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Posted 14th January 2009 at 11:36 AM by kindsvater

Relying upon a third party must be a factor you evaluate when buying any online service or product. In particular, if that third party goes under or discontinues their service, how will that impact you?

It's not an idle question. It could be critical for your business.

Years ago I was collecting everything written by Allen Says and checking out recommended resources in his ebooks. Surprisingly, almost all the websites had shut-down.

You still see that today. A service hot last year shuts down. It has nothing to do with the current economy - it is a rampant problem on the Internet.

So what happens then if your business is relying on a service and they decide, for whatever reason, to close their site? How bad are you screwed?

They don't even have to shut-down entirely - just stop supporting their service.

One example is autoresponders. Your entire newsletter and list could be at risk if you do not own your own script. A couple years ago Email Aces started-up and tried to sell the story that it was a big player, with Aweber and GetResponse. Now, only the ignorant and foolish would subscribe to the Aces.

My email program is Eudora. Once one of the leading email programs. Still works, but the company stopped selling it and supporting it. It's living on borrowed time and doesn't work well with Vista.

I'm sure you can think of many, many examples. Online services come and go at an alarming rate.

Getting back to autoresponders, that is one program I feel you should have your own script. Unless you're confident in never missing payments to an online service and that they will be around for years and years.

I found a good resource that compares prices and features of numerous autoresponders - both online services and scripts to purchase:

Autoresponder Comparison Reviews

While Aweber is a good service, you may want to consider purchasing a script as a backup (before you absolutely must need it now).

And generally speaking, anytime you are thinking about purchasing a monthly online service, consider whether that is best for your needs, the stability and longevity of the seller, and whether something you buy, download, and own (even if a little more), will give you more peace of mind and your long-term needs.
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