Keith, thanks for the prompt and thorough response. Your comments about
list rentals helped me remember the advice I give my own clients about
>Also, if the number of ads were even a small fraction (say 5%) of the
>number of total messages, the utility of the list would suffer too
>much to make it worthwhile.
Keith, I was suggesting that YOU, as list manager, be in control of what
gets into the list. Perhaps you are uncomfortable about "censoring" a list
by deciding what does and doesn't get into it? Are your lists unmoderated?
I'm not sure how a decision to let in an ad, or 5 ads, or ten ads, is any
different from the decisions a moderator makes every day about which
letters to let in. Personally, I find A LOT of irrelevant stuff (to me) on
every list I subscribe to. But I stick with lists because of the occasional
nuggets of gold.
>So even if most ads were appropriate, I
>might have to disallow advertisements because there would otherwise be
>too many of them.
I suspect that charging people to place ads in a list would go a long way
toward controlling how many want to be there. If there are too many
advertisers, just keep raising the price. If a list is THAT popular with
advertisers, the manager deserves to make some money.
>I'd much prefer that people read the list and see whether it is
>appropriate before advertising there. One good rule would be: don't
>even attempt to advertise to any list or newsgroup that you don't read
I think that's an excellent rule. What would you think of a service
(heavily automated) that subscribed to _lots_ of lists, indexed their
contents, and made the indexes available to advertisers looking for a
compatible list? Would you support such an automoton if it meant
advertisers were better educated about your list and its subscribers? If it
meant fewer irrelevant messages?
>I would not join any list that accepted money for advertising. The
>reason is that no amount of money you could afford is worth the
>interruption and time it takes to read even a single off-topic
And yet we both probably subscribe to quite a few magazines, each of which
is filled with ads, usually located on the right hand page to force us to
notice the ad before continuing with the story. In fact, the current issue
of Wired has 7 pages of ads in front of the Table of Contents. I hate
turning those pages to get to the TOC, but I'll keep my subscription.
Also, if the list manager is in control of the ads, why would they be
off-topic? And how can we know what _anyone_ can afford to pay to advertise
in lists when so few are doing it, and even fewer are discussing it.
>> 5) Would you open your subscriber list to an unsolicited direct emailing
>> under any circumstances?
>No. I would consider this an abuse of my list members' trust.
Thanks for reminding me how important trust is in the kinds of close
relationships that develop oinline. Maintaining customer trust is one of
the basic tenets of 1-1 marketing. I assume this means you disable the WHO
(or like) function in the lists you manage?
>Hell, no. I'd be *less* likely to do this for money, because that
>smacks of favoritism. Either the list membership is open to everyone,
>or you can't have it for any price.
Do the moderated list managers among us have the same view?
>If ads decrease the signal-to-noise ratio on
>a mailing list to a point that it's unusable, you've destroyed a
>valuable resource, and there's no way you can pay for that.
As a reader of too many mailing lists I agree completely. I only wish we
could also limit the noise in many non-commercial messages. As hordes of
newbies join the net, I suspect the only _real_ control over
signal-to-noise will come from a moderator. And once a moderator is in
place, ads won't make a list unusable as long as the moderator does the
same kind of screening they do for non-commercial messages.
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