This is the third part of a three part series of posts on different RSS to Email Solutions. You can read Part 1 which reviews Feedburner’s system here and Part 2, a review of Feedblitz here. This post has been contributed by Brian Armstrong of Breaking Free.
Zookoda is a breath of fresh air in the RSS-to-Email market. A slick Web2.0 interface makes it easy to use (although in a few spots it still feels like its in beta), and it comes with an impressive array of features in a free product.
Here are a few: true scheduling, email customization, importing subscribers without another opt-in or contacting the list, ability to capture additional fields (like first name), and extensive reporting and stats.
Zookoda really is quite brilliant. There were two negatives I feel obligated to mention however.
The first is that Zookoda subscribers don’t show up in FeedBurner stats. Whether this is Zookoda’s fault, an inability to communicate with FeedBurner, or that the two companies are simply too busy I have no idea. You can of course include an additional badge that shows your Zookoda subscriber count, which is one somewhat less-than-ideal work around.
Secondly, and of much bigger concern, is that it appears for all intents and purposes that Zookoda is no longer being supported. Apparently they were purchased recently by PayPerPost, and activity seems to have dropped off since then.
There have been zero posts to their blog, and responses from their support are practically nonexistent. This is really a shame, because Zookoda represents the best option available today for RSS-to-Email.
Open message to PayPerPost: don’t drop the ball on this one! You are sitting on a gold mine and have 90% of the equation for success sitting right there in front of you. Put one or two people on it to answer a few emails and fix the occasional bug and you will hands down have the best RSS-to-Email product available today! I hear this whole “blogging” thing is a growth market too, so it might be a good opportunity. Just a thought… ;)
- Importing without another opt-in
- Nice user interface and easy to use
- Subscribers don’t show up in Feedburner stats
- Zero support as of right now, so if you can’t get it to work on your own, you’re stuck
Bottom line: 4/5 stars
An impressive service with plenty of great features that represents the best hope of an ideal RSS-to-Email product. Only questions is whether PayPerPost has abandoned it.
Update – I discovered that you can in fact get support for Zookoda, but you have to do it through PayPerPost’s website contact form. Submitting questions through Zookoda’s contact form gets no response.
Note from Darren – I’ve been using Zookoda for over 12 months now and agree that there’s a lot to like about Zookoda. However in the last few months I’ve noticed increasing deliverability problems – particularly with Yahoo email addresses (and other systems that use Yahoo like sbcglobal emails). I’m told by Zookoda that this is a Yahoo problem – however I’ve not seem the same problems with other services such as AWeber. This combined with slow customer support is making me seriously consider moving my lists to other services.
I have not tried AWeber (aff) personally, so I will make this section short. From my research, it is quite possibly the best paid service option. AWeber has been around for a long time and RSS-to-Email is just one area of their business. Many large companies use AWeber. The only problem is that it is expensive.
- Plenty of features
- Good support
- Subscribers don’t count toward FeedBurner stats
Bottom Line: ?/5 stars
I haven’t used it personally so I won’t say, but this is most likely the best option for corporate blogs or bloggers who want a no hassle solution and don’t mind spending for it.
If you don’t have any current subscribers and want something quick and easy to set up (or you aren’t technically savvy), your best option is to go with FeedBurner.
If you already have an existing email list, and/or you want more control over scheduling and customization, I’d recommend going with Zookoda.
If you are a corporate blog or have some cash to spend for a worry free solution I’d suggest going with AWeber.
By the way, if the idea of transferring subscribers from one list to another sounds daunting (and it should, don’t underestimate it), remember that you can always start a new system (such as FeedBurner) while leaving your old subscribers on the old system. There is no reason you can’t be running two simultaneously. It will be totally transparent to your readers if part of them are getting email updates from one source, and part from another. This will avoid the issue of transferring subscribers entirely.
Regardless of which approach you use, take some time to make your decision before jumping in. Once a change is made, it is not always easy to change your mind without confusing/annoying your readers (and shrinking your list). Expect to encounter some problems in the transition (broken links, incorrect formatting, duplicate articles being sent) and proceed with caution. It’s an excellent idea to notify all your readers of the transition before actually doing it. At least then if something goes wrong (and assume it will), they won’t be totally in the dark. Best of luck!
About the author:
Brian Armstrong is a entrepreneur who achieved financial freedom working for himself at age 23. If you’ve always wanted to start your own business and work for yourself, check out his website on how to start a business. You can read interviews with self made millionaires where they share the secrets to their success, and learn how to start your own business for under $100. Check it out: http://www.startbreakingfree.com/