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Janet Roberts

Readers: Find Alternatives for 100K Ezine
By Janet Roberts

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We got so many great reader comments on the previous Ezine-Tip dealing with a reader's question about maximum ezine size that running all of them in one column would create a gargantuan ezine by itself.

So, we'll divide comments into two parts. Today, some of the problems you'd encounter when trying to send and read a long newsletter; in the next Ezine-Tip, some alternatives.

First, the background: Our reader wanted to know how to manage a preview issue that was running about 100K of straight text, most of which he felt obligated to include. Here's that Ezine-Tip, with my suggestions:

File Size: Is 100K Too Much?

Here's what readers said:

Mike Merz:
"There's actually 2 very good reasons (not to send a 100K-message in regular email):

"1) The popular email clients have an option to block messages over 40K. If it's an option, it may often times be utilized as something that should be done, even if the user doesn't know exactly WHY it should be done.

"2) Klez viruses are (almost always) 100K, or above. Your message may be blocked as a possible virus.

"I honestly don't like to receive messages that large, regardless ... unless I'm expecting them."

Scot Finnie said Ian should consider publishing his paid newsletter more often than monthly:

"As someone who writes a newsletter that is 40-50K, I can tell you patently that 100K is far too long. My newsletter is too long. But the true arbiters of length are the subscribers. I once ran a poll asking my readers whether it'd be ok with them if I pared it back a bit, maybe cut out some of the less popular items. I got two resounding votes:

"1. No!

"2. No! But if you do it anyway, please just send all the same material but go weekly.

"I was shocked. Still am, in fact. And my subscription list is growing. In an ideal world, I would do #2. But this isn't my day job and I can't give up every weekend."

(Want to know more about frequency? Check this Ezine-Tip from our archive).

Lin Brausch liked the plan to add much of the content to a one-time downloadable PDF document:

"A PDF would allow less eye strain, material to be read without being online, easier manipulation of the text, and attractive graphics & color.

"Although we're quite small right now & intend to eventually switch to a PDF format, one way Glenn (a former professional chef) & I combat ezine length and make an easier read for our subscribers is to send out a 'shorter' text version with a link to our online version -- similar to your suggestion of a text version linking to the PDF.

"But no matter which format Ian chooses, I raise my hand to vote for shorter, more frequent versions than one lengthy one."

Daniel Hofverberg:

"I agree that 100 KB is definitely way too big - Not just for the load time, but due to the often limited storage quotas at most email accounts. Either a downloadable PDF file or any other format that can offer reasonably sized documents that you can offer along with a smaller newsletter to actually send out, would be my recommendation.

"For regular newsletters, I think the mentioned size 25KB seems okay to me. My newsletters have been everything from 8KB to 25KB in size (in plain text), and the amount of positive and negative feedback I received haven't differed noticeably between those sizes. It's a free newsletter, but the same basic principle should apply to paid subscriptions as well. I do feel that 25 - 30KB is an upper limit though - I don't think many people will appreciate getting newsletters larger than that."

For reference: If you can't tell from your own in-boxes, this particular Ezine-Tip is 8K in its text format and 11K in HTML.

Ezine-Tips for March 13, 2003

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