Note: It looks like INinbox is struggling to get the award ‘The Worst Email Marketing Company Ever’. Due to their changes, this review has been updated four times. Date of last revision: October 1, 2015.
For some bloggers and email marketers, the high price is one of the main reasons not to use Aweber or another premium brand in the email marketing industry.
For other marketers, the price wasn’t an inconvenience. But at the end of the day…
Their income reports showed that using a top service while not generating almost any money isn’t the wisest decision.
The common sense suggests that you don’t need to pay more for the same service, again and again, unless you’re a star or something.
Some companies offer free plans indeed. But these free plans include some limitations. For example, MadMimi‘s and MailChimp’s free plans don’t include the autoresponder.
For those of you who are looking for a more affordable email marketing service, I tried to find out an alternative…
1. INinbox – The Cheapest Paid Email Marketing Service
I’ve searched for the cheapest paid plan. And here it is…
3rd & 4th Updates – February 25 & October 1, 2015: Back in May 2014, when this review was originally written, INinbox was the cheapest paid email marketing service. Their prices were 5-15 cheaper than AWeber’s prices. The old prices aren’t valid anymore. So I added the 2015 row to the pricing table below.
I guess you’ll ask me, “The prices are great. What’s the catch?”
Well, the competition is fierce in the industry. It’s not easy to fight against old & established brands. Almost everyone offers more or less the same services. So you have to do something out of the ordinary to get a better piece of the pie ;-)
By the way, speaking about everyone offering more or less the same services, that’s true also in the case of INinbox. That’s why I won’t bore you by writing about common features such as the autoresponder’s availability, and then free email templates, split testing feature, email tracking analytics, list segmentation and so on.
Further on I would like to write about something that many reviewers hide…
2. No Email Marketing Service is Perfect. What Are the Cons?
Ok. I’ve tried to discover the weak points. Some of them are common to Aweber, but let’s see them anyway, without any further reference to Aweber…
Each and every broadcast has to be approved by INinbox support. According to INinbox, this practice ensures higher email deliverability but takes time. This feature can be disabled if you prove that you send quality emails.
INinbox is one of the few email marketing companies that charge for unsubscribes. I didn’t find this piece of information posted on their website, but I got it while chatting with Jelle Mostert, INinbox Relationship Manager.
If you want to import contacts to a double opt-in list, your subscribers need to re-confirm their subscription. Importing contacts to a single opt-in list is disabled and it has to be approved by INinbox support.
Prohibited content: MLM, work at home jobs, services or content that offers ways to “build wealth” or become “financially independent”.
For double opt-in lists, if you want to change the text of the message that requires your prospects to confirm their subscription you need to contact INinbox support.
PayPal payments aren’t accepted. You have to pay using a credit card.
(update: for more cons, keep reading – check the sub-headline 4)
3. INinbox Goodies Bag: Good News to Make You Forget the Cons
Refer a Paid Customer, Get a Pair of INinbox Headphones
The refer-a-friend promo works really simple. Refer one paid customer and you receive a nice gift: the INinbox Limited Edition Headphone. INinbox pays for the shipping costs too.
Actually there is more… If you refer at least 5 paid customers, INinbox will send you a second pair of headphones.
And there is even more…
15% Off for the First Month – Coupon Code
If you enter the coupon code letsgetstarted15 when you buy any INinbox email marketing plan, you’ll get it for 15% off for the first month.
Not Convinced Yet? What About a Free Plan?
You can test everything for free and no credit card is required. Upload up to 2,000 contacts and you can send 20,000 emails. No time limit for using your credits.
You can take advantage of the refer-a-friend offer mentioned above even if you have a free account.
And there’s more… For each person who clicks and creates a free account, you get 1,000 email credits.
4. INinbox Looks Good. Is There Any Catch Though?
Even if some of the cons revealed above may not make you very comfortable – for example the fact that every broadcast has to be approved by INinbox support, the overall impression is that INinbox looks good.
That’s why I used it, and even promoted INinbox for some months. Here’s what I found out in the meantime…
99% deliverability? Nah, just kidding!
I subscribed to their own newsletter. Here’s what I got…
So… their “experts” review each and every broadcast their customers send in order to have a top-notch email deliverability. Their banners claim a 99% deliverability…
The reality is so sad: their newsletters landed in my spam folder. In addition, you may notice that the last newsletter was sent twice on the same day – annoying for a subscriber, isn’t it? That says something about their professionalism or about how great their system works.
Customer support? You can wait, what’s the hurry?
Maybe I’m unlucky, who knows? Anyway, here’s a short recap of an email conversation with Jelle Mosters, INinbox Relationship Manager. To make it as short as possible, I removed the biggest part of the conversation, but check the dates…
Email #1 – July 10 – Me: “the affiliate links don’t work again”
Email #2 – July 15 – INInbox: […]
Email #3 – July 15 – Me: […]
Email #4 – July 17 – INinbox: […]
Email #5 – July 17 – Me: “I checked my INinbox aff link and again it wasn’t working”
Email #6 – July 23 – INinbox: “We understand that it’s not ok to do business this way and it’s our responsibility to make the affiliate program work.”
Email #7 – July 23 – Me: […]
Email #8 – July 25 – INinbox: “We don’t send warnings every time the program is suspended. Every time we notice we directly activate the system again so it doesn’t make sense to send you an email. However, I don’t think the program will be suspended anymore since we took some measurements.”
Email #9: July 27 – Me: “according to ShareASale the program is suspended since yesterday and it still doesn’t work.”
Email #10: July 28 – Me: “13 more hours have passed and the program is still down and my link still doesn’t work.”
My last two emails were never answered…
The worst affiliate program I have ever seen
The first product I ever sold online wasn’t mine. Affiliate marketing. The year was 2001… Believe me, I have seen quite many affiliate programs during all these years.
INinbox affiliate program is by far the worst one…
The affiliate links were down 2-3 days almost every week. These were the weeks when the affiliates were lucky…
In August the affiliate links were down from August 7 to August 17. I was quite sick of it and I didn’t check whether it was down again or not after August 18.
But in September I checked it again. See the pic on the left side. It’s a screen capture from my ShareASale account.
Now you might say that you’re not interested in their affiliate program anyway, so you shouldn’t care about these big issues. Think twice! Someone who treats the affiliates like this…
I could add two or three more red bullets about promises not kept and more, but I’ll stop here. And I’ll remove myself from INinbox affiliate program.
I won’t add any further conclusion. Yeah, INinbox is the cheapest paid email marketing service, but…
To your email marketing success!
P.S. This review was first updated on September 10, 2014. That’s the reason why some comments below don’t match very well the review. I do apologize to everyone whom I recommended in the past INinbox email marketing service.
P.P.S. 2nd Update – November 25, 2014
More than two months passed and… Nope, nothing changed. The screen capture above is taken today from Angela McCall’s blog. Her INinbox affiliate link doesn’t work and she posted that warning. That’s not how affiliate marketing works! :-( As I already mentioned above, this is the worst affiliate program I have ever seen. Removing myself two months ago from this affiliate program was a good decision indeed.