Alternative to Mailchimp?
September 13, 2021 4:17 PM   Subscribe

So Mailchimp, which I love and have used for years, has just been acquired by Intuit, a company I loathe and which is on my "Never again" list of companies I refuse to ever use again. What are my alternatives?
posted by dobbs to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
What type of email sends are you doing and how big? What are your requirements? How are people being added to MailChimp?
posted by radioamy at 4:38 PM on September 13, 2021

The small(ish) mail order company I now manage uses Sendy. You have to host the app somehow (we have it on a cheap cloud server), and it does have a tendency to bug you for small payments for seemingly obscure reasons ("Your list needs cleaning! Pay us $10" kinda thing) but the cost to send mails is very low. Mails get through (they are sent via Amazon SES, and do all the right DKIM things), and they've got all the GDPR/opt-in/unsubscribe options you might want. The graphical campaign editor is slightly lumpy, but I managed to send out my first campaign this morning and it looks just like I'd expect.

The stock control system we use has just been bought by Intuit and is being shut down as a standalone product, so I very much feel your pain.
posted by scruss at 4:52 PM on September 13, 2021

Are you looking for a free option or do you pay for the services? Constant Contact is one option, but it will run you $20/month.
posted by hydra77 at 4:57 PM on September 13, 2021

I haven't used them myself, but I have colleagues who use Emma and Campaign Monitor.
posted by shesbookish at 4:59 PM on September 13, 2021

SendGrid? It's owned by Twilio, so it's very scriptable, though it probably doesn't have cute UI like MailChimp.
posted by kschang at 5:04 PM on September 13, 2021

Response by poster: I probably send 12 or so emails a year. I use MailChimp's free service and have about 1000 subscribers. People are added to my list by subscribing themselves through my site; I refuse to add manually.
posted by dobbs at 5:12 PM on September 13, 2021

Best answer:
posted by aniola at 5:24 PM on September 13, 2021

Take a look at MailerLite. It does have a free option that is very robust.
posted by banjonaut at 5:52 PM on September 13, 2021

Sorry to ask the obvious, but why is Intuit bad? It seems like the pain and angst of moving your mailing list will outweigh the fact that Intuit is unlikely to ruin your Mailchimp experience

Source: tech marketing exec who hasn't found anything much better than Mailchimp
posted by pando11 at 6:15 PM on September 13, 2021

Are you a paying subscriber of Mailchimp or using their free level? I don't personally know of any other service that provides what Mailchimp does at a free level.

I have used Emma and Mailchimp as well as Constant Contact, Hubspot, ActOn, Marketo, Bronto, Silverpop/Watson, and SugarMarket. I think Emma is closest to Mailchimp in terms of interface and usability.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:15 PM on September 13, 2021

→ Intuit is unlikely to ruin your Mailchimp experience

Intuit has traditionally been very resistant to free tiers of service like the one that dobbs uses. I'd expect that to go away in the first month. In addition, Intuit are very keen on bundling services: in a few months, the stock control system my company (bought by Intuit last year) will:
  • no longer be available to paying customers in the US unless bundled as part of a much more expensive QuickBooks service subscription. We have a US division, and the company owner came off the call with an Intuit rep fuming about how much extra useless services we'd have to pay for (along with likely API changes) in order to keep using the service we have just for our US warehouse.
  • no longer be available to Canadian companies at all. We are a Canadian company. No dice, says Intuit. End of.
I expect nothing less will happen to MailChimp. I've received several different list emails today saying "we're looking for a new mailer service because Intuit will ruin MailChimp".
posted by scruss at 7:45 PM on September 13, 2021 [6 favorites]

Mod note: Quick note: I've left the question and explanation about Intuit, just to avoid repeated queries, but going forward please just address the question, "What are my alternatives (to Mailchimp)?" Thanks.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:36 AM on September 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

I am a long-time MailChimp user and an early product evangelist. Like, their product manager sent me bunny slippers as a Valentine's gift one year, so fierce was my passion for that product. They also sponsored a conference I held one year way back when.

I've switched to MailerLite. It doesn't sound like it makes a difference to you, but for anyone else facing this issue who is in Europe, MailerLite is what the European Comission told me to use for GDPR compliance on an EU project. Send In Blue is what my own digital rights advocacy group's DPO assessed as being compliant. I like both of them.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:29 AM on September 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

I switched to Klaviyo when Shopify and MailChimp broke up. Loving it, super intuitive, great customer support. There's a free level, but even at the paid ones it's pretty reasonable.
posted by dripdripdrop at 6:57 AM on September 14, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers thus far. I will check all these out -- many I have not heard of.

My dislike for Intuit stems from the fact that they lobby against the IRS providing taxpayers with free pre-filled forms.

Whether "Intuit will change my experience using MailChimp" is irrelevant. I do not associate myself or my business with companies that are anti-democratic, anti-competitive, or otherwise harmful to society, which is why I neither use Facebook or Instagram (or Bell Canada or countless other companies) even though it hurts me financially not to use them.
posted by dobbs at 7:11 AM on September 14, 2021 [8 favorites]

I think Constant Contact, Emma, and Campaign Monitor will be good options for you. SendGrid likely doesn't have the easy UI that you're looking for. I believe that Klayvio will be too complex/expensive for you. (Full disclosure, I work for an email service provider, not any of the ones mentioned here, we are further up-market.)
posted by radioamy at 12:38 PM on September 14, 2021

While this may not be exactly the drop-in replacement for Mailchimp that you're looking for, I have had surprisingly good success running my own old-school mailinglist (using GNU Mailman) for a volunteer organization on a cheap VPS. I can provide information and pointers to some tutorials if that's a direction that's potentially of interest.

I use a $30/year Linux VPS (10GB storage, 256MB RAM) and it is wildly over-spec'd for this purpose. A 386 would probably be fine if someone offered it.

There are also many providers offering Mailman as a hosted service, although I can't vouch for any of them personally. But I do like the general idea of using Mailman—open source, stores archives in an easily-parsable format, easy to move from one host to another (if allowed), highly configurable, supports self-signup and self-removal, easy bulk-addition from list/file, etc.
posted by Kadin2048 at 4:07 PM on September 14, 2021

Response by poster: I migrated my mailing list to ButtonDown. It was pretty effortless and seems to work great!

Thanks, all!
posted by dobbs at 6:34 AM on October 18, 2021

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