I Just Deleted My List Of 20,000

So it’s the new year…I’m finally back from my 3 week ‘drive’ and I’m looking to have a fantastic 2012. So what better way to start the year off by cancelling my aWeber account and saying bye bye to my lists of over 20,000 contacts.


Wait a minute Jon…Did you just say you deleted your lists? On aWeber yes, I did. First of all, I am very happy with Traffic Wave and they have served my needs very well PLUS Brian and his team actually WANTS and appreciates traffic exchange business. aWeber on the other hand, has told me and a few of my friends in the business that they want nothing to do with ‘untargeted’ traffic sources like traffic exchanges. But…That’s not the big reason.

I’m taking a step back from the whole ‘list building’ side of things. Yes, I still think it’s very important to build a contact list but I think for years, the industry has had it all backwards. The old business model is push. Push your mesage. Push your broadcast. Push your promotions. And as someone on the list, there was very little we could do to interact with the sender…Other than reply. Which most of the times it went to a ‘no reply’ email address.

In this day and age of social…It’s not what I consider a good business model.

Now if we flip it…Do two things, where we first worry about the relationship rather than the ability to push promotional messages to your list…I think that builds a real ‘push / pull’ relationship where your readers don’t feel like they are simply a name on a list.

And second, why not make it easy for your ‘list’ to contact you. Send them to a blog where they can interact with you and hear from you directly…Not just a ‘no reply’ email address.

I dunno, maybe I’m completely wrong…I’ve been known to make bad decisions in my life and business but I’m saying no more to the whole top down way of list building…Let’s walk side by side with our ‘lists’ instead of just pushing messages to them. Treat them like real people and not just a faceless name on a list.

See ya later aWeber…It’s been a fun ride.

Jon Olson

I'm Jon Olson, I've been publishing Hit Exchange News since 2003 and been involved in the traffic exchange industry since...Well, the beginning :) I'd love to network with you as you browse the pulse of the traffic exchange industry! I am also a HUGE fan of reading your comments. I will respond to every single one! Poke around and enjoy the 'News! And thanks for hanging out...

28 thoughts to “I Just Deleted My List Of 20,000”

  1. Hey Jon, couldn’t agree more.

    Whenever I write an “email” (when I was active), I always had it written up as a blog post for interaction, Q&As and of course – it helped A LOT regarding “SEO” and coming up with new posts on my blog. It really was a win-win-win for everyone involved.

  2. Matthew – thanks for the comment man. Yup, I agree…A blog is more push / pull and less about ‘talking’ to people and more about the back and worth communication.

  3. Hi Jon!

    I was surprised and then I wasn’t when you said you deleted your Aweber list. Having used both I have to say that I am very happy with Traffic Wave as well. Like you said though, it is not the autoresponder that is important, it is the relationships you build with the people who have opted in to receive your messages. I think a blog is also an excellent idea to get people involved. Whether it is a personal blog or one for your business, it is always good to get feedback from the readers. At Hot Flash Hits we love hearing what our members have to say.

  4. Thanks Valev – Happy new year!

    Jolynn – Yeah it’s a two way street with the blog…Email to me is very one sided. Especially in the era of social, it’s good to actually ‘hear back’ from people.

  5. Hi Jon,

    I couldn’t agree more. I would much rather have a small team of 5 or 10 people that read and will reply to an email, than a list of thousands that don’t even open emails even after they ‘requested’ what you are sending them.

    Steven Shirey

  6. Jon – wow, what a post! I’m an analyst by trade, thus, I tend to over-analyze IM. In 2001, I failed at on-line relationship marketing. Now, part of the reason was I was working Quixtar (Amway), but, regardless, we were doing it “the right way” – our motto was don’t go into business with anyone prior to knowing where they live and how many kids they have (or something close to that) – build the relationship first.

    I think part of the problem was we were about 8 years early (no social), the other downfall was it went too slowly. Our group seemed to plateau at about 120 – after that we kind of just hung out in a chat room and became friends. So, your +1 concept is critical, but it still concerns me if the model can continue to grow beyond a core group of friends?

    Here’s the flip side — this is actually part of an e-mail from a guy who’s products I have purchased in the past year (not making this up) – here it is…

    “The first 5 years have been about creating products to
    sell to teach people what I do. Now that they are
    created, the next phase is long term automation. Instead of
    driving a few thousand visits a month and making $4
    per subscriber per month, I’m going to drive a million
    visits a month, and settle for $1 per subscriber per month.”

    That’s more than a 180 from what you’re talking about… and frankly I don’t know which one is more “do-able” in terms of truly making a living on-line. Obviously 1.0M visitors a montth is absurd, but I also have trouble getting over my failures from a decade ago at relationshipping first and not “worrying” (for lack of better word) if someone is going to buy from me or not. Thanks for the insight!


  7. Did you import the list from Aweber to TrafficWave? I sure hope so, because you can do that. If not, there goes over 20,000 people you could have built a relationship with.

  8. Great post Jon and it also involves something that TE members/owners need to remember and heed – Take Action. By ‘stirring the pot’ with this new activity you also gain more momentum. Letting your members know you’re making a change for THEIR benefit will increase their loyalty to you and your brand.

    I think many people get lazy once their autoresponder is up and running. (Heck at one time seeing your name in the email made it feel ‘personal’ but that’s where the personal interaction ended). If the autoresponder is making profit they could also get ‘comfortable’ and to quote your dad (taken from “Hits, Clicks & Misses”):

    “When people get comfortable, they get lazy. And when people get lazy, they cannot move forward. Being comfortable is the quickest way to stop progress.
    Kenneth W. Olson ”

    By using a blog with your autoresponder vs just your autoresponder you encourage, not just yourself to take daily action but also, your members/contacts.

    It becomes a win/win situation.

    Thanks Jon, to you and your dad 😉

    P.S. Jon’s book “Hits, Clicks & Misses” is available at Amazon and makes a great reference book or GIFT.

  9. Hey Jon,

    We can always expect you to be “all in” for whatever you are doing. Your passion is commendable!

    There is nothing I love doing more than interacting with members and finding ways to add more value for them. That is what running any ethical business is all about. The increase in social tools has made being able to create and build those relationships much easier than it was 10 years ago when you and I started in this business.

    However, I am always reluctant to call any strategy for connecting with customers as “dead” because in fact, all strategies still work to build those relationships. I think it is important to pursue all avenues for reaching more people with your message and the value you can provide for them. Social is great, but some people are still more comfortable with the “push” method of getting the latest news from your business. When we started posting all our contest winners on Facebook, we received complaints from those members who did not want to be “forced” to use it. It is always preferable to allow customers to interact with you in the way they feel most useful.

    Building a list is still an important tool for anyone wanting to have an impact on a group of people. You an build that list as email addresses, as followers on Twitter, fanpage likes or friends on Facebook, Linked In, or preferably all of the above! The more ways to connect … the better.

    Thanks Jon!

    Matthew Graves

    P.S. When you reply to an email from one of my exchanges … it comes right to me! It isn’t hard to set the reply address separate from the sending address for bounce management.

  10. Doug – ha ha ha Awesome man! Yup, I’ve learned alot from my pops lol

    Gary – Nope, I just deleted the account. I spent years trying to build relationships with that list, it’s my fault for not doing it the right way from day one.

    Kent – Awesome comments man. Great question too…I dunno what is easier. In fact, I’d take the hardest route, it’s much more rewarding at the end of the tunnel lol

    Steven – thank you sir, and I completely agree!

  11. Matthew – thanks for the comments. I’m sure it works wonders for some folks, but me myself, my business model is much more than just facebook and twitter. it’s the daily interactions that I look forward too. facebook , twitter even email, are tools..the real beauty is when you connect with people and the relationship starts.

    I must applaud you for actually getting the emails sent to you, it’s a rare thing as you know and thats what separates you from the crowd IMO

  12. Thanks Jon for the comments back.

    You have been very innovative about how you connect with members. Definitely pushing the envelope and making others stand up and notice. As always, it is “different strokes for different folks” and from a member’s point of view, it is great to have a variety of exchanges which all have their own style. Each person can find the ones that fit best with their own style and what they feel comfortable with.

    You can’t create a community (that is what exchanges really are) which everyone is 100% happy with. If you try to make everyone happy, you will end up with something which is mediocre (but nobody hates) instead of something which people love. Choose a niche, take a stand, and stick to it!

    Thanks again Jon.


  13. Wow that sounds like a pretty radical step. If you didn’t send them all a sort of “fair well” email telling them your plans, I suppose those folks will find your blog if they want to contact you.

    One thing I learned from it is that the industry certain is changing from when I started two years ago and while there is no cut and dry method of what is right, reaching out and getting to know people is important. I know I have started to build relationships in the past year as I met some wonderful people and though I am not making much money to speak of, I considered the foundation of these relationships more important. So what you are saying confirms the direction I have been going.

    Thanks for sharing Jon.

    God Bless

  14. Hey Jon,
    I am sure that more than a few people will read your post and think that you have gone utterly mad.
    Deleting a list of 20,000 subscribers!
    Like, goodbye list I don’t need you any more.
    But is this really mad?

    If I didn’t know you I would have assumed you just imported all the names over to Traffic Wave and then wrote this blog post for its dramatic impact.
    However I really believe that you did simply choose to say goodbye to that list of 20,000 names.
    And here’s why I think that what you did is a good idea.

    What you had was a list of 20,000 names. You had no real relationship with those people at all other than having them on Aweber’s database with the ability to email them at will.
    This is just slightly better than having the ability to email random people from the phone directory.

    20,000 names of people you have no connection with is more of less meaningless except that if you send them an email then ‘x’ per cent may bother to open the email, a smaller percentage still
    may click any link you want to send them too and a still smaller percentage may go on to take the ultimate action you want them to take.

    It is a numbers game, nothing more and nothing less than a game of numbers.

    Now if you take the more controversial route (controversial because marketing gurus and list builders see it as utter madness) of building a community of followers than that is a whole different ball game.


  15. There is nothing I like better than getting comments on our Hot Flash Hits blog. It is truly a way to connect with our members and other Internet marketers.
    The HUMAN factor and one-on-one interaction will help guide an owner in the right direction for success.
    As far as a list goes, you gotta have one in this niche. But to have a successful list, you will need to give the members of that list a REASON to join an opportunity with you instead of the ten other people they will get and email from that day, in that lies the relationship building.
    I guess its a matter of perspective.
    If you haven’t heard yet, this SOCIAL thing works!

  16. Hi Jon,

    Great post!

    I recently heard someone say that our internet marketing businesses are really more aligned with being sales driven rather than marketing driven. The old way of sales and marketing was to push, push, push.

    Our new drive should be to give, give, give. If we give quality, expert level service, content and advocacy, FIRST. People will come to us and ask us when they want to purchase our product or service.

    As Gitomer often says, People hate to be sold to but they love to buy.

    Sean Phillips

  17. Sean – Love it bro! Great comments man, thanks!

    Cathy – You two are crushing it!!!! Keep going ladies, big things for HFH this year I can see it a mile away!

    Patrick – Can I steal your comments and just make them my next blog post? LOL Awesome stuff man, thanks!

    Shelayne – Thanks very much. It’s sooooo important. The relationships is all that matters in this day and age I think

  18. Hey Jon! Happy New Year! Wow what a way to start the year off fresh! Yeah, I can just see people reading your subject line, taking a HUGE GULP and thinking you’ve gone mad! However, I couldn’t agree more that social is definitely the way to go and creating the relationship with people, you will be much more successful!

    I can honestly say from experience, nothing drives me more crazy then people pitching me constantly and not providing me with any real value and of course constantly trying to UPSELL me! 🙁

  19. Jon

    Great post and I think you did the right thing. Build the relationship just like your funnel analogy on one of the CTP training videos, out of quantity comes quality then work on the quality.

    You have given me a great new idea for my TrafficWave list, direct them to my blog. Yeeha I love your advice and blogs.



  20. Jon,

    Wow! Deleting a list of 50 would be a bad move, let alone 20k+. I don’t know I would tell others to do the same, maybe just direct them to your blog through your autoresponder.

    You have built a very good reputation on a solid relationship-based business model. For the people that are still building theirs, wouldn’t it be more effective to have them simply redirect contact with their list to their blog?

    Interesting post none-the-less, you guys have found a gem in the way you approach social marketing for sure.

    Best Regards,

    Jerokiah Darr

  21. Thing is, of 20,000 deleted on list I bet only a tiny few were active and not scammers

    I bet those few will go search this blog out Jon!
    They will be genuine marketers, worth their weight in gold

  22. Best wishes for 2012, Jon. I really appreciate the sincere effort and the innovation you give to the traffic exchange community.

  23. Deleting a list of 20,000 subscribers is not such a scary proposition for someone with the skills and talents necessary to build a new and more responsive list.

    I follow a few professional marketers, and every one of them uses the mailing to send their readers to a recent blog post. It’s an effective tactic.


  24. Hey Jon,

    I understand your position towards Aweber completely.

    It is sad that they claim Traffic Exchanges to be ‘garbage traffic’ but what I don’t understand, is where exactly does e-mail marketing comes in the equation around TEs?

    On the other hand, I have very few people on my list and they all signed in exchange to get blog updates on their e-mail inbox and nothing else.

    I have rewarded them with a few things but that’s about it and they were unannounced freebies.

    Still with this I think I have a 50% open rate and an obvious smaller CTR but I don’t care about that, because they already know that it is almost always about a blog update and they already know where to go.

    About having a relationship with your list, the other day I mentioned that you could actually reply to me and ask if you had any doubts (or something like that)

    And people actually replied!!

    I was excited and scared at the same time because then I thought “Whoa… these are just a few people and they replied, if I had thousands on my list… now THAT would have been scary!”

    Anyway, I think I would have sent a good bye e-mail to those 20K subscribers explaining a little bit about my change of directions leaving a link to sign up to the Jon Olson 2.0 list.

    But then again, that’s just me and I respect your decision man.

    I recently spoke about this with someone important in the Internet Marketing business, I asked him I wanted to include the name on my opt-in form and what to do with my current list of subscribers.

    He asked how many subs do you have?

    I answered 20-ish, I haven’t been focusing on growing that.

    He told me “get rid of them, just start a new one”.

    I know this is a number’s game, but I’m not going to get ‘rid of them’ even if they are just 5 persons because they signed for it out of any interest.

    Oh well, this got big again (I already cleared the whole screen and decided to turn it into a post lol) just wanted to tell you that I respect your decision and I’m sure you took the right choice.

    Speak soon Jon and keep rocking your treadmill man!


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