12 Things I Hate About AWeber

I don’t usually like to write this kind of post. AWeber has always been a very reliable way to get your email delivered, and much of my business depends on it, but I think it has dropped off the pace in the past year.

The tool has undergone a user interface overhaul, which (for my purposes at least) makes it far worse.

I am seriously considering moving my lists over to MailChimp, which I do not imagine would be a simple process.

To give you an idea why, here are my biggest gripes with AWeber.

1. It makes me log in by typing in username and password every time on my iPhone. I often log in from bed in the morning. I only want to check my numbers. This takes 30 seconds longer than it needs to, and over years those half minutes add up.

Login page is slow to load and use on mobile

Login page is slow to load and use on mobile

2. It’s really slow. There’s no mobile theme, so every time I go to the login page, I have to wait for all the promotional graphics to load before the login box becomes responsive.

Here’s why. Paste the AWeber home page URL into the free Web Page Speed Report provided by websiteoptimization.com, and you’ll discover it weighs in at a morbidly obese 1.5MB!!

Snippet of load time report

Snippet of load time report – damn!!

Hell – I just wrote a whole BOOK that only came out at 2.6MB in PDF form!

3. Want to fire out a broadcast message? Be prepared to wait up to a minute for the fancy new message editing UI to load.

Initiating an HTML message results in a long wait

UPDATE: AWeber say this has got quicker recently. I just timed the HTML editor launch at twelve seconds, which is better, but still not good enough.

4. Then, it gets worse when you try to write a message. For every new message, you’ll probably have to hide the templates selector (which I’m sure the app could discern I’ve never ever used) and which pushes the bit you actually want to type in below the fold. Criminal!

AWeber new HTML message

Here’s what I can see above the fold on my MacBook.. Fuck all of any use!

UPDATE: This has got slightly better. Now, at least, the templates appear in the space to the right of the editor, instead of pushing it down.

5. Then, you have to delete the sample block of lorem ipsum helpfully pre-filled for you. This is every time. The developers never stopped to think that, after 3 months and dozens of mailouts, I might feel I’d got my little head round this.

The minimum work required to get a fresh template, ready to type is:

  • Click to hide the templates
  • Click to select the helpful sample text
  • Locate and click the “x” to delete it
  • Click and drag a new “paragraph” into the editor (WTF?!), which also comes pre-populated with more helpful sample text!
  • Triple-click inside the paragraph to select all the helpful sample text
  • And finally, hit delete/backspace to delete the helpful sample text
Annoying sample content

I have to delete this sample content before I can compose my message

UPDATE: They have improved this recently, so it’s a few fewer clicks, but you still can’t choose just to have a blank email if you want one. (Note: all my emails start out empty!)

6. What other WYSIWYG UI can you think of where the icon for a bulleted list is identical to a numbered list?!

Is there nobody responsible for user experience or usability here? It’s like people in charge of the graphics and code guys have gone away for the weekend, leaving the kids to raid the cupboards for everything with caffeine or sugar in, and run rampant round the house!

Identical buttons used for numbered & bulleted lists

One of these buttons is not like the other… But which is which?

Even MS Word version 2 had this one nailed back in 1992!!!

Word2 toolbar

AWeber has slipped behind where MS Word was in 1992!

UPDATE: This is now FIXED 🙂

7. Oh, and if you manage to figure out how to personalise your message (it used to say “Personalize”, which helped), expect your resultant messages to come with bonus line breaks, making it look, well, not personally written.

AWeber Personalisation formatting error

How personal does this look to you? The inmates are running the asylum…

8. Click through about 3 more slow, AJAXed-up-to-the-nines, graphic-laden pages, and you’ll eventually get to mail out. Yay! (This all used to be done on one page.)

9. Oh, and there’s no iPhone app. Every other service seems to have an app. Even something as simple as seeing my subscriber numbers, recent broadcast stats, and the ability to broadcast a quick text-only email would really make life easier.

10. Don’t think about rearranging or trying to insert new messages into your follow-up sequence. For some reason, AWeber remembers the number in the message sequence a subscriber is up to – NOT the IDs of the messages they’ve seen. So insert a new follow-up, and get ready for responses from your follower base saying, “Uh, you sent me this last message twice?” That will affect absolutely everyone.

11. You can’t change your login/user ID. I still have to log in with the name of my previous company.

UPDATE: You can get your user ID changed if you complain and go to the top, but the regular support desk won’t (can’t?) do it for you.

12. This one’s crazy.. AWeber will happily show you nice (albeit Flash, so poor iOS experience again) graphs for all your data. Everything. It’s pretty slick. But… you can’t see ANYTHING over 12 months old. I’ve been an AWeber customer for about 3 years, paying over $150 per month, but they will not let me see how my subscription rates have changed over the years. I even offered to code it for them. What’s that, 10 minutes’ work? (Unless they dump the data after 12 months – horrifying thought).

A lot of petty complaints, but the friction they create really builds up over time, like grit in your boot.

UPDATE January 10th 2014: I have just completed my migration over to Infusionsoft from AWeber. Infusionsoft is a very different solution, as it’s a whole CRM and sales package, but I have to say it is such a relief to be working with, frankly, beautifully designed software. Also, their support is second-to-none!

So yesterday I exported a few smaller lists from AWeber and imported them easily into Infusionsoft. Then I sent the email to AWeber to ask them to cancel my account, which is the only way you can do it. However, today, AWeber have hit me for another$121.61 – a full week before my regular billing date! Nice work guys. I know I’ve made the right decision.

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