AWeber Communications, the Huntingdon Valley email marketing firm, they probably envision a gentleman named Weber (presumably Al) busily roaming the premises. But there is no such person; AWeber stands for Automated Web Assistant. The real person behind the business is Tom Kulzer, who founded it in 1998 at the age of 21 while selling modems and studying at York College.
Unlike some other major email marketing firms in the area, such as Listrak of Lititz, AWeber focuses on serving smaller customers. Kulzer has built a business that helps over 70,000 mostly small businesses manage their email marketing programs, the company says. Despite the negative image of some types of email marketing due to spam, the opt-in (permission-based) email marketing business has been growing rapidly, even through the recession. AWeber, which had 5 employees in 2004, now has 50, and moved from a 4,500 square foot space to 24,000 square feet in August.
AWeber provides small businesses with automated tools for running their email marketing programs. The key is the "autoresponder", which automatically delivers a series of followup emails to subscribers after they sign up. Other services include programs which help customers design email newsletters, an analytics package, and subscriber management tools. AWeber also claims to have excellent email deliverability rates do to strong anti-spam monitoring and close communications with ISPs, among other factors. In addition, Aweber has a large affiliate marketing program that many of its own customers are users of. There are a multitude of competitors, but major ones include Constant Contact (NASDAQ: CTCT) and iContact.
AWeber was also honored in December as one of the best places to work (among medium-sized businesses) in Pennsylvania.
AWeber recently acknowledged they were hacked before Christmas; Here is the company's statement on the incident (also see this commentary). I'll keep you updated on further developments.
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