A couple of weeks ago I posted a rather benign comment on Aweber’s Blog. The title of the post was How to Tie a Download To Your Opt-in Form. The post was about how to assure that you’re collecting a valid email address in exchange for a download.

Aweber is an email list management and autoresponder service I’ve used for quite some time. I even recommend it to many of my clients. List management is good, delivery is great and their customer service has always been top-notch.

Which is why I was thrown aback after placing this comment on their blog:

I don’t use verified opt-in, so my strategy is slightly different, yet still secure.

I put the link to my pdf download directly in the autoresponder message. That way, if they ’ve given me an incorrect email address, they don ’t have access to link (because it ’s not only the thank you page).

If they do give the correct email, the link directly to the pdf will be delivered to them in their inbox and then can download it at will. I make this clear on my thank you page so that they know where to look for the download.

What I said works and secures the download – just as the post at Aweber explains.

What happened next is what threw me back. A few hours after my comment, I received a rather lengthy email from Justin Premick, Education Marketing Manager – who writes most of the blog posts for Aweber.

In the email he basically disagreed with me about using single opt-in and that my suggestion is not secure. All fine, after all Aweber goes to all lengths to get their users to use verified (double) opt-in. So I basically got ‘schooled’ on how I should be using verified opt-in and how it protects everyone (include Aweber), etc, etc.

I’m thankful for Justin’s concern and fine with his ‘need’ to educate me on the virtues of verified opt-in. I did email him in return thank him and resubmitting my opinion.

What I have trouble with is that we had this discussion in private – by email. You see, he removed my comment from their blog. I know he has every right to do so. Yet, this goes against the very fabric of blogging – conversation in community. That means that we don’t have to agree to have a discussion.

Justin, and perhaps Aweber themselves, must not realize the benefit of carrying on such a conversation within the comments. He could easily have stated his point in the comments and could have responded appropriately. This would have created a dialogue between Aweber and I that everyone could see. It would also allow Aweber to stake its case about verified opt-in by rebutting my stance.

Truthfully, I’ve waited so long to write about this because I was a bit ticked at Justin for removing my comment and for not carrying on our conversation in front of the other commenters at Aweber. I said above, and I’ll repeat – this, to me, goes against the very fabric of blogging.

So I leave Justin with this chance to carrry on a conversation on my blog, where I won’t remove an different opinion. Perhaps we’ll see him show up.

The lesson I’d like to share from all this…use your comments to carry out conversations. Don’t resort to email because you don’t want conflict or because you simply want to control the message being read. Encourage differing opinions and have a friendly debate about it. Everyone learns that way. And everyone wins.

How have comments on your posts or others lead to indepth conversations about a topic?

Reader Interactions


  1. Jens P. Berget says

    I agree with you Dawud, what Justin at Aweber did I do not recommend at all. He probably didn´t like what you wrote, and instead of educating everyone with a conversation on their blog he tried to educate just you instead. This is not how it should be done.

    He should have known that you would write about it anyway and that bad press is something Aweber don´t need.

    My guess is that Aweber (and Justin) are the best at their business, but not when it comes to blogging 🙂

  2. Dawud Miracle says

    That’s a good idea. I sent a trackback hoping that he would find out that way – and, perhaps, allow the discussion back on Aweber’s blog. But I’ll send him an invite right now.

  3. Dawud Miracle says


    I certainly agree. It did offer him a chance to educate people within a dialogue. But maybe that’s not Aweber’s policy – I don’t really know.

    I do want to be clear…Aweber is a great autoresponder/email list management service. I will continue to use and recommend them. So I have no qualms with Aweber, Aweber’s service or with Justin in particular.

    I’d just like to know why we couldn’t have carried out our conversation in front of everyone else. Perhaps we’ll hear from Justin…

  4. Blog Bloke says

    I agree that comments are for “conversations” that are for public consumption.

    Save the email for private “conversations” and/or off-topic discussions.

    Quite often I will ask those who email me to put it in a comment so that all of my readers can benefit. Most often they will agree.

    It sounds to me like this person in question didn’t have the courage of his convictions and lacked the courage to take you on you on in a public venue.

  5. Dawud Miracle says


    It’s hard to know if Justin was acting from his own constructs or whether he’s using comments based on a corporate policy. I’ve invited him to have a conversation about it here. But no word, yet.

    Either way, I agree that conversations should happen in the comments. I didn’t flame Aweber and I certainly wasn’t rude or out of line. I simply presented a different opinion than their own. And for that, my comment was removed and I was ‘dealt with’ in a private manner.

  6. Mona says

    I totally see the benefit in having conversations on the blog itself. Though I do struggle with this sometimes – not because the comments people are leaving aren’t relevant, but because when the email update comes to me that there’s a new comment, I find it easier to reply to that email, than to go to my blog and type my response there.

    Plus, after I type the response to their comment on my blog, if I don’t email them to let them know that I responded to their comment, they might not ever come back to see what I wrote.

    So I send the email and sometimes don’t put my responses back in the comments section.

    It’s about time for me when I do that – not that I don’t want people to see what I’m saying back or I’m trying to control the conversation.

    I just haven’t prioritized the use of my time in responses to include maybe posting my thoughts back on the blog and then ALSO emailing them to thank them for their comments and to go check the blog for my response.

    Do you do that? Email people to let them know that you’ve responded or do you just put your response and trust that they’ll come back if they want know what you said?

    I guess I’ll find out in how you handle my comment here!

    (Oh, and I scroll down here, I see that in WordPress you have the button to click for whether or not I want to be notified by email of new comments – that would solve my whole issue here wouldn’t it! TypePad doesn’t have this feature, so that’s a tick mark in the column for switching to WordPress.)

    I’ve checked the box so that I’ll know if you write back to me on this one. Nice.

  7. Dawud Miracle says


    Thanks for leaving your comment.

    I know that it’s about time. Yet I want my blog to be the center of communication whenever possible. So I carrying on the conversation in the blog as a priority. That way I’m building relationship and trust with my readers that can’t be seen through an email exchange. And that’s been a big part of growing my blog.

    I also, as you mentioned, have a WordPress plugin that lets commenters track their comments and replies. I’m not sure if TypePad has a similar add-on or not.

    One other solution…many of the blogware out let you email posts and comments to your blog. Find out if TypePad lets you do this. If so, you can email and comment in a single swoop.

  8. Justin Premick says

    Hello all,

    I apologize for my delayed arrival here. I took a brief vacation and was away from Internet access for several days.

    Dawud, I’m glad to see that you care enough about how we manage our blog to call us out about how we do so.

    Let me start by saying that it’s not our intent to stifle discourse on the blog. If we wanted to do that, we’d close comments entirely, or simply not have a blog at all. A lot of the effort I put into the blog is directed toward engaging our readers.

    I’d also like to make clear that although we operate as a team at AWeber, I am charged with making the majority of blog-related decisions, including the one to address Dawud’s comment as I did.

    The post that Dawud commented on aims to help people avoid the mistake of giving away a download without building a list.

    While many of you may be more advanced users, this is a question that we frequently receive from newer customers – people who are quite good at their business, but may be delving into the world of online marketing for the first time.

    Because of this, the post focused on how to implement a better system than simply offering the download on the web form redirect page.

    Though a discussion of Confirmed Opt-in is something that I’m more than happy to engage in, I did not feel that this particular post was an appropriate venue for it. As those of you who are familiar with email list management know, Confirmed Opt-In discussions tend to get highly emotional quickly – they bring a mix of rational discussion and irrational rant – and I didn’t want the possibility of such a thread of comments detracting from the constructive exchange of tips that was taking place.

    (I’m not at all suggesting that Dawud’s comment was attempting in any way to incite a decay in the comment thread; on the contrary I felt that his comment, and reply to my email, demonstrated that he understands the deliverability challenges that publishers and service providers face. However, as I noted not all people view the matter with a similarly clear head, and I didn’t want to run the risk of steering the conversation away from the helpful exchange of suggestions that was occurring.)

    Dawud, I apologize for not clarifying this in my email to you. I hope that this provides a bit of insight into my actions, and that you continue to contribute to future discussions on our blog.

    Justin Premick
    Education Marketing Manager
    AWeber Communications

  9. Dawud Miracle says


    Thanks for your comments, Justin. I hope your vacation was restful.

    I certainly understand how heated the issue of confirmed opt-in gets. With my own clients it can sometimes become a hotly debated topic.

    As I’ve stated in my post and in my comments above, I hold no animosity with you or with Aweber. I’m always enjoyed your top-notch service. And I certainly accept your apology.

    Me, personally, as a fellow blogger, I would still like to have seen your reply in the comments. And while I certainly understand your concerns about the ‘comments detracting from the constructive exchange of tips,’ I think there were more effective ways to handle my comments. Perhaps it was a prime opportunity not to engage in the opt-in debate, but to educate others about why they’d want to use confirmed opt-in.

    Either way, I agree we can disagree. I will continue to support Aweber – have just referred someone over the weekend. I appreciate your time in commenting here. I feel it shows yet instance where Aweber goes out of its way to care about its customers.

    The blogosphere is a very touchy place. Hopefully we both take away something of value from our exchange. Again, thanks and I’ll ‘see’ you blogging soon.

  10. Chuck Parker says

    After reading this post I find that I agree with you even more! Straight conversation, transparency, informed back and forth is what it is all about.

    If we stay within the *respectful* grid, and stay on the public platform, we comment in the context of being open to our own learning curve. Seems like we can all learn from that one.


  11. Dawud Miracle says


    I certainly agree. The thing that makes the blogosphere so interesting is the insistance on authenticity and transparency. From what I’ve seen, a blogger doesn’t have a chance if (s)he are not both. Being willing to carry on conversations about what your write goes to the core of these qualities.

  12. luxury smyrna homes says

    Well his intention was good in nature but you’re right, it is against the purpose of blogging. We all have different opinions and we have the right to say it, if we’re wrong then we’re wrong. We learn through that and become better bloggers or people.

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