Thank you for a detailed comparison of MailChimp and Aweber. I think it’s a nice idea to also have an in-house email software like this one http://easymail7.com in addition to the account with a remotely hosted email provider like MailChimp or Aweber. In case of a sudden account suspension by the ESP, you would not lose contacts, emails, autoresponders etc, and would be able to continue email marketing using the in-house email software.
I’m not sure but as far as I can remember (or at least about 2 years ago) I found a function to activate the subscribers without their needing to opt-in (even though a warning from Aweber would pop up). I lost about 70% of my subscribers in my very small list back then when I changed, but I’ve been able to grow it ten-fold since. And I used opt-in, because I didn’t want anyone to complain to me later.
As with most ESPs, you’ll need to certify that any list you upload is permission-based and conforms with the provider’s anti-spam policies. AWeber takes this a step farther than some. You will need to enter the source of the email list when you upload it, and AWeber requires confirmed opt-in for all addresses. This means your first email will have to be a request for your subscribers to confirm their subscriptions. Anyone who doesn’t confirm can’t be on your list. (AWeber does allow some exceptions to this rule if you have a list that has already gone through confirmed opt-in with another ESP.)
Aweber sounds like it will do exacty what I am looking for however at the moment, due to the relatively small size of my list mailchimp offer a free service for up to 2000 users and 12000 emails. Yes I know this sounds a lot and in reality it isn’t when a business starts to grow, but my logic is that like most tools it takes time to learn how to maximise it’s effect and I think I would rather do this for free.

I have a few criteria that I am picky about when it comes to a membership platform. Obviously protecting your content is priority, but the membership setup must be simple, and the members page has to look professional. I have tried several membership plugins, scripts, and cloud platforms over the years and I have finally… “Good Things Come To Those That Wait!”
Migration can actually be a major pain in the ass. Although according to aWeber my list was “substantially clean” but I still needed to get all my readers to reconfirm their subscriptions. After a week I’m still waiting for 70% of them to reconfirm. NOT happy. If I stuck to mailchimp I wouldn’t have had these problems. (Their support guys are good though.)
Signup Forms: You can create a signup form for your website using one of hundreds of provided templates. There are many options for customization. Select from various form styles: inline, pop-over, pop-up, or lightbox. All utilize responsive design and will scale to mobile devices. You can also toggle Facebook sign-in, choose from several “Thank You” page options (including standard, audio, video, and no page), and select tracking options. AWeber provides both javascript and HTML code options, or if you just want to host your form with AWeber, they’ll do that too. You can also put a signup form on your Facebook business page.

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