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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Anne Holland

43 Reasons why I hate technology

January 30th, 2003

Yesterday you were supposed to get an email from me asking you to
take our big annual reader survey.

Just 30-seconds before it was due to go out, I checked the hotlink
one last time to make sure it worked. It didn’t. The survey site
was down.

Arrgh! If you rely on ASPs such as online survey tools, broadcast
email services, campaign metrics tools, ad serving tech, etc., you
are utterly at the mercy of Somebody Else’s Server.

I asked our Tech Editor Alexis, “What questions about reliability
should a marketer ask an ASP before picking them?” She told me,
“What is your uptime guarantee to me as a customer? What are the
penalties if you don’t meet it?”

“If you get a 99% uptime promise then your ASP can be down more
than 7 hours per month. If you get 99.9% it’s 43 minutes per
month. 99.99% is less than five minutes per month – which is what
everybody thinks they are getting but most ASPs couldn’t afford to
pay for the redundancies that would require.”

I have terrible link kharma, so even at just 43 minutes per month,
they will always be the Worst Possible 43 Minutes.

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Anne Holland

43 Reasons why I hate technology

January 30th, 2003

Yesterday you were supposed to get an email from me asking you to
take our big annual reader survey.

Just 30-seconds before it was due to go out, I checked the hotlink
one last time to make sure it worked. It didn’t. The survey site
was down.

Arrgh! If you rely on ASPs such as online survey tools, broadcast
email services, campaign metrics tools, ad serving tech, etc. you
are utterly at the mercy of Somebody Else’s Server.

I asked our Tech Editor Alexis, “What questions about reliability
should a marketer ask an ASP before picking them?” She told me,
“What is your uptime guarantee to me as a customer? What are the
penalties if you don’t meet it?”

“If you get a 99% uptime promise then your ASP can be down more
than 7 hours per month. If you get 99.9% it’s 43 minutes per
month. 99.99% is less than five minutes per month – which is what
everybody thinks they are getting but most ASPs couldn’t afford to
pay for the redundancies that would require.”

I have terrible link kharma, so even at just 43 minutes per month,
they will always be the Worst Possible 43 Minutes.

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Anne Holland

Watch For Churn With MSN.Com Names

January 28th, 2003

According to a news brief in Media Life Magazine today MSN has admitted “only” about 9 million people have subscribed to MSN8 ISP service versus AOL’s 35 million, despite spending about $300 million on advertising. The problem seems to be due to heavy churn from campaigns of years past, old MSN access users are dropping off the system as their heavily discounted multi-year accounts run out. MSN is planning to offer a new selection of services that don’t include ISP access, you buy whatever ISP access you want and then upgrade to MSN for extra services such as IM and “enhanced email” for a orice that’s under $10 a month.

What this means to broadcast emailers and list owners: Watch your @msn.com names carefully because you may see your own heavy churn matching MSNs as people drop off and start new accounts with other ISPs. It’s definitely worth tracking this URL as a separate part of your list if you’ve got a big one.

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Anne Holland

Placeware and Your Email – What to Watch Out For

January 28th, 2003

In other Microsoft news, they announced a deal to buy Placeware which is one of the top 3 web conferencing companies in the US and a direct competitor to WebX.

Lots of B2B marketers use Placeware to do Webinars and online sales presentations to clients and prospects. The main “watch out” item from an email standpoint is that I’ve heard from several sources that users have to register with Placeware to get into the system for the first time, and Placeware definitely uses this as an opportunity to try to add to their own house email list. You are driving your traffic to their registration page where they will possibly get a name for their own use. When signing a deal with them, you may want to consider looking over that reg page and requesting changes if Placeware emails sent to your names might affect your brand negatively.


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Anne Holland

Emailer Discovers Over 50% Download & Turn Off to Read

January 27th, 2003

I’ve just seen some un-published numbers from a survey an email newsletter publisher did to her list. She asked how many of her readers downloaded their email and then turned the Net conection off to read it. A stunningly huge percent of them did (it was over 50%). Obviously this number will vary tremendously depending on your readership demographics. It’s worth surveying your own list if you publish in any type of HTML or rich media that requires a live Net connection to view, or if you depend on clicks from nasty-long hotlinks (i.e. the typical ad’s link) to make money. If you’ve done a survey of this nature lemme know. AHolland@MarketingSherpa.com


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Anne Holland

Focusing Email: Lots of Talk But Few Are Doing It

January 27th, 2003

Referring to the 500 million of broadcast emails MonsterHut sent consumers last year, the Company’s lawyer Tim Toohey told the WSJ “MonsterHut is a relic. The kind of business they did isn’t done anymore.” Now he claims that e-mail marketers send much more narrowly focused solicitations than MonsterHut’s mass mailings.

My main email account had almost 500 emails in it when I logged on this morning, of which perhaps two-dozen were actually targeted for me in any kind of way. The rest were spam and stuff from lists I opted-into ages ago who have now sold my name on to whoever wants to mail to millions of cheap names. Toohey, get real! Marketers now talk about focusing email, but very very few are doing it.

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Anne Holland

Newspapers Online Divisions In the Black (At Last!)

January 27th, 2003

Wahoo! Knight Ridder Digital of San Jose is in the black for a financial quarter for the first time. Newspaper Web sites owned
by Scripps, Morris Communications, NYTs, Dow Jones, Lee Enterprises and Copley Press also had profitable years in 2002.
Check out this positive round-up article from Editor & Publisher.

(Paste both halves of this link into your browser to get there.)

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/editorandpublisher/headlines/article_display.jspvnu_content_id=1803418

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Anne Holland

Amazon to Test Selling e-Subs Someday (Soon?)

January 27th, 2003

When I was interviewing Amazon’s Curtis Kopf last week about selling edocs through them, he mentioned that he’s also in charge of their magazine subscription store. Then he volunteered the news note that while it’s not specifically planned right now, he sees a day coming when Amazon will want to test selling subscriptions to Web sites and email newsletters. Note that I didn’t actually ask about this, he volunteered it. Which makes one suspect that day may be sooner than later.

http://www.contentbiz.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2246

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