“Lessons” will be anything I learn in running AQR, working with bands, running the crowdfunding site/others projects, things I remember from past business expereinces or life in general that I think may be of use to you pursuing your own opportunities.
Mind you I am not sure what lesson I am personally taking away from this experience, but it can serve as a heads up for others, and is most certainly a critique of designing applications.
One Off Mailing List
Earlier this week I created a one-of mailing list of people I wanted to reach out to and inform them about AQR being open for business. The plan is [was?] to use MailChimp for AQR’s ongoing newsletter. So this was to be the first time I used the service. I had used other services – online and software based – in the past, but wanted to try MailChimp and compare. There are many good aspects of MailChimp I have seen in my brief experience. But this is not about their positives.
MailChimp “It can be confusing…”
So yesterday I sent that introductory email. I added the names to the list I was going to use. I wrote the message, edited it, added some links. The service allows for a test message to double check everything – I sent a test message – everything looked good, all the links worked – it was time. Message sent.
Link Error: “No URL found for this tracker ID”
Emails all go out fine. Then I start hearing back form people. Thanks to Trevor for alerting me to this error message when he tried clicking on a link: “No URL found for this tracker ID”.
WT….! Right. I sent a test, the links all worked. So I open the live version and see what is there now/going on and find the following in place of my links:
(The actual links were all to blog posts – HFX50+, SPIDER, a social media training session, and the crowdfunding site- so you’re here now).
Headscratching commences. A search of their help section takes me to the following link:
At that page I find these amazing sentencse:
Once a second test or the final campaign is sent, the first set of test links expire and, again, the links don’t have anything in our system to reference against.
It can be confusing at first to tell whether or not you are looking at an expired test message versus a copy of a final campaign.
I just ran another test and email to my own addresses. No where is this expired link possibility noted or warned of. On their page Email Campaign Testing Tips – neither under general nor specific tips – does it mention that after you test, your links may not work.
I have two serious issues about this:
a) My test messages do not accurately represent – it turns out – what the final message will look like – it kind of defeats the point of a test message.
b) If, on your site, you have to note an aspect of your service is confusing – you should probably fix that part of the service!
I also do not understand why a test message forces links to expire in the first place. This is a 10 year old company – confusing should not be part of their product at this stage.
I 110% guarantee that if you hire AQR for any type of web or application development you will not find the word confusing in any of our documentation – and you will not end up with a product that fails to do what end users are expecting. And if by chance a bug/issue slips past – it will certainly be corrected immediately for the end users’ benefit.
Note: In their defence, maybe I *did* miss something – I can’t see what in trying more test/mailings but I am going to contact them and see if I own some fault here (though that still doesn’t excuse them for point b above).
Thanks to Josh Hogan at Red Tentacle for the heads up on a typo on the main site. No matter how many times you look at something – always have fresh eyes look it over. And then another set or two.
We mentioned our love of music right…. check out the music festival that is apparently quite on our minds