New Simplified Pricing Tiers

Email marketing is becoming increasingly more difficult and complex as our field expands. There’s so much to consider when selecting and working with an email service provider -

What all can I do? How hard is the setup? How much am I going to be paying? Do I have to pay for extra emails? What if I’m paying for things I don’t even need or use? Is it easy to use? Will I get lost in the mix of others? Can I use this for the long run as I grow and expand? And more…

We know how complicated and overwhelming the field can be, we’ve been here for over a decade. Our mission this year to strip away as much of the complexities and clutter as possible. To simplify email marketing, without forsaking advanced features, impeccable deliverability rates, and flexibility of customization and functionalities. It may sound like quite the feat to tackle, but we’ve been gearing up for this for quite some time behind the scenes here at FeedBlitz HQ.

There are going to be a good number of changes coming up with the FeedBlitz app over the next few quarters. It’s going to be a very exciting 2017!

The first step in this process is simplifying the pricing tiers for all FeedBlitz Publishers. Since 2009, we’ve used multi-level pricing tiers based on small increments of unique, active subscribers. With this update, we’re still using multi-level pricing tiers; there just won’t be as many to travel through as your list grows and your ventures expand.

The new adjustment consolidates our lowest tier levels into a single tier for up to 100 subscribers, simplifying the fee structure for smaller publishers. No more second-guessing and double-checking to see if you are nearing a new threshold or not, as you will have reached a greater milestone in your subscribership before entering into a new tier. You’ll also notice many of the remaining tiers are priced the same, or lower, as those they replace.

Those joining FeedBlitz on or after March 15, 2017, will join under our new pricing tiers. For our current FeedBlitz publishers, you’ll remain on the current tiered arrangement until June 15, 2017. Should your price increase with the new tier, the price adjustment will take place during the following 3 months. In other words, if the tier you’re on is removed, any resulting price increase will take effect gradually over a 3 month period, starting June 15th, reaching your new pricing tier by September 15, 2017.

Please take a moment to view the new, simplified pricing tiers and see if this will affect your account. Current publishers will be able to view former pricing tiers from this page as well, by the link provided at the top of the page.

Should you have any questions in regards to our new simplified pricing tiers, please do not hesitate to send our team an email at support@feedblitz.com. You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

Safeguarding your SEO: Google and Pop-Ups

Closing out an ad on a mobile phone.

As a blogger or website owner, you know what happens when Google makes an announcement and how it can adversely impact your site’s rankings. In August of 2016, the big G announced it will begin penalizing websites for “intrusive interstitials” (aka pop-ups) on mobile sites in January of 2017.

Google has stated that sites with too many or aggressive pop-ups on mobile platforms will be penalized in search results. We agree with his sentiment, we’ve long suggested the use of respectful pop-ups that allow for your readers to engage with your content before asking for a subscription. This move by Google is to reduce the number of pop-ups your readers will need to go through when viewing the mobile version of your site. Removal of these pop-ups, whether they be ads or subscription forms, will improve the reader’s experience of your site on a mobile device.

To protect your site and its rankings, FeedBlitz HQ has implemented a code change to accommodate this update from Google. This code change will prevent your pop-ups from appearing at all when your site is in mobile view. (Don’t worry, it won’t affect your pop-ups on a desktop or laptop device!) An automatic update for new pop-ups moving forward, you can take action now to address and update the current pop-ups.

How to Update your Pop-up

To do this you’ll simply need to complete the following steps:

  • Navigate to your lists SmartForm Editor. You can find your SmartForms in the dashboard of your list by clicking the “I want to button” and selecting “Subscription Forms & links”. Select the form you would like to work with, then click the green Design button in the upper right. This will take you to your SmartForm Editor.
  • Look at the top of the left pane and click the Code tab, then select Popup.
  • Adjust the pop-up’s settings to your preference and copy the code. Remember, we recommend letting your reader engage with your content before firing the pop-up. Click Update Pop-Up Code and copy it to your clipboard.
  • Replace the current pop-up code on your site with the new code. Usually, your current pop-up code is in a text widget at the bottom of your sidebar or if you have a widgetized footer, it could be there.  Don’t forget to click save after replacing your old code with the new.

 

And that’s it! You’ll be in line to protect your site from possible interstitial penalizing by Google.

If not a pop-up though, what else can you do?

Consider adding a subscription form in a sidebar or the footer of your website. These forms will still be present and non-intrusive when viewed in mobile. Another option is to work with a top bar through one of our integrated apps such as SumoMe from AppSumo or OptinMonster. This will place a subscription form bar at the top of your website, and will be in prime view for new readers.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Support Team via email to support@feedblitz.com. You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

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Easy enough for a blogger to set up in seconds, powerful enough for sophisticated corporate email campaigns, FeedBlitz is an RSS, Email and Social Automation Tool to take your email marketing to the next level. Visit us online to learn more or start your 30 Day Free Trial!

We’ve Updated our Terms of Service

Last week I told you about how we’d updated our privacy policy. This week, it’s the terms of service’s turn for a little sprucing up.

It’s the same deal, basically. No changes in who we are, how we approach business, and what we do.

As part of modernizing it, we’ve added sections to cover the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the “DMCA”) and how we deal with account ownership disputes. It’s very dry reading (something perhaps only a lawyer can love?), but it is our contract with you unless we have a separate agreement in place.

So the usual words apply: If you continue to use FeedBlitz, you agree to these terms. In brief:

  • There are no guarantees.
  • You are responsible for your own content, and its compliance with applicable law.
  • FeedBlitz is not liable for damages, including (but not limited to) those arising from any use, abuse, misuse or non-performance of the FeedBlitz service or the information provided by third party publishers.
  • FeedBlitz is not liable for third party content redistributed using FeedBlitz.
  • These terms of service can change at any time; if you continue to use the service you have implicitly agreed to the changes.
  • Your FeedBlitz account may be terminated by FeedBlitz at any time for any reason and for no reason.
  • You may cancel your use of our services at any time.
  • Any refunds other than for fraud, or billing errors, are at FeedBlitz’s sole discretion.
  • FeedBlitz may insert advertising depending on current program policies and your level of participation.
  • FeedBlitz may require upgrades or payment depending on prevailing policies.
  • FeedBlitz may suspend mailings on your behalf after any grace period expires or for suspected abuse.
  • FeedBlitz will not sell, rent or otherwise deliberately reveal your email address (see our privacy policy).

And because our lawyers will have a fit if I don’t say this, the words that count are on the terms of service page, here.

We’ve Updated Our Privacy Policy

The good news is, nothing material has changed. FeedBlitz is continuing to adhere to the same high standards we set ourselves from the start, in terms of both how we run our business and our obligations to you, our users.

The better news is, the updated privacy policy is I think not only clearer, it’s actually helpful, in that it contains things like links to third party sites where you can control how third party services we use (such as Google Analytics) treat your information. Light reading it is not, but it’s not exactly “War and Peace” either. If you care about how information about you is collected and used, it’s worth a read.

In more or less plain English, this is what our updated privacy policy says:

  • You have the right to control your personal information.
  • FeedBlitz never sells, rents or buys email addresses.
  • List owners can see the information you give them as part of our services.
  • FeedBlitz uses cookies, tracking and logging to make FeedBlitz work and tell list owners about activity on their lists.
  • FeedBlitz emails globally, but is a US-based business with a US-based infrastructure.

So why update it? Well, periodically, we review what we do and how we do it. As part of that process, our lawyers urged us to update our privacy policy to be both clearer, and to reflect modern realities. For example, the part about our servers being in the US turns out to be fairly important for non-US users. We didn’t have that before.

Anyway, lawyers are expensive (but for good reason), and it seems silly to waste all that money! You can find our freshly updated privacy policy here.

Is Gmail About to Wreck your Email Marketing?

What you need to know

Google has announced that, starting next month, they will reject email that purports to come from Gmail, but isn’t sent by a Gmail server.

How this might affect you

If you use a third party email service, like FeedBlitz, to send your email updates, AND your from address is a Gmail domain (e.g. mysuperduperblog@gmail.com), then your emails will probably not get through, unless either your email service or you change something.

What you need to do this month

If you’re with FeedBlitz, nothing! We will take care of this for you, and your email will get through, just as we did when Yahoo and AOL implemented the same policies in 2014.

If you are not with FeedBlitz, and you send emails using a Gmail address, you need to change your sending address. Ideally to one that better reflects your brand (such as me@mysuperduperblog.com). If you have a hosted web site, most site hosting packages come with at least one email address. Use that!

If you are with FeedBlitz, we recommend you do this anyway, not because your mail won’t go through (remember, we’re taking care of this for you), but because it’s better branding.

Do I have to give up using Gmail for my business?

Absolutely not. You can set up Gmail to pull from other email accounts (it’s in Gmail’s Settings, on the Accounts & Import tab).

What’s going on?

Google is helping curb spam by changing their DMARC policy. AOL and Yahoo did this in 2014. Basically, they’re saying to inbox providers, if you can’t prove that the email really came from Gmail, don’t accept it. Why? Because spammers use fake Gmail addresses, but they don’t run through Google’s servers. Spam sent this way fails DMARC authentication, and because Google’s policy will change to “reject” next month, most modern ISPs will not deliver it. Result: Much less spam for you. Hurrah!

This is a Good Thing.

BUT… legitimate email, such as your newsletters and blog updates, sent by email services like FeedBlitz that have been using your Gmail address will now get blocked, because that email won’t authenticate as coming from Gmail (which is true; it’s coming from us). FeedBlitz will automatically change the sending address where necessary to ensure your emails do in fact get through (and your replies will reach your Gmail account, so that’s OK too), so no FeedBlitz publishers or subscribers will be affected.

But if you’re not with us (you should fix that ;) ), you need to check with your email service provider (ESP) – and probably change your sending address.

Let’s Talk Branding for a Moment

Many (far too many) bloggers use <theirsite>@gmail.com as their email address when their domains are at <theirsite>.com. You’ve ponied up for the web site, have your branding just so, and then … oof. Let the ball drop at the email address. It’s not a huge branding fail, but ceding control of your business’ email address to Gmail could just get very sticky, starting next month.

So, go on. Finish the play on your branding with your email address. Update your mailing list’s settings.

Incidentally, if you’d like to find out about how you can extend your own domain’s email authentication to your FeedBlitz mailings, you can, using SPF and / or DKIM. It’s easy to set up, provided you have access to your DNS (domain name) settings.