Anne Holland

Assurance Systems Publishes 4th Qtr. Email Blocking & Filtering Report

February 8th, 2003

Assurance Systems has released its Fourth Quarter Email Blocking and Filtering Report. It’s only two pages long, but it tells us two very interesting things:
  1. Roughly one in five messages sent to Yahoo and AOL is being filtered. This lines up neatly with the numbers that SilverPop reported from their own study, which they released at @d:tech in November.
  2. Truly informative research provided by vendors will (a) be reported, (b) be trusted (as long it’s not too far out of line with other published research), and (c) increase the credibility of the vendor publishing the research.

I included that second item on the list because there is a lot of poor research being published, and a lot of good research not being published by vendors who are concerned it will appear too self-serving. If you’ve got something good, send it my way alexisg@marketingsherpa.com. Just because it supports your business model, doesn’t mean it isn’t also true.


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Anne Holland

Why Do Some Readers Prefer Text Email?

February 7th, 2003

Lynda Partner at GotMarketing got together with Janet Robers of Ezine-Tips to conduct a reader survey of email preferences: Text vs. HTML. What was more interesting is that they went on to ask *why* readers who preferred text email did so. The most popular response was that they wanted the substance over the style. Incidentally, only 9% of readers indicated that they could not receive HTML in their email clients. Read the entire issue here.
Complete the survey here.

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Anne Holland

Vexed By Lotus Notes? Click Here!

February 6th, 2003

If you’re vexed by Lotus Notes, then you’ll definitely want to click over to the most detailed discussion of the big “gotcha’s” of Lotus Notes we’ve seen. Nice information and nice attitude. Lotus Notes & HTML Email Newsletters

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Anne Holland

Weatherbug Tarred By Disreputable Download Brush

February 6th, 2003

Just got an email from a ContentBiz reader about today’s issue on Weatherbug, asking if we would expose their “dark side.” While no company is perfect, I can safely say here that Weatherbug doesn’t have a big dark side.

The reader wrote, ” I used Weatherbug for some time, liked it, thought it was a great, creative way to provide a service and put ads in front of people. At the same time I noticed that I was being hit with a large number of seemingly random pop-up ads. I got sick of them, and uninstalled Weatherbug. The damn pop-ups continue. I mention it to our IT guys who told me that Weatherbug is infamous for this, and they have a tool that they could use to really get rid of the application. Maybe these ads got there some other way, although I really doubt it, and the IT guys knew right away who the suspect was.”

Moral #1 of the story: While they are smarter than us mortals, IT guys don’t know everything. According to my sources inside and outside Weatherbug, in this case IT was completely wrong.

Moral #1 of story: There are a lot of, shall we say less-than-scrupulous-about-privacy, download providers out there who are doing stuff like this and even experts, like your IT guys are easily confused about which download brands are safe and which are not. This may be the *biggest* challenge the newly-re-emerging Web-based download publishing industry is going to have to fight.

It’s on par with people complaining to super-strict permission- based double opt-in lists, “Hey you sent me extra spam” when it wasn’t the list owner’s fault, a spammer just happened to harvest the same name at about the same time. Stormy weather ahead!

Link to Weatherbug Case Study Part I:

http://www.contentbiz.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2259

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Anne Holland

Neil Budde's New Web Site

February 5th, 2003

Neil Budde, until recently Publisher of WSJ.com, has just resurfaced after a quick vacation as the head of Neil Budde Group, a consultancy in New Jersey. He cleverly got permission from WSJ to use his old black and white “headshot” so it’s a bit like viewing Ann Landers’ photo, the image is the brand. I am*not* putting his email address here (you’ll have to go to his site for it) because he frets that spammers might harvest it and then he’ll be deluged. In fact, on his site it’s presented as an image instead of text for that reason.

http://www.neilbudde.com

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Anne Holland

Heavy filtering May Be Sign of Virus or Worm

February 4th, 2003

Tim Johnson over at the Financial Planners Association just emailed in that one of his broadcast emails was severely filtered by a number of systems, including MailWatch, because his email message included a link to a PDF file. His link included the snippet getfile.cfm which according to MailWatch is a sign that the broadcast might be carrying a worm or other virus.

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Anne Holland

IT Ad Dollars Overwhelmingly Moving to Online

February 4th, 2003

Tomorrow morning online publishing company TechTarget will announce it’s had 54% increase in revenues in the past year, during which time period its print competition have seen 44.9% reduced revenues (and a lot have gone out of business). Are tech ad dollars moving online? Heck yeah!

Tech dollars have traditionally been the first big thing the Net saw. First in which organizations invested in Web sites, then what types of books Amazon sold the most, and now what ad dollars have moved most dramatically from offline to on. In the former two cases, the road then lead merrily to everyone else adopting the Web too and at apace they would have never predicted. Does TechTarget’s success (and CMPTechWeb’s and Knowledgestorm’s, etc.) mean that other sectors’ ad dollars will move online someday sooner and more dramatically than anyone expected? I’m tired of the old 6% online ad growth this year prediction.

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Anne Holland

Do Emailed Ad Sales Promos Work? Forbes Sample

February 4th, 2003

Just got an emailed ad sales promo from Forbes featuring Flash, big colorful pictures and data charts. It’s like a mini-media kit. I’m assuming they developed it in-house because having an agency do this would not be cost-effective. Sample here:

http://www.marketingsherpa.com/forbes/1.html

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Anne Holland

Cut Back on Color in Your PDFs

February 4th, 2003

Why is there so much color in your electronic docs?

This is a problem we run into almost invariably with publishers and authors who want us to sell their PDFs or other-electronic-format reports in our Store. They stick all sorts of stuff in color. The cover page, their logo, critical points in the text, lines on charts, etc. The problem is that if your document is longer than a very few pages most people will print it out to read. And most people either (a) use black and white printers only or (b) don’t want to use up the far-more-expensive color ink in their cartridges on your logo.

If color is critical to making your point, then create a version that prints ok in black and white and then give links to a protected Web site for color views.

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Anne Holland

Take it Sloooooow to Win the Launch Game

February 3rd, 2003

“Bartles & Jaymes” is a critical code-phrase around here. Whenever anyone has a big new idea (something red-hot we should launch or do right away to make more money) somebody says, “Bartles & Jaymes” and the balloon is punctured from crazy to sensible.

It’s from a story in one of my favorite books ever, ‘Ernest & Julio: Our Story,’ about how in 1982 a tiny start-up called California Wine Cooler (who invented the cooler) came out of nowhere, and by 1983 became the 10th largest wine company in California selling almost 2 million cases. The Gallo brothers’ execs urged them to launch a wine cooler too, do a land-grab on the new marketplace and stomp the upstart. They held back, and back and back. Until 1985.

Not because they are a slow moving-organization, they were family-owned and fairly nimble. But because they wanted to make sure (a) the opportunity was real before diverting resources that could go into previously proven things and (b) they wanted to do the absolute best job they could of launching. They wanted the best product, best distribution and best advertising. It’s not worth launching if you do a half-assed job in your rush.

It’s the absolute opposite of the “land-grab” mentality of the dot-com boom. Frustratingly, it’s also the opposite of my own nature (life is no fun unless I do things in a slapdash manner at the very last minute).

Results: Within one year of launch B&J was in the #2 spot in the marketplace behind California Cooler, the following year B&J slipped ahead to become #1 and still dominated the approx 34-million case marketplace in 1993 when the book was written.

My goal is to run a publishing company emulating these principles, even if it kills me :-).

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