I'm the creator of Desk Hunt. A small blog about home office setups that I created a few years ago which got a decent amount of traction a few years ago with which I managed to build up a decent audience of more than 2100 email subscribers. I stopped working on it around 2 years ago since other projects took up the majority of my time but I always wanted to get back into it someday. I even started to make plans for a major reboot and redesign later this year. Two days ago I got contacted by a visitor of the site who wanted to signup for the newsletter but couldn't, because the signup form resulted in a 404 warning page.

That's odd, I thought. Let me try and fix that. I logged into my Mailchimp account that's connected to several other accounts and to my surprise the one account with the Desk Hunt email list (and several other email lists) were missing. I did some research and found that the last signup for the newsletter was last year on November 18. With that information I contacted Mailchimp's account recovery team and got the following response:

Hello Daniel,

Thank you for contacting us regarding the account. The account has been disabled due to inactivity. We take this measure to protect the account and the data within it. As noted in our Terms of Service, we reserve the right to disable accounts that have not been accessed within the last 24 months.

In order to continue utilizing Mailchimp, we ask that you create a new account at this time. The following article will walk you through this process:

Create an Account: http://eepurl.com/b2Q7G9

We indefinitely store all usernames created in our system. Once a username has been associated with an account, it cannot be chosen again as a username. It is important to note that usernames are only visible to the individual logging into the account. This information will not be visible to your contacts.

Please don't hesitate to reach out here if you have any further questions or concerns.

Wait, what? My account got disabled because I haven't logged into it? Without ever notifying me? I mean okay, fine, can you activate it again or send me a backup of my data? Well, no:

Hi Daniel,

Thank you for the follow-up.

As this account was disabled for inactivity, we have also taken steps to protect the data within the account from misuse and to ensure the security of Mailchimp's platform.

As such, disabled accounts enter a purge cycle, during which they are not readily accessible. Once the purge cycle is complete the data within the account, such as email distribution lists and campaigns, is deleted from Mailchimp's systems.

At this time, the cycle has been completed for this account, so unfortunately, the data cannot be recovered.

Please let us know if we can address any other questions or concerns.

WTF? So, Mailchimp didn't just deactivate my account, they basically wiped it out? It seems to me Mailchimp protected MY data a little bit to well. They not only disabled the form so new people can signup, they also removed my access and my ability to get in touch with those people who chose to stay in touch with me and my blog.

After stumbling upon Ron Garrett's blog post I can understand how he was shocked after finding out his account got deleted without any warning or notification as well. But at least he got his one back after writing a blog post about it. And that's why I'm doing the same in an attempt to save my 2k+ email list from going down the drain. To close this post, let me quote Ron's closing words, as I feel the same:

I really don't like to resort to public shaming, but this really is unacceptable. Even if I do manage to get my account and/or mailing list back somehow, I don't see how I can ever rely on MailChimp for anything mission critical. Pulling the rug out from under me like this is something you only get to do once.

Thanks for reading.


After complaining on Twitter, Mailchimp was magically able to recover my data. Go figure...