Monday, March 22, 1999

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About the Author:

Internet e-zine guru Todd Kuipers

Todd Kuipers is a software designer/Internet consultant, living and breathing, with his wife Susanna, in Calgary, Alberta. He is resident at Merak Projects currently working on Web based implementations of their petroleum softwareand their Web site. He spends his spare time reading, writing, reading and writing about beer, tasting beer, reviewing anything that he comes across and providing pure research skills to paying customers. Current and past things Todd and Internet can be seen at http://propagandist.com/.

One time proprietor of the currently defunct "E-mail-zines list", a listing of e-zines available via e-mail, Todd kept his interest in "low-bandwidth active delivery content" and currently subscribes to (and generally reads) 80+ e-mail publications on a wide variety of topics.


  

Full-column and topic INDEX

Thanks much to all of you that wished me well in my convalesence. I was laid up for a few days unable to compose my much needed column for last week. I was heartbroken.

Ok, I wasn't heartbroken, but after all the mail the Lockergnome review generated I was excited about getting another review or column out.

So after much consultation with various e-zine gurus and the Sideroad editorial staffover the past months I've decided to write about the current derth of Marketing and Business "newsletters". Read on for my ranting.

Those of you who are regular readers of my column may have noticed that I haven't reviewed any marketing or business e-zines to date. There is a good reason for this: there are too damn many and I'm not even remotely interested in trying to wade through the dozens of review requests I get for these types of newsletters. This sounds lazy, and as far as this is concerned, I am. It is much easier to find good e-newsletters on other topics because there are fewer of them. Hence finding the quality ones is easier.

The Plague of Marketing E-zines

So you think plague is a bit harsh? I would too normally, but I've done a poll of new e-zine announcements that come to me via e-mail over the past few weeks. My poll shows that of the last 260 e-mail-zine notices I've received since the 25th of February fully 60% of them are for what I'll call "marketing tips and tricks" newsletters.

So now you're probably thinking "well, marketing newsletters as a category is pretty broad, what's he getting at?" My definition of a "marketing tips and tricks" newsletter is:

A newsletter that evokes the ads that used to be printed in the back of comic books and today are generally relegated to a dusty section of local paper classifieds. These newsletters generally include descriptions like "$$$", "Success!", "profit!" and "marketing tips and tricks!".
What Do They Look Like?

For example sake, I'm going to provide quotes from these announcements to show the general consistency and illustrate my definition:

"Learn how to Start and Promote a Successful Online Business"

"Features and topics include... Making money on the Internet"

"New subscribers advertise FREE!"

"Here you'll discover business success tips, free offers, and business building resources to help you profit - online and off."

"...new and improved low cost and free techniques to market online"

" Here you'll discover business success tips, free offers, and business building resources to help you profit."

"...reveals the secrets that all heavy hitters use to build monster downlines"

"...sent to keep it's readers informed regarding the latest Affiliate Programs"

"...original articles and business-build resources to help you profit - online!"

"...small and home-based business owners the information they need to ensure success."

"FREE online marketing & promotion tutorials"

"...this ezine will provide hundreds of ideas and tips, money saving opportunities, resulting in more $$$ in your pocket"

"...business success tips, free offers and business building resources..."

"We give you the exact components you need to start making money on the internet right now!"

"...provides business classified ads for those seeking to locate or promote a business online..."

"...ways to improve their traffic and the effectiveness of their web business..."

"Articles From Some Of The Leading Marketers On The Internet."

Enough? These are pretty typical and are taken directly from the 165 newsletters in the batch of 260 that I sampled.

Before I get started on my commentary, let me say that I believe that a good number of the people publishing these newsletters are well meaning. I also believe that in amongst all the noise there are probably some pretty decent ones, ones that I'd give an OpenRoad Award to.

Another question arises here: Given that I mostly evaulate and review based on recommendations from the newsletter producers themselves how can I discern the decent ones so that I don't have to subscribe to them all? Answer: Sadly, I ignore them all. It's not nice, but I stay more sane that way.

OK, What Do I Really Think?

I think that most of these 156 newsletters are free from real content and less than helpful. Most will be gone in less than 3 months. Most will rehash information better obtained from more reputable sites and sources. Many will send you information you do not need or want. Some of these publishers are the same people that send the seriously annoying unsolicited e-mail that floods our mail-boxes.

What are these "tips and tricks" and "on-line marketing techniques" they all seem to offer? Generally hollow tips that are no replacement for fully understanding proper marketing fundamentals and the hard work needed to truly promote a product or service.

As well most of these newsletters are unbelievably self-referential. "New subscribers advertise FREE!" type newsletters are newsletters that advertise your product to other people trying to advertise their products who most likely aren't interested in your product.

I'd like to see the vast majority of these newsletters disappear. I wish that starting an e-mail-zine wasn't so utterly devoid of cost that anyone with half an idea can start one up. I'd also like to see that e-mail as a delivery mechanism isn't being co-opted for low intelligence schemes and rather is used to promote legitimate cultural, business and intellectual pursuits.

Geez, Yer a Whiner...

Maybe I am...

Now that I've finally got that off my chest, I'd like to challenge the people reading this to suggest good solid "marketing" and "business" e-zines. It's fairly obvious that I'm a bit cynical about the whole thing, but if you know of a newsletter without the above descriptions that is truly useful, let me know and I'll review it.

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Text © Todd Kuipers, 1998, 1999. Part of the original Sideroad.
The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at www.sideroad.com.