A couple of weeks ago I wrote about an open source newsletter manager called PhpList before I ever tried it. My post mentioned the industry standard of AWeberand the giant underdog that is PhpList. I just want to say that I understand now. After spending a little time with PhpList and a lot of time watching videos and reading on the AWeber site, I have to admit that there is just no comparison between the two.

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I’m not trying to knock what the folks at PhpList are trying to do because I think it’s still great to have a free alternative. However, if you’re at all serious about growing a list and communicating with (and marketing to) your readers with ease, I have seen nothing that comes even close to matching up with AWeber.

First of all, I had some trouble installing PhpList, so I went the easy route and installed it via Fantastico. At least it worked that way. I started setting up some test lists, poked around at the settings rather unenthusiastically, then clicked over to the AWeber site for a little comparison and that was it for me. They have all the right features and present them in all the right ways.

I really tried to rebel against paying for something when there was a free alternative, but I soon realized there’s a reason why so many internet entrepreneurs invest in this software. It must be worth it. Those people are not getting rich by spending money, so when they all use and endorse a particular product, it’s time to figure out why.

One of the biggest pros of purchasing any type of software over the open source kind is support. For example, even though I really liked my original theme, I knew if I wanted to take this site seriously, I would need to be able to get answers when/if things went wrong. Since many have said that your newsletter subscribers are your life line, one could definitely argue that related issues need to be fixed quickly.

With a paid service, you get:

With free software, sometimes you get:

If you feel you need some convincing, take a quick peek over at the feature list and read everything they have to offer. At first glance you might think that the open source alternatives match up quite nicely, but the more deeper you delve into the options, the more apparent it becomes that AWeber is the email marketing king.

I almost feel like I’m hyping this software a bit too much for having never used it. I guess that happens when I get excited about using something new. I realize there will be a learning curve while I get used to all the settings and options as I test the service out. I could still come back after awhile and change my mind yet again, but I think there would have to be a staggering let down for that to happen.

I’m not in any big rush to start spending money on a subscription just yet, especially since I haven’t even figured out what kind of content is best for newsletters. (software updates, latest posts, straight reviews, all of the above, etc.) It’s all new to me. I am excited to get to try AWeber out though. I have a few different sites I could implement it on which is an absolute fantastic benefit.

They’re offering the first month for a dollar with a thirty day money back guarantee, so I guess you can’t beat that price for getting to try it out for a month risk free.