Autoresponder Wars Volume 2 – Self Hosted vs 3rd Party Mailing Software

Igor dives deep into the realm of self-hosted email autoresponders. Who should use them and why? Are they newbie friendly? How they stack up against 3rd party mailers like Aweber and GetResponse?


Igor Kheifets: I'm Igor Kheifets and this is the List Building Lifestyle, a podcast for anyone who wants to build a wildly profitable email list working from home. If you'd like to make six figures, travel the world, and help people improve their lives in the process, then this podcast is for you.

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Terrance Lackey: Welcome to the List Building Lifestyle show. I'm Terrance Lackey with Igor Kheifets, and I want to welcome you to the show. This time around, how are you doing Igor, by the way?

Igor Kheifets: I'm doing great, by the way. Thank you for asking.

Terrance Lackey: I got too excited Igor. As you know there's a war going on, the war of autoresponders. I know we had a previous episode on autoresponders about GetResponse and AWeber. And this time around, we're going to explore something that's a little different, Igor.

I've seen a lot of, lately I've seen a whole lot of products out there which to require me to connect my autoresponder to my domain. And that's a whole new ball game as far as I'm concerned. So can you, what do you think about that, Igor?

Igor Kheifets: Yeah, those are called self-hosted autoresponders or self-hosted systems. They are usually pitched to you in a form of an interface. So if you really think about it, when you look at a typical autoresponder, let's take something like GetResponse, you'll see an interface, which is the website you interact with. And then there's a backend. The backend is where the mailing servers are, where all that automation and software is. It's all the things you don't see, lots and lots and lots of code and lots of complicated systems.

Now, when it comes to systems like GetResponse, all of that stuff is done for you. They figured out how to connect it all. You don't need your own domain name. You don't need your own server. Just sign up, create a username and password and use their mailing servers and their interface to manage your list and mail your list.

That's by far the easiest solution. And for the longest time, it was the only solution that normal people like you and me, people who don't have experience with servers and hosting, could use. However, more recently it has become more accessible for regular people, again, who lack the knowledge and understanding, to be able to use self-hosted systems.

Usually what is required is for you to buy a website, for you to install WordPress or something like that on that website, get some hosting, and then connect your server or your, I guess, system, to an SMTP service. SMTP service is what allows you to email because you can't just email from your computer. You have to email from a very specific regulated email service. And these programs that are becoming now more popular every day, they allow you to easily figure out how to make that connection.

And then in addition to that, they provide you with an interface that allows you to manage your list. So interface would be responsible for things like tagging your subscribers or deciding which subscribers get the email and which don't, or choosing whether to send to those who did not open after four hours or not, or to schedule your emails into the future.

That's the interface, that's how you interact with the interface. But the actual mailing of it, and the function of your email message going out to that particular subscriber, is done through an SMTP service.

So in other words, if you want to, if a person hails and Uber, they need to get in the car and Uber takes them to the destination. So if your email is that person, then your house is your own website and the email is that person. So they hail an Uber, and Uber comes in, the email gets in the car, and that car is the SMTP service that delivers your email to the final destination. Does that make sense?

Terrance Lackey: I think so. Let me, let me... So on the front end, they're the same. And once they, once you have to install one into your domain, right? And then the other one, it was already built in as far as AWeber, GetResponse, that type of thing. So the front end is the same, the interface that you deal with once you get it set up, is that-

Igor Kheifets: Well it's not really the same because-

Terrance Lackey: No?

Igor Kheifets: - the GetResponse interface will be different from AWeber interface, and those two will be totally different from the self-hosted solution. And that's really what they sell. The self-hosted software that keep popping up, they just offer you an interface. They don't often offer you ability to mail. And the ability to mail is, you're responsible for that by signing up to a different service called SMTP.

I know it's a little bit confusing. That's exactly the problem because most people simply will not be able to effectively use them. It's only people who are advanced. So in other words, if you knew we're having this conversation privately, very quickly we'd be discussing the self-hosted, talking about servers and IP addresses and domain and stuff like that. But an average person who just wants to mail, they just don't have the patience to go through that massive learning curve.

And that is why in this volume of Autoresponder Wars, I highly recommend that if you're not technical, and if you're not experienced with email marketing, that you stick to third party mailing software like GetResponse. Because if you get bogged down into trying to figure out self-hosted solutions and dealing with different interfaces, you will very quickly get discouraged because instead of trying to make money, you'll be basically stuck trying to figure out how to load the damn email into the system.

Terrance Lackey: Yeah. I could see that being something that you would want to avoid, because you want to slow that, you want to avoid anything that kind of takes your focus on what you're really doing, right? Which is creating offers, creating the funnel. And if you're spending umpteen hours trying to figure out how to set this SMTP up, then that's going to be definitely a detractor from what you're doing.

Is there any of those new solutions that's kind of easy? Do they have some kind of a plug and play solution or are they all kind of that complicated?

Igor Kheifets: Well, any self-hosted solution you pick will always be more complicated than a third-party solution that's already been optimized for the average Joe. Not to mention that there are many levels to this. It's not only about how to load the email. It's also about warming up your servers or monitoring your own sending score. For example, do you know, and just a genuine yes/no question, do you know how to check your sender score? Do you know what sender score is?

Terrance Lackey: I'm going to say I think I do. Yeah. I think I do. You talking about the email, so I can run the email through a analysis and get a score off that, or are you referring to something else? The actual-

Igor Kheifets: Basically there's a scorecard that every email service provider like Gmail or Yahoo or Hotmail, they keep a scorecard. And if they check your mailing domain or your from email and or your server IP, they can rank that IP domain or email on that scorecard from zero to 100. And if you rank, if you score high on that scorecard, then they let you through. If you score low, they don't let you through.

Yo, it's Igor. If you're loving the content, hop on over to for more free training and a free transcript of this episode. Oh, and I'd really appreciate if you logged into iTunes and rated the show. It really helps. Thanks.

Now, if you are dealing with sender score, you actually have to know what your sending domain and sending email and sending IP is. And usually those things are given to you when it comes to regular third-party software, like GetResponse. Sure, you can set up your own custom domain, and I actually teach how to do that in our 301K Challenge program, which you guys should check out immediately if you're still trying to find that first affiliate sale.

But if you're brand new and you're dealing with your own self-hosted solution, can you imagine setting all that stuff up on your own and having to monitor your sender score and everything, and switching IP addresses and burning servers? I mean, it gets complicated, becomes a job in and of itself. At one point last year, I think we even hired a guy for $300 per month to just manage a server for us. And even after three months of paying him $300 per month, we were still not able to mail properly.

So this is the kind of stuff that can be really effective if you're super technical, and it can save you money because you'll be paying less for hosting. And you may even get some advanced solutions, but honestly, I really don't see a point in using self-hosted systems anymore. I really don't. Unless you're promoting something that's illegal and you won't get accepted into third-party solutions with terms of service.

But that's a rare occasion. That's basically black hat or spamming or whatever. So then you kind of have to do self-hosted because nobody will just want to work with you. But if you're not, you just stick to third-party and there's so many different options these days, and so many different interfaces with so many different automations and integrations and features that there's no reason, in my humble yet accurate opinion, there's no reason for anyone to do self-hosted.

Terrance Lackey: So yeah, you brought up a really good point. I did notice that some of these self-hosted solutions, when you compare them to the ones that are traditional, let's say, they have, they're just far more expensive and far more, I'm sorry, inexpensive. Far more inexpensive. You get unlimited mailing, unlimited lists, that kind of thing.

But you're saying that that's really kind of offset by the technical nature of the actual setting it up and actually running it. And you don't have technical support, right? That's not going to be there as well, right, Igor?

Igor Kheifets: Yes. In many cases there's no technical support or it's very slow. And you want to think about it this way. So let's say somebody says, okay, you got two options. You are a person with a mechanical experience, which means you can, if you wanted to, figure out how to put together a car. But you get to choose between a Mustang, and let's say it's not a brand new Mustang, let's say it's a 2010 Mustang. But it's a pretty fast one and it's in decent condition, versus putting together your own Ferrari. We'll ship you all the details. It'll come in a crate. We'll drop it from the sky in a chopper. And we'll send you all the tools and we'll send you all the blueprints, but you have to put your own Ferrari together. Would you do it? Would you choose the Ferrari or would you go with a Mustang?

Terrance Lackey: Not if I wanted to drive anytime soon. I probably wouldn't choose the one with all the parts. I would want to buy the Mustang off the lot.

Igor Kheifets: Exactly. And you know, again, to make it super easy, you don't even have to pay for either one of them. Would you want free Ferrari, but taken apart completely and you have to put it together yourself with the blueprints, or do you want a ready to go Mustang? You can hop in right now and drive for 5,000 miles.

Terrance Lackey: You had me at Mustang. Definitely.

Igor Kheifets: Mustang. Yes.

Terrance Lackey: Jump right into the car.

Igor Kheifets: That's what I'm saying. Yes. Mustang is not as fast as a Ferrari. Yes, Mustang is not as comfortable as a Ferrari. Yes, Mustang may, well, no. Ferrari probably breaks more often than Mustang. It's more expensive to fix too.

But the point being is a less glamorous solution, but that works, is more important than a glamorous and potentially insanely effective and money saving solution that you basically have to figure out on your own and go through an insane learning curve.

And even when you set it up, things will still break. So what's the point? Why not just focus on being productive, being effective with your time, and focus on the marketing instead of getting bogged down by building that system yourself.

Terrance Lackey: So focus on the important things rather than the technical side. So look, I mean, I think I've taken a look at the market out there. As far as the third-party mailing software, it's the ones that you don't have to rebuild it, but you can actually just sign up and jump right into the business. There's a whole range of those out there that you can try out. So you're not limited by just a few. So I think that there's a solution for anybody at any price point and whatever features that you think are important. So I agree with you, Igor. You put it that way, I'm definitely not going to build a Ferrari for sure.

Igor Kheifets: Yeah, me neither. I'm a big fan, but I would much rather be practical than try to live up to some dream that's just a distant reality. Maybe in the future when that system will be easier, maybe not, but for now there's so many great third party systems with great servers, great mailing reputation that will take you. It's a very competitive niche too. So now it's a buyer's market. You can literally go out there and pick and choose.

Terrance Lackey: Yeah. It doesn't look like it's going to get any smaller anytime soon.

All right. So listen, this is a Autoresponder Wars. This is volume two. And today we settled the question between self-hosted versus third-party mailing software and resoundingly, the third-party mailing software wins. Self-hosted solutions just seem to be very complex. And then you have a lot of variables that you're not going to be sure on. And at the end of the day, the most important thing is to make sure that you work on your business and make sure that you get all the components that matter in place rather than tweaking underneath the hood of a figurative Ferrari.

So that's it for this particular episode. Igor, any last, any final words?

Igor Kheifets: Yeah. I love what you said in one of the previous episodes about electricity. Electricity goes where there's the least resistance. And I think that rather than chasing features, we all have to look at, is it working? Is it getting me that 20% that gets me the 80% of results. Remember that there is the Pareto principle, 80/20. It works. If you don't know what it is, look it up. It's called the Pareto principle where 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions.

So your email autoresponder just needs to get the job done. Don't over complicate it. Its job is to get those emails out and get those emails delivered. Yes, you can tweak and optimize to help the delivery and do that of course, but don't over complicate it. If those emails are going out and they're getting delivered, that's most important. Then the next step is to make more offers and stop getting bogged down by the technical stuff.

Terrance Lackey: Well, there you have it. The end of Autoresponders War. The third-party mailing software wins. Thank you, Igor. Thank you, listeners. And we look forward to you tuning in next time.

Igor Kheifets: Thank you for listening to List Building Lifestyle. Get access to previous episodes, the transcription of today's show, as well as other exclusive content at

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All of that is So go ahead. Claim your seat right now and I'll see you there.

Who Is Igor Kheifets

Igor Kheifets is the 3rd highest-earning super-affiliate in the internet marketing niche.

Igor’s 2-step system has helped him consistently rank as the highest-earning and the highest-converting (measured in commissions earned per click) for industry’s leading vendors including but not limited to Matt Bacak, John Crestani and Anthony Morrison.

Igor boiled down success in affiliate marketing to a set of predictable easy steps anyone can take to generate commissions.


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