12 Gurus (Unplugged)
February 08
Table of Contents
  • Doping 
  • Monthly 
  • Loop 
  • Rob 
  • Direct Marketing 
  • Linked Resources 
  • MyQuiz 

GOLD Archive



GOLD XXXV, Aug. 07


DMLR*News v.Email

Italian Text
© Roberto Dondi
    DMLR*Newsletter — GOLD Edition n.38
    I. Doping.

    2005 the DMLR*News number of remote subscribers have been dropped dramatically... I had just made an important choice in order to turn the newsletter format from a text message into an HTML message. Probably that renovation, along with renouncing a text version, was not able to keep the most subscribers who wanted to read only a simple message on old e-mail programs unreliable to visualize properly HTML items. This is a defeat story, but it could be read as the price to pay when a webmaster is taking a long-term decision without knowing exactly what the audience likes! Nothing to do with the obstinate policy of some newsletters managers aiming to artificially maintain an high and exhausted audience by doping the number of their subscribers. This paragraph is about how they cheat us!
    First, a quick memo about the top factors to get the subscribers attention after they agree to receive an email newsletter.
    A recent study on Email Newsletters Design, and presented by MarketingSherpa (¹), shows that the Information Portal affects how people will be influenced by an email more than any other factor. The Information Portal being where a subscriber reads the message, i.e. on a PC or a Mac, on an iPhone or a BlackBerry, ...
    General Influence Factors are (²)
    1.   Info Portal 36.7%
    2.   Age 29.6%
    3.   Topic 17.0%
    4.   Vocation/Avoc 8.6%
    5.   Education/Job Title 8.1%
    Surprised? Usually a basic change involving the format of a newsletter matters so much the perception of a subscriber that it could completely change the performance of that (open rate, clickthrough rate, until the total number of subscribers).
    Now a not secondary topic is that all subscribers enter or quit an email list only if they are willing to do that. Well, for example you are reading this line on your email program --not on the browser while visiting only if you added your email address to the service built for the email version of DMLR*News. You have got the HTML message and you will read this newsletter again as next issue, or leave it by managing the options at the bottom of the message. Any time you can do it --subscribe and unsubscribe.
    What I'm going to call the doping of newsletters works on both sides of the process. A newsletter comes to you even if you didn't subscribe for getting it! And this happens to me for example when I solicited via email some people running their own list. Since they are Internet experts and writers of their own newsletter, they usually don't reply thru a personal email responding to your question, but they promptly prefer to send a copy of their newsletter, thus listing your email address immediately into the subscribers file. That person is probably so busy in consulting to firms and writing articles, if not books, that your email is easily misunderstood as 'spam' and the only way to save yourself is to accept the newsletter without even saying "sorry, I don't mean that...".
    About this badly spread practice I have had great evidences above all from American (so called) newsletter marketers!
    In Italy I have stumbled across the second kind of cheating. I couldn't quit a newsletter list because the procedure of leaving doesn't work at all. They keep on sending the message regularly and you can't stop the delivery of their newsletter into your computer. This method seems an error caused by you-the-new-kid-on-the-Net: are you not even able to manage an online form anyway? This is usually what they want you to think about yourself, while the truth is the process is on the blink for some reason. So you have modestly to denounce the fact to your ISP, if this opportunity is available.
    Or you keep on receiving the newsletter filtering it directly to the junk bin for deleting it thanks to your sophisticated email program!
    56% of consumers consider email newsletters as "spam" even if they know the sender!
    This is why I'm so suspicious when I'm reading about the number of subscribers stated by a web-based newsletter.
    Is that number always magnified by such a trick? But what is then the purpose on doping the numbers?
    I think it's a consequence of high competition and a matter of getting much more advertising by some website managers... They are in fact pros running for a golden medal like players in professional sports.
    "It is true that sports and cheating go hand in hand. That's because cheating is more common in the face of a bright-line incentive (the line between winning and losing, for instance) than with a murky incentive. Olympic sprinters and weightlifters, cyclists in the Tour de France, football linemen and baseball sluggers: they have all been shown to swallow whatever pill or powder may give them an edge." --from Freakonomics, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, page 35 (³). Sounds familiar?
    Useful resources:
    ² The full report "Designing An Email Newsletter For Maximum ROI" will be available on
    ³, or see below pt.VI.

    II. Monthly.

    It's the only one page on that is updated every month...
    Its keywords as contents recite: agenda, brands, media, non profit, promotion, resources, shopping, statistics, gurus, people, stars...
    It's actually an independent guide to 100 marketing-oriented websites...
    Its title is Web Marketing Quick Guide.
    And its location is

    III. Loop.

    I have visited Chicago, IL more than 10 years ago... A good place where I went up and down in order to discover not expensivily the city was obviousily the Loop, the elevated railroad around the central districts! A privileged point of view to spy in a hurry the city where such vast mail-order companies as Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward have been flourishing out of the many legendary commercial ventures.
    The Wind City impressed me first for... the wind that almost drove me out of the path when I tried to exit a supermarket with a shopping cart full of the food for a 3-day living there. That weekend the box office at the United Center would have pushed me back to the Loop because all tickets were sold out --indeed it was the best time for the Bulls on NBA. So that short experience at the Michigan Lake shore was going the limit on a cherry condition inside the public library, historical society, and other cultural venues.
    The Chicago heritage surviving on is just the Loop. You'll find a kind of Loop as the sequence of articles on some web content projects I have set up on this personal site, usually three articles one can read by starting from a page linking to the second page linking to the third page until the loop is completed.
    Find this typical circular progress at The Million Trilogy (2001) here
    Choose whatever entry point you want and make the complete loop... of the greatest cities in the world.
    PS. After leaving Chicago I went to Minneapolis, MN where I was instead snowed by... but at the moment I don't want to ginger the reader up!

    IV. Rob.

    The very first time I met Rob Frankel was on a discussion list around the advertising... you know the online forum you can post some questions about a topic to and read the answers coming from the partecipants to that list.
    I was truly amazed by the length of his signature file at the botttom of his message, that was right as follows
    "Branding is not about getting your prospects to choose you over your competition; it's about getting your prospects to see you as the only solution to their problem." (TM) -- Rob Frankel, branding expert and author of "The Revenge of Brand X: How to build a Big Time Brand on the web or anywhere else." Big Time Branding (SM) 818-990-8623 or 1-888-ROBFRANKEL
    When I did contact him to translate a chapter from his book advertised thru the e-signature, he encouraged me to go to the sample chapter on I finally filed into my website at
    Please, read it if you want to know what exactly branding is and how you can tell a good brand from a bad one...

    V. Direct Marketing.

    The DIRECT MARKETING glossary is available on DMLR in a 3-document edition (PDF) you can browse here or easily download onto your desktop. It consists of 19 pages as a whole, 311 paragraphs/terms, 236 Kb, 7450 words, 44772 types!
    Select and print the three parts of the glossary in English from PDF::Menu.
    Sure the Internet has been changing the traditional snail-mail based direct marketing. And yet the Internet marketing is a consequence of the old direct marketing somehow. Many terms you'll find inside the DM glossary are suiting for the e-mail marketing too...

    VI. Linked Resources.

    Steven D. Levitt teaches economics at the University of Chicago. He recently received the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded every two years to the best American economist under forty. He is co-author of the international bestseller titled 'Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side Of Everything'.

    VII. MyQuiz.

    Which are the 5 stages of the so called Marketing Evolution during the past century?
    Find answer on DMLR*News Gold no.36.
Copyright 2008 - All rights reserved (except where indicated). Issued: Feb. 8th, 2008.
Roberto Dondi --word processing, HTML and the ropes.