February 05, 2002

Blog: NYPost Spams Viral List; Sub Site Gains 75k Paids Monthly; Ezine Grows Opt-Ins 30%

SUMMARY: No summary available
Feb 5, 2002
1. Check out Data Conversion Lab's Ezine
2. ConsumerReports.org Gaining 75,000 New Paids per Month
3. NY Post Spams Send-to-a-Friend Recipients
4. Consumer WebWatch Fights Advertorial Content Online
5. CRMGuru.com Gains 30% More Opt-Ins w/ New Home Page
6. Tips on Selling Via Online Research Stores
7. Formerly Free eTeamz Makes $75k in 6 Weeks
8. Scholarly Publishing Event Feb 13-14 in DC



Just got my first issue of the Data Conversion Laboratory
newsletter. The Company converts content into digital formats
such as XML, but the newsletter is definitely not one of those
annoying look-how-great-we-are marketing pieces. In fact, if
you're remotely interested in digital content, or epublishing,
there's something for everyone.

In this issue, they reveal that Europeans are (far) more likely
to pay for wireless content than Web site content, pens are going
digital, and what the differences are between the three different
types of PDFs. Also, for document conversion questions, check out
their library at the link below.

(BTW: No that wasn't a paid announcement, to my knowledge I've
never met anyone from the Lab. However, if I ever do, I'll
definitely complain about the way they turn their name into an
acronym and fling it about everywhere. Unless you are a very,
very, very famous company and willing to put zillions behind
branding an acronym, USE YOUR WHOLE NAME. It's too hard for
people to remember who or what the heck you are. Branding 101.)

Newsletter -> http://www.dclab.com/dclnews0402.asp
Technical Library -> http://www.dclab.com/dcllibrary.asp


The PR guy for ConsumerReports.org just called to let me know to
expect a press release in a matter of days revealing that the
site has hit its 800,000 paid subscriber. Which means right now
the site is adding almost 75,000 paid subscribers a month! (From
late November 2001 to mid-Jan 2002, the site went from 650,000 to
750,000 paids.) While I expect some of the speed of growth was
due to a holiday blip as people used the site to research big
ticket gift purchases, I'm also gonna go out on a limb here and
pronounce that I think these and other numbers indicate consumers
are getting used to paying for online content.


BIG slap on the wrist to the New York Post who just sent a
broadcast marketing email to names collected through their tell-
a-friend-about this-article system. The email is a sweeps offer
to get people to sign up for the Post's email newsletters. I'll
bet a lot of folks on the list don't even see it, because the
Post made the mistake of putting "this is a one time mailing" at
the bottom, which is SUCH classic spammer copy that most spam
filters stop email messages with that line from reaching

Why am I so annoyed about this particular spam? Well, it's
because many content sites (including our parent MarketingSherpa)
get their BEST traffic (not largest, but often most likely to
convert to opt-ins and/or buyers) from our viral referral
systems. However, surfers will only use the systems if they feel
safe that the email addresses they hand over won't be abused. And
I don't care what the fine print in your privacy policy says, a
friend cannot give permission for another friend to receive
email. The only way you get permission is from the person

Let's hope nobody follows in The Post's footsteps because it
could hurt all of our viral systems' results.


Consumer WebWatch, a nonprofit research project from Consumers
Union (the folks who do Consumer Reports), today announced a new
Advisory Board that's pretty much a who's who of online
journalism, including an executive producer from MSNBC on the
Internet, a Medill professor, the founder of the Online News
Association, the Director of the Pew Internet & American Life
Project, and the managing editor of the Dallas Morning News.

The press release says these advisors will help WebWatch "improve
credibility and consumer trust in Web sites" which is an awfully
broad target, so I called up Director Beau Brendler to ask for
some details. Turns out it's not about privacy, or ecommerce, or
improving journalism skills, it's about church and state -- you
know, editorial versus advertising, and the whole grey world of
advertorial that much of the Web has turned into.

Brendler says, "We've just done a major survey, and found it's a
misconception that people don't care about church vs. state.
Distinguishing editorial content from advertising is very
important to folks who use the Internet." So, the Board plans to:

1. Research the ways editorial, advertising and marketing are
currently mingling online

2. Educate publishers, with reports and online info, about how to
cope with advertisers who demand editorial input, and how to make
sure content submitted by potential advertisers is credible.

3. Educate the public with reports such as "10 things to look for
when looking at health information on the Internet"

Although the Board already has 24 members, Beau plans to break it
down to committee-levels to get stuff done (he's got an
aggressive research calendar to meet) and says he's definitely
interested in hearing from folks who'd like to join in,
especially experts on health content, children's Web sites and
financial content. You can contact him directly at 914.378.2018


Wahoo! I was just chatting with Bob Thompson, Publisher and
Editor of CRMGuru.com, and he said he changed his home page after
being inspired by a Case Study we ran last Fall on Reader's
Digest's new console-style home page. I was dying to know how
that idea would work for another publisher, because it's heavily
influenced our own site redesign now underway. Bob say that his
changes improved his visitor opt-ins by 30%!!!

Bob currently gets about 5,000 new opt-in subscribers per week.
Most are mid-level managers in corporate America. Despite losses
from corporate lay-offs, his circ is at 115,000. He thinks it's
kind of funny that as a self-described "shy guy who's not really
a journalist" that he's becoming one of the most influential
business journalists around. His motto: "Speak softly and carry a
big email list."

Reader's Digest Case Study:


Research publishers are often frustrated by the sales online
research stores make for them. David Strassel, Managing Editor
for Intermarket Group, manages deals with the usual players --
MarketResearch.com, MindBranch, AllNetResearch, and as of next
week SherpaStore.com. He says, "You get what you put into them.
They aggregate thousands of reports, and if you just send them
the publication info in your files, they'll load it up into their
database and leave it at that." His advice:

- MarketResearch.com -- "You have to suggest where they should
index and cross-index your report. For example, they indexed our
wireless mobile report under 'Wireless" but not under 'Wireless
Internet.' Unless you stay on top, you're probably not going to
be all that successful.

Also, be aware that MarketResearch.com's publisher contracts
include a section allowing them to sell "slices" of any report
they fulfill digitally on your behalf. Since many full-report
buyers traditionally bought simply to get their hands on one
particular chart or figure, you could lose substantial revenues
by allowing by-the-slice sales. That's why Intermarket fulfills
all PDFs themselves after the 3rd party store emails them orders.

- MindBranch -- They won't push you for lots of marketing copy
and info about your report. But if you send them more stuff
they'll usually upload it, and the more details in their system
about your report, the more sales you'll make. Report buyers like
to see a fully-fleshed description.

- AllNetResearch -- Internet-topic report sales have gone down
radically in the last 6-9 months. "We'd give stuff to them,
they'd put it in their twice-weekly newsletter and bammo, we'd
generate a thousand dollars in sales. That's changed."


Andy Bourland's new site tracking news about paid content online
has a quick inspirational item on eTeamz today. Seems that the
formerly all-free site, has made $75,000 in the past six weeks by
offering sports fans and sports-related groups the ability to set
up and manage their own Web sites. It's a play on the BigStep.com
biz model (they offer easy-to-create sites for small businesses.)


Judy Luther of Informed Strategies emailed over the following
note on an upcoming SSP (Society for Scholarly Publishing) event:

Successful Publishing in the Global Environment
February 13-14, 2002 in Washington, DC

The program which focuses on strategic, financial, editorial,
legal, technological and marketing issues crucial to success in
the international sector. Join your colleagues to discuss these
topics with an impressive group of speakers from NYU, American
Heart Association, American Medical Association, Hearst
Magazines, Editorial El Manual Moderno, Factiva, Kluwer,
Cambridge University Press, Ingenta, Digital Owl, AAAS."


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