Telling On Myself: Yesterday's Aweber Debacle #fail

by Robb Sutton

Throughout my life, I have always subscribed to the notion that you are not allowed to laugh at anyone if you can’t laugh at yourself. We all know those people that can give it out like crazy, but say one joke back at them and they run like a whipped dog. What everyone doesn’t know is that I am actually much better at making fun of myself than you will ever be! I find humor in my mistakes and learn from them to prepare for the future. Well…I am going to use today to tell on myself a little bit and hopefully you don’t make the same mistake I did by learning from my experience (trying to make it sound serious…but in reality…I just wasn’t paying attention!).

Yesterday’s Aweber Debacle

As you already know, I use Aweber (best email responder out there IMO) for my newsletters across all of my blogs. In Aweber, you are able to manage multiple lists quickly and easily without the need of multiple accounts. You can just pick the appropriate account from the list and get to work.

So yesterday, I get an email from with a coupon code for 20% off that is not going to be widely published! Awesome! My cycling blog (Mountain Biking by 198) subscribers are going to freaking love this! We are about to get into the change in seasons on and riders are going to need new gear. Just like me, they hate paying full retail for anything, so this 20% off can go a long way.

I rushed over to my Aweber account drafted up the broadcast email and set it up for distribution. The email went out and everything seemed normal. Several hours later, I headed back to my Aweber account to check the click through and open rates to find a nice surprise.

Way to go dumbass, you didn’t send the email to the targeted audience that needed the 20% off of outdoor gear, you sent it to all of the bloggers that signed up for your newsletter! You see…I forgot to check which list I was editing in before I hit broadcast. What a rookie mistake! So…after I recovered from my oh shit moment, I drafted up a quick email apologizing for the unrelated email (some like to call that SPAM) explaining what happened.

A Funny Thing Happened With The “Apology from Robb Sutton” Email

I got some hilarious responses.

Dammit Robb! What the hell!!

Every single response I got from the apology email was sympathetic or joking about the whole situation with a reoccurring theme of “we have all been there done that”. I used this chance to respond to each and every one of you guys that responded back to me (still working on it now). It actually provided a perfect opportunity to check in and see how everyone is doing through my mistake as a blogger.

The truth…we are all going to make mistakes sometimes. Did some of the recipiants hit the SPAM button. Yeah…they did. But – honestly – if they are going to be that fickle about it…I am not worried about having them as a subscriber. I want my list to be full of subscribers that want my content and can laugh off mistakes. No one is going to be perfect. My content is not always going to be perfect. Of course – now – you will never get a unrelated email again (just learned that lesson!), but you have to know that you are not going to be perfect 100% of the time and learn from your mistakes.

When you do make mistakes, acknowledge them and make light of the fact that you are human. Normally, stupid mistakes are made worse by cover ups and overreactions. Embrace your mistakes and own them. They are what make you who you are…

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Mike October 15, 2009 - 8:28 am

I actually did the same thing a couple nights earlier. I sent an email for my coffee blog to a list for a side project that never got off the ground. It took me a little while to figure out why the email had only been sent to nine people. It could’ve been a lot worse.

On a side note, loved the way you had the email setup. My email that I sent to my list was similar, but yours was about ten notches better written.

paulo October 15, 2009 - 11:15 am

Like we all have learned from our pals in Washington, DC…it’s not the mistake that kills you, it’s the cover-up! I worked in the alumni affairs office part time while in college. I sent 10,000 copies of their newsletter to the same person…that’s when I “used” to work for the alumni affairs office.


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