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Christopher Knight

Ezine-Tips Reader Comments & Suggestions on XP SP2 and Newsletter Archives
By Christopher Knight

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It's been quite a while since I've done this, but every day I get many reader comments, suggestions and some feedback. Today's issue I'm going to share some of the best of the Ezine-Tips reader suggestions along with a small editorial analysis of their suggestions

Regarding this Ezine-Tips issue:
Solutions To Windows XP SP2 Removing HTML Email Graphics

Danny R. Faught of Tejas Software Consulting had this to say:

My answer to the HTML blocking is simple - I always send plain text. It's silly to get self-righteous about a format that email wasn't originally designed to handle anyway.

KNIGHT's ANALYSIS: And as a bonus for not sending HTML newsletters, your OPEN RATE will most likely improve as your deliverability improves as well. While the founders of email never envisioned HTML being sent with it, I think the power of email and the reason why EMAIL IS NOT DEAD is because it is able to adapt to HTML. It's not "Email's" fault that spam filters score HTML emails higher than ASCII text emails. :-)

Larry Cohen, Sales Engineer over at Xpedite -- had this to say:

Nice article.

Unfortunately, the image blocker in Outlook Express in SP2, is either on or off for any email received.

You cannot choose safe senders by adding them to your address book - this does not do anything regarding the images.

KNIGHT's ANALYSIS: While that may be true, it is always a good idea to ask your email list members to whitelist your address as your list members have many dozens of different types of email clients they use to read their email. One tip: In the newest version of Eudora Pro, your list members could be asked to "NOT JUNK" your newsletter posts as that will give them a score of ZERO which means your newsletter posts will be whitelisted. :-)

Brian Baddour, Webmaster over at Quadax, Inc., Inc. had this to say:

The article seems pretty well thought out, Chris. And thanks for cueing me in to the publication. Might be nice, to those who wouldn't know already, to list the pro's & con's of each option. (Guess you can consider it my "tips to share on this topic."

For instance, #1's biggest drawback, at least for my B2B situation, is walking an average of 5 computer-novice contacts at each of 1000 clients, through figuring out how to use their address book. Actually, that sounds like a good newsletter article, but... :0)

#2: same problem. Worse because you could be ethically (if not legally) liable if they get a virus from someone else, just because you coaxed them to let down their guard.

#3: big bummer at first blush, not being able to use images or scripts in the e-mail cover page. But not so bad when you realize the raft of other tools available to spice up the cover page: background and border colors, formatted text, even (embedded & inline) CSS rollovers.

KNIGHT's ANALYSIS: I agree with Brian that it may be insane to attempt to educate your list members how to do something technical when the greater majority that do not get it yet will never get it because they may have no interest in understanding something technical in nature. I also see your point about how it's not a good idea (from a legal standpoint) to help your list members lower their level of security. When I wrote that piece I was only offering it up as an alternative suggestion as I was brainstorming. You won't find me educating anyone how to lower their security on their PC. *wink*

Al Christoph, the Senior Consultant and Proprietor of Three Bears Software, LLC had this to share:

I whole heartedly disagree with you. We have to get used to a world where the defenses are built in. For example the various flavors of Windows 2003 servers do absolutely NOTHING out of the box. You have to turn everything on, one feature at a time. And it gets worse than that. You can't even go to more than a handful of websites from the server unless you do a special install!

I have been warning MY user base about this for months now.

We deserve this tightening of security. If users world-wide had been careful about keeping their systems up to date, a good share of the malware would be stopped in its tracks.

SP 2 is almost entirely about forcing home users to get with the program, according to advanced presentations by MS personnel. Such practices are typically enforced by IT personnel in business environments.

The technique that you describe in producing a newsletter does not save the sender much bandwidth at all if they are getting good open rates. It saves the user who opens absolutely no bandwidth whatsoever. Many agree that this practice violates privacy. It certainly violates transparency.

The only possible advantage if they get good opening rates is that they may pay one price for bandwidth to send out the newsletter and far less to send out the accompanying graphics, if linked, because they use different facilities for sending email and for supporting their website and graphics.

There are some who argue that friends do NOT send friends HTML based email. The advocate purely plain text.

Quite frankly I like the approach used by a number of folks who send me newsletters. They are basically a table of contents with hyperlinks to get more information. As you can see my link below comes through even though this is in plain text.

KNIGHT's ANALYSIS: There are about as many approaches to sending email newsletters as their are ezine publishers who send them. Some send a link, others send a link to a PDF document while others send either the full article or a teaser to the article(s). However they do it, I'm still not a fan of the SP2 update from a marketing standpoint, but I'm not complaining either because this is the world we now live in. Freedom was lost once again due to the abuse by a select few thousand cancerous humans who commit spam crimes...

Regarding this Ezine-Tips issue:
The Email Newsletter Archive Debate -
How To Squeeze More Value From Your Back-Issues

Meryl, the Content Maven (Check out Meryl's blog) had this to say:

One good reason for archives -- many people won't subscribe to a newsletter without seeing a few samples first. If I don't see samples, I am not going to subscribe. Period.

You listed the rest of the reasons -- SEO, expertise, etc.

If you try archiving old stuff and selling them -- I don't think it will do well simply because it's old. Things change so fast. I am not going to shell out moolah for things more than a year or two old.

KNIGHT's ANALYSIS: Excellent point about the dating or aging of content. It amazes me how many info-product entrepreneurs all have copyright dates that list 2001, 2002 or 2003 on their websites -- as if they think I would want to buy information from last year. Things change way too fast. I also agree that having samples of your email newsletter online is critical to improving new member sign ups.

Andrew A. Okunev of the AGAVA Software Company (located in the Russian Federation) had this to say:

"May I comment on the archives issue from the perspective of a newsletter service?

Zinester's Archives have been probably one of the best things we ever did since we launched the service in early 2002. We have implemented several features, that we felt were very important. For instance, all the images that the newsletter issue links to, will be downloaded and stored on our side. Even when the image is removed from its original location, the look of the archived issue will not change. Also, one of our primary goals was to have the archives pages and structure optimized for search engines. This had led to our archives being a success among our publishers and to a lot of new traffic coming from search engines.

Our advice to newsletter publishers is to always keep the archives open and to always archive content issues (however, we do have a subscribers-only archives feature for Premium publishers). Here are a few points:

  1. Every newsletter is published in order to be read - it is not important whether it is read online or in the inbox. One of our recent ideas is to provide view stats for each online issue. Another feature is to provide RSS feeds for all newsletters to allow non-email subscribers keep track of the updates.

  2. Online issues can be a source of new subscribers - provided that every archive page has a subscription link. What is most important, such subscribers are by default loyal - since they have already beta-tested your product.

  3. The archives are a great way for new subscribers to check past issues.

  4. Provided, that RSS-powered archives are managed by a third party, they are much cheaper than emailing in terms of bandwidth and management time.
BTW, Zinester has recently started archiving newsletters that we do not host. One of the benefits is being listed in our Ezine Directory. Here's a brief description:

KNIGHT's ANALYSIS: Great idea on bringing the images local in case they get lost in the future. There is no doubt that if you are in it for the long-haul (as I am and most folks who have been here as long as we have) -- know that you will outlast the greater majority of those online at the moment. It's a great suggestion to the Ezine-Tips readers who allow others to submit articles or content to your site -- that you should always bring the images local to your web server or do not allow images at all. There is never a good excuse for showing a broken image on a website that you produce.

Ed Pavelka of RBR Publishing Company had this to say:

We publish the weekly Newsletter. It has the same sort of "how to" information for road cyclists that we sell in our books and eBooks.

We did not archive the newsletter because we wanted people to subscribe to it rather than read it on our website. In this way we could build our subscription list to make our newsletter more attractive to advertisers. But back issues were frequently asked for, especially by new subscribers.

In April '04 we launched our Premium Site with a searchable newsletter archive as one of the cornerstones. All 159 issues are included. They are reformatted to look more attractive and to remove the boilerplate material. All of the links, including those to advertiser websites, are live.

We charge $29.95 per year for Premium Site access. We've been very happy with the response. We didn't know how many of our (then) 26,000 newsletter subscribers would sign up (we didn't do any surveys), but the number has doubled our best guess and it increases every day.

We're currently averaging 240 new subscribers per week (double opt-in). Every newcomer learns about the Premium Site from our newsletter. If they like what they're receiving for free each week, and if they're enthusiastic about becoming better cyclists, the archive of back issues has strong appeal. There are nine other Premium Site benefits as well.

KNIGHT's ANALYSIS: Ed! Excellent case study on the power of testing! I have run tens of thousands of tests and am always amazed to find things that worked that I never thought would work -- so my hat tips to you for testing the approach mentioned above. Making a few sample issues available to let new prospects know what to expect and then charging access to your back issues is a wonderful way to add another profit pillar to your email newsletter revenue stream. $-)

This Ezine-Tip was submitted By Christopher Knight -- Email List Marketing Expert, author and entrepreneur. Get your weekly dose of Email newsletter publishing, marketing, promotion, management, email-etiquette, email usability and deliverability tips by joining the free Ezine-Tips newsletter:

Ezine-Tips for September 15, 2004

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