What I Learned When GetResponse Banned My Account

Don’t worry. Everything is fine with my GetResponse account now, but I had a bit of a scare.

At about 2:44pm EST on January 18th, I received a text and email from GetResponse notifying me that my account had been limited and “placed under review.” O….k……? What gives?

It’s not uncommon for an account to be placed under review if a user is suspected of sending junk. I completely understand that. If you send junk mail or email users without permission, you should be banned by GetResponse. GetResponse has no tolerance for people who abuse subscribers, and they shouldn’t. But I hadn’t done anything like that, and I would never do that, so I was confused.

I was instructed to upload a picture of my ID. Ok. Weird. But OK. I did that and then was told to wait 24 hours. (I only hoped that they would ignore the horrible photo on my ID!)

I didn’t mind that part. Waiting is part of life. The compliance team needed time to look at my ID and make sure I’m a real person. I get that.

What I did mind is what I found out next.

While my account was “under review” no emails would be sent from my account. That includes scheduled emails that my subscribers were expecting. In my list-building course, ListBootcamp, for example, you get one email per day with a lesson. During that time, no lessons were being sent, and I could not export my contacts to take to another platform.

Limit me, I’m annoyed. But inconvenience my subscribers, and I’m really not happy.

To make a long story short, two days and many emails and chat sessions later my account was restored. But the whole situation really got me thinking:

What if GetResponse had permanently killed my account?

They easily could have said, “Sorry! Bye!” and been within their rights. While I had done nothing wrong, they do own their own platform, and they have a right to decide who can or can not use it.

What if I had lost my GetResponse account and access to emailing my contacts? I could easily have lost all of my contacts, making my list building efforts all for nothing.

That’s a disturbing thought.

So how can I protect my list?

Since any online account could be terminated at any time, and GetResponse is no exception to that rule, what can I do to protect my list?

Obviously I don’t want to lose my subscribers. I don’t want to inconvenience them by asking them to sign up yet again somewhere else

I don’t want my problem to become their annoyance.

So what’s the best way to prevent such a scenario?

Back up the list! Duh!

While you should always try to abide by the rules of the service (GetResponse or otherwise) that doesn’t mean you can’t be blocked – as this experience shows.

I’m a geek, admittedly. I understand the important of backing up your files to a safe place in case of a hard drive failure or a fiery meteor pummels your sweet rig.

Fortunately GetResponse and other autoresponders offer the ability to export a list of all of your subscribers to a format that can be imported into another service or stored locally on your computer. It’s the same concept as backing up your important files. You wouldn’t want to lose those, and you wouldn’t want to lose your subscribers!

From now on, I’ll be backing up my lists every couple of weeks just to be safe.

So, in the unlikely and unfortunate event that GetResponse decides they don’t like me anymore, I can pack up and move to a different service. (For the record, I hope that never happens. I do like GetResponse, and it’s currently my favorite autoresponder service – in spite of recent events.)

This highlights a big problem

If GetResponse can kill an account at will so can any other web-based service or platform. Facebook can do it. Twitter can do it. Google, YouTube, and others are not exceptions.

How can we protect ourselves and our businesses from “the man?”

I propose the following:

Play by the rules

Obviously if you don’t play by the rules of any given platform, you can (and should) be banned. Don’t be a jerk and try to push the line. Obey the rules even if you don’t agree with them.

Don’t rely on any one platform

Make use of a variety of social media and marketing platforms. Any one of them could decide to shut down or arbitrarily ban you even if you are playing nice. Diversifying your toolkit minimizes the negative impact of any ban or service shutdown.

Build an email list

An email list is an asset you own and control. As long as you have permission from your subscribers to email them, and you’re backing up your list consistently, no one can take your list away from you. Even GetResponse bans you or Aweber shuts you down, your list can’t be taken away.

Don’t store your data with any one service

If you use cloud storage, don’t use any one service as these can be shut down too. It’s not likely that Dropbox or Google would shut down your storage accounts, but it can happen.

The point is, you don’t want to rely on them.

Hope for the best. Plan for the worst.

Ideally, you will never have to use your backups. Hopefully you’ll never know the frustration of being kicked off a service. But that’s not the point. You need to plan to be okay without one or several of the services you use.

No one is immune from potential bans or service failures. Not even you.

Here’s the TL;DR:

  • Back up your data
  • Don’t rely on any one service
  • Abide by the terms of service even if you don’t agree with them
  • Build your email list so you can be traffic independent.

These tips won’t prevent you from being banned or limited, but you can do your part to make sure that if it does happen it won’t be your fault, and you will be able to quickly hop to a different platform if you need.

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