A rant about MailChimp's list import restrictions and why I can't use MailChimp

MailChimp is a fun email campaign manager, and I just tried to import a sizeable list into their system. Unfortunately, they don't allow the importing of "role-based" email addresses. They define role-based addresses as addresses who are not people, like "billing@... or info@..." This is an obvious decision to cut down on spam from people who try to enter a bunch of fake addresses just to try to get a message through. Unfortuntely, I think this rule causes more harm than good.

When I went to import my list, a bunch of addresses were blocked because of their role-based restriction. The only way around this is to manually enter each address.

I'm sure this was a tough decision inside MailChimp to restrict people from adding role-based addresses automatically, but I still think the decision is pretty ridiculous, the reason being, not everyone conforms to MailChimp's definition of "role-based." While large companies might submit to the hierarchy of sales@ submitting to a lead tracking system or info@ being distributed to several people, in small businesses or in personal email management, many people use the same types of addresses in much different ways.

MailChimp really shouldn't decide for everybody that certain addresses should or shouldn't be considered role-based because they don't know how everybody uses email.

Here are some of the addresses from my import that were rejected as role-based:

  • mail@
  • me@
  • hello@
  • office@
  • info@
  • sales@
  • billing@
  • editor@
  • webmaster@
  • support@

I even tried contacting support who refused to help. It looks like, unless I know someone, I'm out of luck.

Because of this restriction, I'm looking into other email marketing providers who doesn't have this restriction. There's no way I'm wasting time manually importing addresses one by one.

MailChimp could have easily had my business (ya know, where I actually pay them for services), but because of this one restriction and no way around it for legitimate purposes, they lost me.

5 responses
Seems to me that perhaps they could create a careful decision engine that will take those email addresses and maybe flag them in some way. They could present them to you in a way that says "Hey, these are suspect and we would like you to approve them before going forward", or something like that.

I certainly see your point about spam but I think if they catch you spamming they would just flag your account and your done. Seems like they need to worry less about you spamming and more about improving your import experience.

I say let the customer choose what to do if the system seems something it doesn't like about role based email addresses. Especially being a startup, I guarantee that their first support@mailchip.com email address had actual real person on the other side, perhaps a co-founder or something. In the spirit of that, I think they could do better...

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