What to look for in a mailer 

If you're going to be spending your time and money advertising through safelists/mailers (let's just call them mailers to avoid any confusion) – you want to ensure that you're getting the best possible impact from your advertising.

Not all mailers are created equal. Many are over hyped and over priced. Others are doomed to fail before they even launch and there are many aggressively promoted by established advertising cartels that are mainly interested in milking commissions from you.

Now, we've got that out of the way, let's take a close look at what makes a mailer worth your time and/or money.

Let's be honest from the beginning. Mailers deliver better results for upgraded members - that doesn't mean that free members won't get results – it just means that pro members have a massive time advantage over a free member and given the fact that this type of advertising relies upon volume and consistency pro membership is highly recommended at the very best mailers that meet the following criteria.

You can't upgrade everywhere (Not at first) so when you do upgrade you want to ensure that you get maximum bang for your buck.
So here are the key factors to look for and some real life experiences that you can benefit from.


Some names I've found that I can rely upon include Brad Webb, Jason Wise, Marty Petrizza, the Kolijn brothers, Darren Olander, Frank Bauer, Tony Matthews (World Traffic) and Maryanne Myers along with a few others. If I missed someone and you'd like to know what I think, I'll be happy to give you my (mostly benign) opinion. By and large, I regard the above-mentioned people to be industry leaders. That's not to say that these people are the only good people out there.

What you do need to avoid are the individuals who treat their mailer sites like a hobby. Things break and don't get fixed. Support tickets go unanswered for days, and commission payments are seen less often than Hayley's comet. The owners of these types of sites are not bad people, they're just bad business people. Avoid and move on.

There is another type of site owner to avoid. Unfortunately, you'll probably have a bad experience with one at some point. There is a business model that involves site flipping. I've seen this happen over and over again.

There is usually an overhyped launch usually involving some big-name Internet marketers who have big subscriber lists and not much "in the trenches" involvement. The site is launched. The owner makes a killing on the OTO launch sales and everything buzzes.

After three months or so, the hype (and site activity) begins to slow. This is about when the owner offers the site for sale to someone who isn't equipped to manage it.
Six months later, the once great mailer resembles MySpace at midnight.

It doesn't happen that often anymore but is one reason why I rarely take a lifetime upgrade from a newly launched site, other than from people with sound admin track records in the industry.

In business, reputation is everything. Stick with the pros.


In the end, you want to be reaching an engaged and active audience. Mailers that offer disincentives to free members and treat them as nuisances are really limiting their own effectiveness.

For a mailer to be effective. free members must see value in participating. I used to have a rule of thumb that said at a bare minimum free members should be given the means to mail one thousand members while creating enough incentive for members to see value in upgrading.

That was my opinion.

Jason Wise's Viral Mailer For You has well and truly broken that rule. Jason has hit upon the winning formula of incentivisation, promo codes and user engagement to ensure active engagement of all members.

State of the Art Mailer is probably the world champion of keeping free members engaged. Its innovative unique button escalation system ensures that members at all levels are engaged and motivated.


In a perfect world, commissions would be the same for everybody but the nature of the industry means that there will always be an incentivised commission structure. That doesn't mean that free members should be treated like lepers. 10% should be a bare minimum.

Pro members have invested in the business and deserve fair compensation and at the very least deserve 30%.



Membership numbers are one of the biggest misleading factors in mailer activity. Darren Olander's sites are a testament to that. At first glance, a site like List Surfing or Adchiever seems to have low membership. That's because Darren only advertises active membership numbers. All of his sites have far greater response rates than mailers with membership levels in the tens of thousands All of them are well worth joining –  my two favourites are List Surfing and Adchiever, but they all offer the same level of professional service.

Some red flags to look out for are sites that don't keep up with the changing landscape.

Some sites still haven't made their address https. Others haven't upgraded their mailer to recognise https sites.


I used to believe this was a must-have. I don't think it matters so much anymore. HTML mailing allows you to have a ting bit more impact than text emailing. That impression may add up over time. 

Some of the most responsive sites online don't offer it.

That's the bottom line, I guess.


There are numerous ranking sites online, and while you may disagree with some of the rankings, you can be pretty sure that when a mailer or advertising site is consistently ranked highly, there's a good reason for that.

I reference the List Hoopla rankings weekly, having found them to be the most reliable over time.


Mailers have proven themselves to be an effective means of advertising when used regularly and with consistency. Some mailers will give you better response and deliverability rates. If you use the above criteria to assess which mailers to concentrate on and spend some cash on, you will find that your return on investment will be better.