Latest Reviews

Autopilot, ConvertKit, Drip Review

Since we first recommended ActiveCampaign, there have been a number of companies that also promise easy-to-use marketing automation tools: Autopilot, ConvertKit and Drip.

We put all three to the test and you can rest assured that ActiveCampaign still bests them all, although they’re getting close.

Autopilot still relies on bolting in SendGrid to be able to send emails. That requires changing DNS settings at your domain registrar. No matter what we did, we could not get Autopilot to get past the “error detected” stage, so we passed on Autopilot.

The Autopilot experience was no better than two years earlier when we struggled with many similar issues. You wonder how that $12 million in funding was spent.

The experience with ConvertKit was similarly flawed. This service insists on adding a “message content starts here” line to any custom HTML email, which produces a blank line at the top of your emails that looks bad with colored backgrounds. ConvertKit is designed from the ground up for using plain-Jane emails without much customization and this experience shows it.

Drip presents both usability and email problems. The control panel relies on a two-tiered menu structure with some much-needed functions buried in non-conventional places. While Drip did a good job with our test HTML template on the desktop, it failed mobile by left aligning the email in our mobile client. Tech support was unresponsive in solving this issue, so we bailed out on our test.

The upshot is that ActiveCampaign has had many years to perfect its marketing automation technology and the others are going to have spend more time honing their end product, which directly impacts your brand image.

The Facebook Privacy Challenge

The Privacy Challenge

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a problem with honesty (The Intercept: Zuckerberg Is Either Ignorant or Deliberately Misleading Congress). Since his earliest days, Zuckerberg has been less than above board. He reportedly stole the idea for Facebook from the Winkelvoss brothers (Telegraph: Facebook founder 'stole the idea’)

Instant messages reveal that Zuckerberg called his first few thousand users “dumb fucks” for trusting him with their data (The Register: Facebook founder called trusting users dumb f*cks). No wonder that just 41% of U.S. adults trust Facebook to “obey laws that protect your personal information.” (Mashable: 3 in 5 Americans don't trust Facebook to protect their data)

Now Zuckerberg has declared a war on truth. Facebook, which has some 2.5 billion members, is one of the most powerful media on earth. Unfortunately, Zuckerberg has decided that Facebook will allow false advertising on the social network without taking any responsibility the damage misinformation might cause (TechCrunch: Facebook won’t ban political ads, prefers to keep screwing democracy).

New Tools and Recent Additions

Best YouTube Video Camera

Sony a6400

The Sony a6400 is highly regarded among YouTubers. The reasons are several. It has the same great autofocus technologies as Sony’s a7 III SLR, including 425 contrast-detection autofocus points, realtime eye autofocus, plus realtime tracking. The 24.2-megapixel APS sensor of the Sony a6400 captures “oversampled” 6K data and then downsamples it to 3,840 x 2,160 producing superb quality 4K video. A flip-up LCD screen cements its current position as the best video camera for vloggers. Highly recommended.

Website: Sony a6400

Price: $998.00

Most Innovative Wireless Microphone

RODE Wireless GO

Introduced at NAB in April 2019, the RØDE Wireless Go is a remarkable innovative wireless microphone that is able to connect to your camera via a cold shoe and receives 2.4-GHz signals sent from a matching transmitter featuring a built-in microphone. The transmitter can be clipped to clothing and also has a port for an optional lavalier microphone. This innovative solution, with an attractive price point, is disrupting the wireless microphone sector.

Website: RØDE Wireless Go

Price: $199.00

Most Innovative WordPress Builder

Divi

Divi is our favorite new favorite WordPress site builder, replacing two previous recommendations, Elementor and Pro. Divi made us redesign all our websites after it showed up on our radar this past summer. It is unquestionably the best-designed and most powerful WordPress site builder platform available today. We love the free-floating settings palettes, the ability to edit directly on-page, and, in particular, its newest feature: a superbly designed theme editor that lets you create site-wide headers, footers, single-post blog templates. The theme editor is a true “wow” feature. Like Elementor, Divi features an extensive layouts library, all responsive and pre-templated for fast site web design. Then there are literally hundreds of YouTube videos that show you how to create just about anything. A must-buy for any WordPress blogger or designer.

Website: Elegant Themes

Price: Yearly access: $89.00/yr.; Lifetime access (one-time fee): $249.00/yr.

Best Database/Spreadsheet

Airtable

Airtable spreadsheet and database

This company has raised $170 million and is worth more than a $1 billion. We can’t all be wrong, now can we? Airtable works like a spreadsheet but gives you the power of a database to organize anything. Features rich fields that can hold checkboxes, dropdown menus. Has traditional grid, calendar or “kanban” (like Trello) views. Realtime collaboration with commenting and change audit trails is a huge plus. But its most powerful feature may well be its ability to add look-up fields that link to other sheets for data consistency, making Airtable a true relational database.

Website: Airtable

Price: Free (Unlimited bases, 1,200 records/base/2GB attachments/base); Plus (5,000 records per base, supports Blocks and 5GB of data): $10/mo.; Pro (50,000 records per base and 20GB of data): $20/mo.

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