Better/cheaper solution than Mailchimp?

by altar22 61 replies
Hi all,
I have an e-commerce on Squarespace and I make my own product (jewelry).
I want to start building an email list in order to promote 1 great offer a week, but I'm realizing that mass emailing is technically quite complicated and probably expensive.
I'm going to collect emails by offering a giveaway entry against a sign-up to my weekly newsletter (my weekly offer).

I figured that since these prospects signed up hoping to win something there will be a fair amount of opting out, and also that the conversion rate will be significantly lower than with a regular opt-in list.
The risk I have is ending up with a very large list that converts very little. If that happens then the high fees of a solution like Mailchimp could eat away any profit.

- Is there a better solution than Mailchimp?
- Is anyone using EmailOctopus?

Thanks for your advice
P.S. Sorry I thought I was posting this in the "email marketing" subforum
#email marketing #better or cheaper #mailchimp #solution
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Aweber and Getresponse gets my vote. Have you considered or used anyone of them before? How about ConstantContact?
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Marcell
    Signing up for an email marketing solution like AWeber isn't that expensive at all. The important thing that you forgot to mention though was how you plan on building your list?

    And these services charge you by how many subscribers are on your list not by the individual emails that are sent out.

    So, find an email marketing solution that works within your budget and start growing your list. I wouldn't worry about losing profits in the beginning because you haven't even tested your strategy yet.

    Here's some good alternatives to AWeber:

    1.) Sendlane
    2.) GetResponse
    3.) ActiveCampaign
    4.) Convertkit

    You really can't go wrong with any of these. So, just pick one and take action. If you hesitate for to long you're not going to get anything done and lots of time will be wasted because of it.
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  • Profile picture of the author altar22
    OK thanks,
    I'm sure all these solutions are good, but if they aren't much cheaper than Mailchimp, what makes it worth choosing them over Mailchimp (which has an integration with Squarespace)?
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  • Profile picture of the author Rory Singh
    Your problem isn't finding something cheaper than mailchimp.

    Did you know mailchimp doesn't like affiliate offers / links?

    Your problem seems to stem from you telling people that if they subscribe to your newsletter...they will get free giveaways.

    Then you claim that most end up opting out after they finally realize they are not getting free giveaways.

    How about you not offering any free giveaway in exchange for email addresses?

    You can offer a free eBook in exchange for their email addresses and then follow up with useful helpful info and periodic promotions.

    Now about auto responders...

    If you are just messing around online then stick to mailchimp.

    But if you are planning to build an email list for the long term then you will need a professional service like Aweber.

    $19 per month.

    And yes you will have to pay out of pocket for this expense.

    This is the price of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

    Otherwise you are only looking for a free giveaway yourself and are on the same level of freebie seekers.

    Freebie people don't make money online.
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  • Profile picture of the author altar22
    Wow.. ok
    1. I've never done a sweepstakes-for-sign-up campaign before, so I just imagine that once the winner is announced, quite a few participants will opt-out, and I imagine this list will probably have a lower conversion rate. This is why I need to keep a grip on costs.
    Also, I have 10K emails of past customers who haven't opted in for any newsletter. I imagine Mailchimp won't accept those, so I have to find a solution for that too.
    2. As I said, I'm a jeweler, so I don't have any e-book to offer. My offer is to promote a very valuable deal, once a week.
    3. You say that Mailchimp is just for messing around and Aweber is for the real IM. Do you have some or even one example of why? This is actually what I was asking for.
    4. All I'm saying is that the other solutions don't look cheaper than Mailchimp, so in what way are they better?

    BTW, obviously you're not associated with Aweber in any way. Would be embarrassing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve L
    Originally Posted by altar22 View Post

    Hi all,
    I have an e-commerce on Squarespace and I make my own product (jewelry).
    I want to start building an email list in order to promote 1 great offer a week, but I'm realizing that mass emailing is technically quite complicated and probably expensive.
    I'm going to collect emails by offering a giveaway entry against a sign-up to my weekly newsletter (my weekly offer).

    I figured that since these prospects signed up hoping to win something there will be a fair amount of opting out, and also that the conversion rate will be significantly lower than with a regular opt-in list.
    The risk I have is ending up with a very large list that converts very little. If that happens then the high fees of a solution like Mailchimp could eat away any profit.

    - Is there a better solution than Mailchimp?
    - Is anyone using EmailOctopus?

    Thanks for your advice
    P.S. Sorry I thought I was posting this in the "email marketing" subforum
    I'd recommend Drip! You want more than just an email marketing app, you want full marketing automation capabilities!
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    It's better only because MailChimp does not like affiliate links. That's fine when you are selling your own products directly. Should you decide to add another product or ancillary products that pay you a commission (as an affiliate) - Mailchimp may close your acct.

    AWeber and GetResponse are not free but have a reputation for being reliable with great inbox delivery rates.

    I just imagine that once the winner is announced, quite a few participants will opt-out, and I imagine this list will probably have a lower conversion rate. This is why I need to keep a grip on costs.
    You have created a scenario above - that may be totally false. You don't know. If you have a monthly winner...maybe optouts won't be high. If you offer specials to your list - why would the conversion rate be lower?

    In the end - it's your business so choose the autoresponder YOU like. Keep in mind that if your list grows - changing autoresponders after you've built a list is a real challenge.
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    • Profile picture of the author altar22
      I try to plan for pessimistic scenarios but sure I hope I m wrong.
      Thanks for confirming that migrating is a pain. That s why I m careful about choosing the esp.
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  • Profile picture of the author felisitie
    MailChimp doesn't always stop campaigns that contain affiliate links, but they do stop campaigns that contain blacklisted URLs. If you send an email that links to a blacklisted URL, regardless of whether it's an affiliate or direct link, spam filters may block your message completely. You can refer to their website for more information https://kb.mailchimp.com/accounts/co...s-in-mailchimp
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  • Profile picture of the author APOORV SUKUMAR
    I gather my subsribers list from MailChimp but I don't send mails through it. For sending newsletters, I use Free MailPoet plugin in WordPress. Both are good in different scenarios and I use them combined and do my thing for free.
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  • Profile picture of the author altar22
    I don't use affiliate links, but I do have 10K+ emails from past customers.
    They haven't opted in for any newsletter, so does that mean I cannot send them anything via Mailchimp?
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    • Profile picture of the author ep2002
      Yes, according to Can Spam laws, you are allowed to add people who purchased from you to a list.
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  • Profile picture of the author ep2002
    Aweber is considered the Mercedes Benz of list software, but maybe Get Response has taken the lead now, I don't know.

    They have more tools than just the list, along with video. Their analytics about who opens what, etc. is very expansive if memory serves me.

    They also have a high delivery rate & what most people don't realize is that list software companies often get their IPs put on the grey or black lists and their e-mails either NEVER get delivered, or they end up in the spam folder where most people never look and clean out.

    The things I never liked about Aweber was their backend wasn't intuitive enough for me, and the e-mails you get when someone signs up are hard for me to read at a glance and they had code in them.

    I've complained to them about it 3 times over the years, including to managers and they don't care and refused to change it.

    The list software I was using at the time was joined with my shopping cart, and the way their e-mail notifications were designed, my eyes could glance at the name, list name and where they were from all in 30 secs. Plus there was no code in the e-mails.

    Business people don't have time to stop and stare at an e-mail that doesn't need reading.

    I'm about to start a free list because I can't afford a monthly fee. You can contact me if you want to brainstorm that although I haven't tried it out yet.

    I agree as an entrepreneur you have to spend money to make money, but if one doesn't have the money, they just DON'T. Robbing a bank to pay for expenses is just sheer stupidity, so do what's best for you, and then when you start to make more sales, then you can switch over to a more robust system.

    I'd stay away from Constant Contact if I were you. They are terrible.

    They've been around for IONS, and while their templates look somewhat pretty, their backend interface is terrible and they are more of a "newsletter" type service, not a real business' list software.

    I had to use them for a client once and nothing was intuitive, nor did it have the features a normal list software should have.

    I think they tend to get customers who know next to nothing about building a business online. Why they are still in business is beyond me, but it never ceases to amaze me how many OLD archaic online companies STILL exist online even though their software is out of date, terribly coded and NOT intuitive. I can list 3 just off the top of my head.

    HTH : )

    P.S. I forgot to mention 2 things:

    1. Aweber has a BONUS feature that NONE of the other list software had when I researched twice years ago.

    They allow you to add different company names & snail mail addresses per list. Now for you this may not matter, but for someone who has different sites, different industries, etc. this is a VERY important feature.

    2. I don't trust Mail Chimp - back when I was looking for list software, my assistant at the time wasted a WHOLE month researching them, asking them questions, etc. and then at the very end, they said they wouldn't allow the adult website even their T&C had no such restriction and YES, he checked.

    Any company who treats potential customers like garbage, makes mistakes and then doesn't even apologize shouldn't get my anyone's business IMO. We had been ready to sign up with them too.

    I get that they are free on WordPress though.
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    • Profile picture of the author altar22
      Thanks for the insight.
      From the reviews I've read Aweber has much better support than Mailchimp, so +1 for that.
      Also, I need something intuitive and easy to get started with so I'll definitely check GetResponse.

      I still don't know what I should do with those 10k+ emails from past customers.
      Is there any way I can use them?
      Should I send each of them an email asking them to go opt-in to the list?
      Do you think that it's worth running them through a verification service?
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      • Profile picture of the author ep2002
        You are most welcome : )

        Never heard of a Verification Service, what does that do?

        I mean you already know they are legit e-mails right, b/c they have purchased from you before.

        Or do you mean dead/bounce back e-mails?
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        • Profile picture of the author altar22
          Not quite sure myself what those service do, but I heard they could be required by the email list hosting company.
          Also someone said it was ok to add past customers to your list, but I'm reading several articles on email list management websites that it's NOT okay.
          They seem to say that you should send past customers an email asking them to opt-in.
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          • Profile picture of the author ep2002
            Hmm, maybe the law has changed.

            Can you do a search on the cam spam laws re: that one topic & see what they say?
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            • Profile picture of the author altar22
              Don't see anything specifically about that in the CAN-SPAM Act
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              • Profile picture of the author ep2002
                I'm going to ask a few of the companies & see what kind of answers I get. They should know more than anyone if they are worth their weight.
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                • Profile picture of the author altar22
                  Sent an email to GetResponse
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                  • Profile picture of the author altar22
                    Got a phone call from GetResponse.
                    They don't accept the emails of my 10k past customers.
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                    • Profile picture of the author ep2002
                      Hmmm, I wonder if everyone is saying that now : (
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Meaney
    If you're promoting a lot of affiliate offers, then go with Aweber.

    But if you're delivering lots of value to your list with fewer pitches, then choose any other platform because Aweber is seriously lagging behind everybody else.

    It used to be the go-to autoresponder, but things have moved on and they haven't caught up.

    While everybody else can handle behavioural response, Aweber have been saying "later this year", for the last 3 years.
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    • Profile picture of the author ep2002
      Michael Meaney What do you mean by "behavioral response?"

      What does that feature do exactly?
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  • Profile picture of the author jamie3000
    In terms of cost, Amazon are unbeatable. SES isn't as user friendly but for sheer bulk mailing to opt in they're by far the cheapest
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    • Profile picture of the author altar22
      Yes that coupled with EmailOctopus?
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  • Profile picture of the author vishwa
    I am a big fan of Sendinblue. It is one of the best alternative of mailchimp and comes with flexible pricing with tons of features. I highly recommend you to try them out.
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    • Profile picture of the author altar22
      Yes I've read some good reviews but also quite a few customer complaints
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    • Profile picture of the author ep2002
      I wrote to them & have yet to hear back.
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  • Profile picture of the author altar22
    OK, I've had a chat with someone at EmailOctopus and I'm going to give them a go.
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    • Profile picture of the author ep2002
      Wow, almost $45/month? That's a lot (for me anyway) & they claim that Mailchimp & Get Response is over $250??? LOL I didn't know they were that expensive.
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      • Profile picture of the author altar22
        "Wow, almost $45/month?"
        Which plan are you taking about?
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        • Profile picture of the author ep2002
          I have no idea, I stopped looking when I saw the price.

          They had at least 2 comparison areas on their site

          https://www.awesomescreenshot.com/im...444805dfbc2a06
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I've had a chat with someone at EmailOctopus
    You signed up with the first one you had a 'chat' with? Hope it works well for you. I looked at that option a while back - thought the 'fish' references were hokey. Funny what attracts or repels prospects, isn't it?

    I didn't know they were that expensive.
    ...they aren't.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mysterious Robin
    Nobody seems to be recommending MooSend? Why?
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    • Profile picture of the author ep2002
      Interesting. I just wrote them with some questions & they work with Zen Cart which is good b/c I just switched to Zen Cart.

      One of their vids doesn't work though.

      Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    It doesn't matter 'what everyone says' (half of them are usually wrong anyway) or which is cheapest. You have a basic problem and that's what you need to address:

    I don't use affiliate links, but I do have 10K+ emails from past customers.
    They haven't opted in for any newsletter, so does that mean I cannot send them anything via Mailchimp?
    No reputable autoresponder will allow you to import a big list of people with no opt in information. They would kill their own business doing that as spam complaints and non-deliverable numbers would be high.

    You seem to be asking the A/R's all sorts of questions - but the only first question to ask is "can I import 10k email addresses without opt in proof" - that will usually end the discussion.
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    • Profile picture of the author ep2002
      Kay King - Ok, that makes sense, so I agree with you. I didn't think of that.

      Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Kat Aff
    Try Sendinblue, it works pretty good for us.
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    • Profile picture of the author damiankrzyz
      Sendinblue also gets a vote up from me. I used Mailchimp for years and switched over to SIB.
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      • Profile picture of the author ep2002
        Yeh Sendinblue pissed me off when I contacted them asking them if they take adult sites, even adult sites that aren't even porn, they just sell business material.

        They demanded I pay another $145/year for a dedicated IP UPFRONT, not even giving the customer the option to pay by the month.

        It was such a shock to me as I've never had any list company demand that & I could have lied, not said anything, etc., but I'm honest & ethical.

        The whole way they approached the situation was very poorly done & when I told them they lost my business, my client's & me as a potential affiliate (if I liked them), they just disappeared.

        So there you have it, they clearly don't care about companies all that much. Good to know before I signed up.
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        • Profile picture of the author Marcus W K Wong
          Administrator
          Not the best way to handle customer support but you were honest enough to give them truth so kudos to you on that.

          Being blunt for a moment, adult sites live on a super fine line that flirts with being marked as spam due to the content.

          That's why you never really hear of adult sites using services like Campaign Monitor, GetResponse etc.. because 9/10 times the content is so close to being spam that they won't risk their (or their client's) sender reputation.

          So in order for them to facilitate their mailing service for the adult industry, they'll generally require a dedicated IP.

          Still not the best approach with how they went about it with you but that's the representatives fault, not the companies I'd say. Sendinblue generally have a good reputation for support.
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          • Profile picture of the author ep2002
            Yes well I'm always open & honest with almost everything I do, but I've learned it can cause me problems in biz.

            I'm honest to a fault unless my safety is in jeopardy.

            I need to be more crafty at times otherwise nothing gets accomplished. Plus what's the point in lying, if they find out, they will cancel the acct. & I'll have wasted my precious time & money.

            I really have to disagree, not all adult sites are spammers & there's TONS of other industries that are unethical, spam & scam people.

            Sorry, but I get really irked when people discriminate against the adult industries without even knowing what they are talking about & there's many sectors within the industry.

            Out of ALL the spam I get, very few are adult, & I used to NEVER get adult before.

            Now maybe it's b/c I'm a woman, I don't know, but I remember thinking it was really strange that I never got adult spam & trust me I get TONS of spam which pisses me off to noooo END.

            After my last e-mail to Blue, I expected an apology & for him to try & win me over, but instead he just ignored me.

            Now that I know they may want dedicated IPs I'm more prepared, but it was just the initial shock of the price tag of $145 upfront that got me.

            I'd been with the same system (shopping cart & list) for 11 years I think & even when I had an acct. with Aweber that was never required, but that was years ago.

            And I'm not REALLY adult, I just provide tools & services to the industry. That's not the same thing.

            Now my client who will also need a list is adult, but I'm pretty sure I'll be managing the list & so there will be no spam, plus I would train him & he doesn't really understand spam as he's not tech savvy at all : )

            I think I'll have to go with the route I was going to go with which is free system with my own server or whatever it's called (can't remember the name right now.)

            I just wanted more features & so I saw this thread & saw some new players I'd never heard of & got excited.

            Thanks
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            • Profile picture of the author Marcus W K Wong
              Administrator
              Yeah you have some valid points about the adult industry.

              Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of innovation with the adult industry (seriously, tech wise they brought in HD streaming and codecs, pioneered online payments and are leading the way with VR technology).

              But general classification due to lack of education, I'd say is the big issue with most ESP's abstaining from the label of "adult site". It's kind of annoying... that and I also suspect there's a high "mark as spam" rate coming from subscribers who lack the better judgement/etiquette to unsubscribe.

              Take a look at Sendlane. Jimmy Kim is a pretty savvy guy and has a great support team at Snaptactix. I doubt they'll request for you to be on a dedicated IP, but they may do some considerable review of content in emails and ask how you grew your list, did you buy your list etc.. all the standard questions you'd expect from a solid ESP support.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bryan Zazz
    In my opinion, in IM email has become a utility, like your electricity or water providers.

    Essentially all email services provide basically the same - or very identical - service: they all follow Internet standards for sending/receiving emails.

    They differentiate with value-adds like user interface, price options, and such. So it's mostly about your personal preference regarding these value-adds.
    The only way to find what's best for you is to try a few options, test out what you like and what you find annoying. Only then can you make a good choice ... for you.

    Personally, for now I just talk to my gmail account, and I automated that. Required a little coding (and the time to write that code), but otherwise costed me zilch, and for me is the most flexible option of all, as this way I get exactly what I want, nothing more, nothing less

    ... also, with this much flexibility, I am not dependent on any provider adding some new bells and whistles I may want now or in the future. I need to import 10k addresses (as mentioned previously)? Sure, no big problem. I can do whatever I want. But if I ever do that, I should be extremely careful how I will treat those 10k imports, as they won't recognize me the first time I email them from a new address.

    And definitely NO SPAMMING them!!!

    Because:

    email Mktg is not about the list, it's about the relationships.
    You might have heart "the money is in the list" motto.
    Sounds good, but is inaccurate.
    The money is NOT in the list, it's in the relationships.
    Your job as an email marketer is to grow those relationships.
    You do that by providing them value. This is key!

    The mechanics of managing your emails, everybody can do that...
    Focus on the relationships, not the supporting mechanics, and you'll be successful, whatever your niche ... and whatever your email provider.

    good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author altar22
      email Mktg is not about the list, it's about the relationships.
      Great point thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author SusanDowler
    Sendlane And GetResponse
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  • Profile picture of the author Tony Marriott
    I think that selecting an autoresponder based on cost is completely the wrong way to go.

    Most autoresponders will cost you about $20 a month to get started and a about $70 a month for 10,000 subscribers.

    If you cannot or do not plan on making more than $70 a month from your subscribers there is no point in even having an autoresponder or building a list. It would just be a waste of your time.

    I would spend more time on creating, implementing and perfecting your marketing plan than worrying about a few dollars a month savings.

    Mailchimp is actually free for up to 2000 subscribers I believe and if you are a jeweler selling your own stuff then it will do the job fine.

    Yes you will need to set up your autoresponder list and opt-in form but that is a one off activity. Creating a campaign (mail-out an offer) is very simple and will take you about 15 minutes once you have done it the first time.

    In fact if the could be added to the autoresponder and sent out the same timed sequence to every new subscriber.
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    • Profile picture of the author altar22
      I couldn't even get my domain verified with AmazonSES so I ended up staying with Mailchimp just because it has an integration with Squarespace.
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  • Profile picture of the author bluetor
    Hurry !!!!!Signup and get 500 Bulk emails free!!!

    www.SMSnMAIL.com
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