A friend of mine related a different kind of sad tale to me last week. He had built an opt-in list of more than 60,000 people, which was being managed by an outside vendor.
Recently, he had been having problems with the list manager, and finally told him that he had decided to bring his list in-house and do his own mailings.
You’ve probably already guessed the end of the story: The vendor absconded with his list of names, and my friend now has no way of contacting his own subscribers. I had an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach when he told me about his predicament.
So, take this opportunity to learn from my friend’s devastating experience. If you go into, or are already in, any kind of Internet deal, there are two conditions you should always insist upon.
First, you should have an agreement with your list manager to send you an updated copy of your list at least once a week. Make sure to keep a copy in your computer, have a copy on an external hard drive, a copy on a CD, and a fourth copy stored offsite. If you’re dealing with an honorable person, he will have no problem with this and will be happy to accommodate you.
Second, if the website belongs to you, make it a condition that it will be housed on a hosting service of your choice. And be sure to use only a large, well-known Web host that you know will still be in business next year – or even next month!
I’ve lost two websites to companies that consisted of two guys and a computer and went out of business – as in, phones shut off and no way of contacting them! Perhaps I was a bit naïve to become involved with two-man “companies” with names like Vermin & Vermin, LLC and Fraud, Scam, & Swindle, Inc.
Warning: There are droves of website designers out there who will try to convince you that they need to keep your site on their own server in order to keep it properly updated. (This is usually a euphemism for passing your site along to another Web host from which they receive an override.)
Do not buy into this trap! A competent Web designer or manager can do just fine with your website if you have it hosted by a company of your choice.