Thursday, June 17, 2004

Newsletter Pollution 

I spotted a report today that the number of online newsletters nearly double in 2003. A site that tracks this sort of thing -- IWantMedia -- went from a catalog listing of 2,500 newsletters in 2002 to 4,949 in 2003. About 3,000 of the newsletters were extensions of print publications -- e.g., magazines that use them to stay in touch with subscribers between issues.

What no one has asked is who the heck needs so many newsletters and who is actually reading all of them? It strikes me that we are once again in newsletter pollution.

In the OLD days when there was snail mail, there was newsletter pollution too. Everyone had to have a newsletter. We knew, of course, that 90% of all newsletters went straight into a waste basket unread and even unscanned. We urged clients to drop newsletters and to do something else to gain attention. So here we are in the Internet age and what are we doing again? Newsletters. Will we never learn?

There are media that people cling to because they don't know how to do anything else, and the newsletter is one. Do yourself and your organization a favor: Drop the newsletter. Start a blog, a web page, something, anything but avoid newsletters.


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