For 78 straight weeks, my "This Week in the NYC Innovation Community Newsletter" enjoyed industry leading metrics... Near 40% opens, almost 15% clickthroughs, and almost 4,000 subscribers.
Then, all of the sudden, in my May 31st mailing, nearly a third of my actives just... disappeared. Opens dipped to 25% and clicks went to single digits for the first time ever. People starting asking me on Twitter where the newsletter went. Then I realized, I didn't get it either. It wasn't long before I had tracked down the culprit:
Gmail ate my newsletter.
I found my own subscription to my newsletter in my spambox along with Viagra and WOW Gold! A check of my Mailchimp stats, not surprisingly, revealed that Gmail represents a third of my subscribers--almost an exact match to the loss of my ridiculously consistant audience. Some further Twitter diligence confirmed it.
The worst part isn't being blocked--spam is a difficult challenge and hey, things happen. What's worse is that when I contacted Mailchimp support, I got a remedial lesson in how spam works and questions as to what changed. Nothing changed and I'm not spam. Clearly, Gmail's filters changed and they made a mistake... and given the volume of mail that Mailchimp sends, they should really be working with folks like Return Path to fix the problem. Being told to reexamine my newsletter felt like that sign in a coat check that says "We're not responsible for stolen goods." Let me tell you buddy, if I give you my bag, I better be getting it back, sign or not... and I'm going to hold your restaurant at fault if i don't. So, when I pay Mailchimp to send the mail that my subscripters opted into, it should get delievered--and if it doesn't get delievered, you should just be *on it* like ConEd.
I'm disappointed with Google as well. I actually pay for additional Gmail storage--I'm a paying Google customer and public replies to their Gmail account go unanswered. So, either that means someone has read it and ignored it, or no one's checking. If you're going to bother having a social media presence, you can't just let customer complaints go unchecked.
What's even more bizarre is that this is a list that goes out to 4,000 people in the New York Tech community and no one seems to care. This is literally a who's who list of Big Apple tech influencers, reporters, etc and no one in the process is jumping in to help. Wha?
At least it's not only me, though. My buddy Dan Primack has a private equity newsletter called the Term Sheet that is now getting caught in Gmail's spam filter as well. Someone mentioned it to me on Twitter and I noticed I wasn't getting it either. I just found it and clicked the Not Spam button, which doesn't seem to do anything. I've encouraged my readers to click that button as well... apparently it's pointless.
So who's going to step up and fix this issue before next Monday? Whoever does gets a free shoutout in a 4,000 person tech newsletter.