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Janet Roberts

Shakeout Continues in Email Publishing
By Janet Roberts

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Money, or the lack of or need for it, is behind some recent changes in the email-publishing business. Here are a few headlines to consider:

  • The well-regarded family of Adventive email discussion groups has been put on a paying basis, although this time, it's the list moderators and not the members who must pony up to stay involved.

  • The new business model -- the second paid proposition to come along since 2001 -- requires list moderators to license the list. They manage all moderator duties except subscriber- database management. Moderators also can solicit ad revenue and keep the proceeds of any ad sales they bring in.

    The rates vary by list, from $175 a month with a six-month commitment for I-Branding to $1,500 for Adventive's best-known lists, I-Sales and I-Search, again with the same commitment. Adventive also discounts the monthly rate if you sign a 12-month contract.

    At least one moderator, John Counsel of I-Sales, has formed a consortium whose members will split the cost among themselves.

    Four of the 10 lists are still waiting for takers, including the I-Copywriting list.

  • Zooba, which sends out a variety of email newsletters on topics as varied as blues music, literature and business, is ending its free business and moving to a monthly paid ezine in partnership with KnowledgeNews. Zooba also runs an email-marketing business and is owned in part by Bookspan, a book-club partnership owned by Bertelsmann AG and Time Inc.

  • Zooba subscribers got this announcement on Monday:

    "We're sorry to announce that Zooba, in its current format, is going away. Try as we might, we just can't afford to produce all those free Zooba emails anymore. Effective February 7, you will no longer receive the Zooba emails you've come to expect."

    Zooba subscribers will get three free sample issues. If they choose to pay, it will cost $11.95, about the same as many print monthly magazines. (The normal KnowledgeNews sub is $19.95 annually.)

    KnowledgeNews promotes its subscriptions this way:

    "What if an email newsletter started with the premise that your inbox should be a place for learning, and not marketing? What if it started with a mission to deliver history, science, and culture, and not ads?"

  • Crain's Chicago Business also is closing off access to many areas of its Web site to the public, although it will continue to send free daily and headline newsletters.

  • That move is in keeping with what is developing as a best practice for paid content: Make your most valuable content available only to your paying customers, but tempt the rest with tantalizing excerpts in free newsletters.

Ezine-Tips for February 04, 2003

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