeber takes that at least partially as a reason to close the AWeber account without warning. Make sure you test if a particular URL is blacklisted before you use it in an AWeber email!

Tom Kulzer said: - Feedback loop complaint rates.

My question: I learned in the meantime that AWeber does unsubscribe people that click the spam button at e.g. AOL, that's great. But AWeber is still counting how often it happens and does terminate accounts that are over a certain ratio?

What Tom Kulzer basically replied: Yes, AWeber counts how often subscribers click on the "Spam" button instead of "Delete" and do terminate accounts that are over the ratio.

Conclusion: There is not much Internet Marketers can do to prevent the risk that AWeber takes that at least partially as a reason to close the AWeber account without warning. As many users click the "Spam" button not to report spam, but to unsubscribe, the only 100% solution would be not to allow any subscribers from ESP's that have a feedback loop with AWeber like e.g.,,,,,, Road Runner's,,,,, United Online & Or you could consider using a self hosted autoresponder solution like e.g. Add2it MailResponder Pro instead of AWeber.

My question: What's the measure taken by AWeber to decide to terminate an account for a too high number of complaints? How many times at what %age will cause a termination?

What Tom Kulzer basically replied: AWeber describes what a Feedback Loop is at and explains what an acceptable complaint rate is at ... It depends on a number of items to decide when AWeber terminates an account, if a customer is consistently going over the acceptable complaint rate, that's a big problem.

What Is An Acceptable Complaint Rate?

What Tom Kulzer basically replied: Any single one of the issues mentioned above may not get an account terminated, even sometimes more than one may not. However, when we see an extensive trend of abusive traits about a campaign or an account, then they add up.

Conclusion: As you can see... AWeber doesn't have specific metrics for "how abusive" they'll let a client be before that client gets terminated (possibly without warning as in my case), hence the lack of specific limits. Each case is different as every of their client's business is different. Different levels set off different warning bells for different clients of AWeber. So to stay save... follow the recommendations above to avoid a nasty surprise like I had it with AWeber.

‘Whatever the mind can conceive and believe… it can achieve.’
Napoleon Hill, Think & Grow Rich

To your success,

Frank Bauer
Frank Bauer
Frank Bauer

Director of Marketing Pty Ltd
Co-founder of,,, &

P.S. – I did receive a backup copy of my lists from Aweber and I am now looking into a better solution. I contacted several autoresponder service providers, but so far the best solution seems to be using my own Add2it MailResponder Pro system on our own dedicated servers.


As per AWeber’s privacy policies and terms of service, we can’t talk about specific
account details in a public forum. I can offer a couple of thoughts on this post
though regarding general practices.

Why would AWeber terminate an account unless we were absolutely positively sure
that our terms of service were being broken? What incentive does AWeber have
for doing that?

There’s a reason over 81,000 small businesses use AWeber and a big part of
it is the fact that we do have high quality standards and enforce them evenly.
If we willy nilly terminated accounts accounts all the time you’d certainly
hear about it an awful lot more than you do.

Enforcing quality standards and getting personal emails from the CEO doesn’t
make AWeber to big to care. If it does, let me know because I’m going to get
out of the business. If anything, it means we care more because we opt for a
particular quality standard over profits at all costs. Many companies are the
complete opposite, unfortunately.

Frank Bauer says:

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your reply here.

I saw you sent same via email and I tried to continue the discussion on the locked Warrior Forum thread.

When I tried to reply to it there I was told by an Anti-Freedom-Of Speech moderator that it was not allowed to talk about locked threads there.

So… here is that a screenshot of the censored post of mine:

The post censored by Warrior Forum moderators!

I understand that you can’t talk about some things in public, so I am looking forward to your email reply to me.

Best regards,

Frank Bauer

Kathleen Vanbeekom says:

Hi Frank,
Aweber should be extremely happy to have your business, and extremely dissatisfied with their own actions. They should treat you like their shining star, if they were smart, you’d be their finest testimonial of how autoresponders bring in tons of customers and sales.

Frank Bauer says:

I tend to agree with you… especially as I used to recommend them also as the service provider solution of choice for those that outgrew our own self hosted solution.

Oh well… I will concact Tom Kulzer one last time with my peace offer.

Tim Linden says:

This happened to me, but they did warn me. Basically I was using their form in a “bad” way, but everyone else I knew was using it the same way.. Unfortunately when you outsource you are subject to their rules, even if you are the only one getting in “trouble”.

Stef says:

hey Frank

There seems to be a few major players that take down a site or account without any notice at all. Hasn’t happened to me with aweber (thankfully) but has with hosting.

For future protection could you put the optin form on a standalone page and embed or iframe that into your pages – that way if anything like this happens you still only have one place to change the form, and not have to remember the 4 hundred gazillion places you put the forms.


Frank Bauer says:

@Tim: Mind to share what method they didn’t like so others can learn and avoid doing the same?

@Stef: I also went past 3 hosts until I found my current one 7 years ago…

A definite keeper.

Denny says:

That sucks!

Still, gotta give Tom credit for getting back to you. I dont think many ceo’s are as active online as he is.

Hope you pinpoint what happened and can work it out.

I just became the next Aweber victim… they closed my account and now my 60,000 subscribers are gone. I’m glad that I made an export just a day earlier.

Looks like all membershipsite scripts violate their TOS. My account was suspended because I integrated Aweber into my membershipsite in the php code (form-processing), just as everybody else does it (unless you use their email parsers).

Frank Bauer says:

@Denny: True… it’s rare and I do appriciate he replied. Which his employees at Aweber had the same curetsy.

@Guido: Sorry to hear that. I would still ask them for a full backup (includes all messages ever send) and ask them for what else might have caused it… they seem to add things up that make them react that way.

Najee says:

I am using both a self hosted auto responder as well as GetResponse. The self hosted is great in every which way except deliverability. By that I mean more ISPs will block your legit double opted in subscribers based on their algorithms and they all have different ones. Besides, most hosting services do not allow more than 800 to 900 emails an hour. So if you are doing a campaign that requires immediate attention and your list is over 100,000, it will take a week to inform them..

In addition, the moment someone complains, the ISP suspends your account. We had instances of subscribers on our list for 8 to 9 months deciding to press the spam button one day and we got suspended.

It is very discouraging, vexing and costly to build a mailing list and then get shut down unfairly.

The only probable solution is to have a central internet email authority that forms one set of rules and makes all ISPs and marketers conform to them. In addition, email should no longer be free. So every time you send an email, it should have an associated cost no matter how small. That will weed out the junk and create a better email environment.

They way things are, the most effective marketing tool is opt-in mailing lists but it is getting harder and harder to do legit mailings.

Frank Bauer says:

@Najee: In regards to using hosting services to self host your mailing list, I use and recommend

They allow up to 30,000 emails per day on a shared web hosting account and unlimited emails on a dedicated server.

Also, they do understand Internet Marketing and the difference between a false complaint and real spam.

We use that web host for 7 years now and send over a million emails per day for our ViralURL members alone.

Even for that amount of emails, keeping emails deliverable is not impossible. If takes a bit of work of course.

Of course we keep an eye on keeping our servers IP addresses of the blacklists and use for that amount of emails an advanced email delivery software called GreenArrow that works together with the Add2it MailResponder Pro script.

For smaller email lists (below 100,000) GreenArrow would of course not be required.

Jorge says:

Another Paypal…crazy stuff!

Thanks for sharing Frank,

Rodger Hyatt says:

Thank god i got my own dedicated and row my own boat..

I seen this coming ages ago

Best of luck Frank!


(are 5 blank lines okay for my sig? LOL)

Ken Harthun says:

Great post, Frank. My list isn’t big enough to generate much noise, but thanks to you, Guido, and Rodger Hyatt’s #Ad-Swap# room, my eyes are now open. I was getting ready to set up a membership site integrated with Aweber, but now I think I’ll hold off. I may just use my own AR solution.

And I’ll certainly backup my AR on a regular basis, just in case I run afoul of the AR overlords.

Anyway, thanks for the in-depth analysis and keep up the good work.

Ken Harthun
The Internet Marketing Geek

Freda says:

I have had the same, only different, situation with Paypal. Sometime around the first of June they let somebody charge $197.00 to my debit card.
I called PP immediately when I noticed on my bank
statement 7/10. All they would say the computer that took the order had my IP # attached to it. [I had googled the url that was charged the money was a company based in India with 2 Indian men as CEOs.
The outcome with PP? I was told when I asked what
was the IP # used in the transaction they told
me I would have to have a subpoena [from a lawyer]
before the IP # was released to me. They were wrong. My lawyer told me a subpoena had to come from a judge. The reason I need the IP # is that I have 2 – one inside my computer [which nobody uses but me] and one outside on the wireless connection which 2 are 1 digit apart. Anybody could have found my IP # off my computer because I found it and I am not technical at all.

martin says:

granny, go make a sweater or something, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, don*t use the internet – it*s dangerous in your hands – quote *one inside my computer [which nobody uses but me]* look for the one inside your head. with an old woman like freda you can find yourself hunted down by police, army and termites with no reason. granny maybe somebody from your own family used your credit card to buy something on the internet from your computer

Jon Olson says:

So sad but I’m here to say I was another victim of aWeber.

They basically told me my business wasn’t wanted about a year ago. I made the switch and haven’t looked back.

I dunno, I kind of like being with an autoresponder company that actually appreciates all the business I send their way.

Thanks Frank for sharing & keeping your post available. I am thankful I ran across your post. I just signup for the trial a few days ago. I am going to cancel immediately. Thanks again, rg

Matt Whelan says:

The answer to the Aweber CEO’s “why would we do that unless we were absolutely positively sure
that our terms of service were being broken?” is “because you can, you big bullies”. Work with the customer to resolve the issue, don’t come down with the heavy-handed “we own you, we cancel you”.

These people are pathetic – “we’re big and tough, we won’t bother letting you solve the problem, we’ll just shut you down”. Google-style arrogance – and as with Google, we should be voting with our feet and taking our business elsewhere.

And making as much noise about it as possible to stop customer sign-ups – this is the third example I’ve seen of the Google-style heavy handedness in a few weeks.

Funny to see this from the company responsible for mountains of SPAM all over the net because they let themselves get hacked and their customers’ lists get downloaded.

These days I won’t sign up to an Aweber-hosted list without creating a new throwaway email address for it.

And I’ll certainly never use their service.

Frank, thanks for taking the time to post the full story!



Najee says:

That is so true about Google. They are behaving like the early years of eBay. Sent me an email with the subject ‘Final Notice’. This was the first time they emailed and it’s the Final Notice.

In this email they allege our Ad does not conform and included a long list of what the reason could be. I went over our Ad and could not find anything wrong. So I emailed the all Almighty asking for an explanation. Two weeks have passed and no reply.

In the meantime, they sent me a survey asking me to rate the quality of service provided by the government of Google.

What can I say?

On AutoResponders, I use GetResponse and so far they have been good. Let’s hope they don’t start behaving like Aweber.

I wish these people understood the effort required in building these mailing lists. If we are in some way out of compliance, work with us to get in compliance.

Good Luck guys – the road to financial freedom is not easy but we aren’t quitters either so move forward despite these people / governments.

Jelle Mostert says:

If you are looking for an aweber alternative, and a professional email marketing solution that wants to work with you in making your email campaigns a success (and not just take your money) check out our ESP

We are happy to work with you,

Best regards

Jelle Mostert
Relationship Manager at INinbox

makeonlineshop says:

Hello, I read everywhere that it’s so easy to get banned by Aweber and that they don’t even let you download your Emails list ?

Is it true ? And Mailchimp is better ?

Thank you for the feedback.

Frank Bauer says:

In my case Aweber did allow me to download my email lists.

I don’t know how good MailChimp is as I have never used them, I personally use GetResponse as well as self hosted installations of Add2it MailResponder Pro.

Dave says:

Luckily they reopened my account.

But, I had my account closed without warning because I had a few broadcast that included a blacklisted URL. The funny thing is that the URL doesn’t seem to be officially blacklisted anywhere but is blacklisted internally at Aweber.

I asked the rep how I would know which URLs are blacklisted to avoid a future unwarned account closure. He said that they don’t share that information and just to do a lot of research on the URLs used in my mailings. Gee, that helps!

He further said, if it happens again just call and we will see if we can reopen the account. So, now I am left hoping I never have a link in my mail that Aweber doesn’t like and furthermore that if that does happen that they will take mercy that it wasn’t intentional (since they provide no way of knowing this information) and reopen my account.

Seems a little insane

Frank Bauer says:

I agree… not a good business practice of Aweber to not let customers know which URL’s they censor and are not allowed to email about.

Another reason to cloak all your URL’s with

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