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Constant Contact Review Pros and Cons

Posted on Oct 4, 2010 by Paul White

The chances are you have received bulk emails from promoters and businesses who use constant contact.  Some people are wondering if constant contact is worth it?  Recently I had the need to setup one of my clients on constant contact so we could blast to our maillist.  Normally we would blast from our own mail server but after the recent move to a new datacenter and getting a new IP, we are starting from scratch with our IP reputation and therefore suffer from terrible delivery rates.  Once the major ISPs can figure out what kind of operation we are running our email delivery should return to normal.  In this post I discuss Constant Contact's pros and cons from my short term experience with them.

Constant Contact Pros

  • Easy to use interface
  • reasonable pricing
  • accurate tracking data
  • quick delivery of emails
  • bounce info to help you clean up your lists
  • Well known by ISPs giving high inbox delivery rates.
  • High volume sender

The Pros are pretty self explanatory.  What I want to focus more on are the cons.

Constant Contact Cons

Known Bulk Email Sender

Since they are a well known bulk email sender, Mail Server Admins could potentially block their IP block to prevent the unsolicited emails.  Emails that come from corporate mail servers have a better chance making it to the inbox than bulk mail servers.  Bulk Mail servers are more likely to hit the spam box.  However there is a flip side to this.  If you were to send 5000 emails from a corporate mail server that typically only does 500 emails per day, most of those emails are likely to be delayed by Yahoo and other Major ISPs, since when you would blast the traffic would be unusual for your server.  This is where constant contact gives you a small advantage.  Since they are known to send millions of emails,  emails are not likely to be deferred.  This is good if you want to make it to the inbox quickly and not have your emails forced to trickle out over the next 24 hours.

Low Open Rates

Since you are sending from constant contact your Open rates may be lower than if you used an well established private mail server.  This is likely because some of the IPs that constant contact uses get flagged for spam and your emails coming off those IPs will also be seen as spam.

Other Bounce Category

If you ran your own mail server you would see every bounce message.  But in the case of Constant Contact they try to organize your bounces by category.  The first category ( unknown user ) is very useful, as you can scrub those from your list.  But the Other catgory is unknown. I don't know if emails that fall into this category are bad or not.  It would be nice if we could read the individual bounce messages so we could further determine the type of bounce but Constant Contact does not share this type of information.

False Positive Bounces

Something we did notice was Constant Contact has marked a few of our emails as bad / unknown. This is when we personally know these members, and their emails.  Not sure if this is an internal error with constant contact and they way they handle the response messages, or if individual Mail Servers are telling constant contact we don't exists to help purge their users from their list.  Granted this was not in any high numbers.  We blasted to about 8000 emails, and only know about 5 false positives.

Constant Contact Results

Even including the negatives I listed above Constant Contact did a decent job with our maillist.  Though open rates were just slightly lower than we normally would get with our own mail server, they were much higher than our new mail server with a virgin IP address.   I might consider using them for other lists in the future.

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