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Janet Roberts

What Are E-Publishing's 'Best Practices?'
By Janet Roberts

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You can't read too deeply into email-publishing issues without coming across the concept of "best practices," which boils down to the "right" way to promote, publish and profit from your email business.

"Best practices," we are told, will help save you from filters, email blocklists, bad junk-email legislation, consumer anger and public humiliation.

One problem: figuring out which "best practice" is the best. When is something a best practice, and when it is just the way everybody has always done it?

As an example: Most legitimate publishers will agree that opt-in beats opt-out for signing up subscribers, but what constitutes "opt in" has several levels of interpretation.

Also, some consider a best practice as being the most stringent application of a principal. Is it enough to toss up a "Thanks for subscribing" page once someone fills in your Web form, or must you send a follow-up email to seal the deal?

If there is a comprehensive document detailing best practices for email publishers, I haven't found it. (Have you? Send me the link: or

I'm compiling a list of what appear to be standard "best practices" for email publishing. They'll cover everything from address acquisition to privacy policies, publication schedules and content to subscriber management.

You can help this effort by sending in your own definition of a "best practice" for any aspect of email publishing. There's a fair amount of consensus on best promotion practices; I'm looking for material affecting other areas of email publishing, whether for commercial or noncommercial ezines or for email marketing.

Send your comments here: . I'll try to have a basic document compiled for next week's Ezine-Tip. Once it's finished, we'll post it at Ezine-Tips' home page, and at the central site.

A Short Take: Adieu, 'Email;' Voici 'Courriel'

File this item under "What Took Them So Long?:"

The Culture Ministry of France, in its continuing bid to purge the language of English words (especially American ones), has banned the word "email" and substituted "courriel," a shorthand version of "courrier electronique," or electronic mail.

The ministry's General Commission on Terminology and Neology said "courrier electronique" has won broad acceptance among French- speaking Internet users, and "courriel" is popular in the Canadian provice of Quebec.

(Note to the precise: "Courriel" apparently is a "male" word, because "courrier," the French word for "mail," is, well, male. So, it would be "le courriel," "mon courriel," etc.)

So far the Web site for the French newspaper Le Monde is not following the new rule. Not only does it continue to request a visitor's "e-mail," it still directs visitors to its "Newsletters," all of which come in "version HTML."

Ezine-Tips for July 22, 2003

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