> explanation is that it's a lot easier (and perhaps more fun) to run a list
> for free than for profit.
> Running a list for profit means either charging fees to subscribers or
> charging people in a carefully controlled way to place ads in your lists.
> Neither approach is easy, but neither is unthinkable. Both _do_ require new
> Charging subscription fees means getting subscribers,, making sure your
> list has real value to them, and finding a way to collect the money.
> Including ads means maintaining consistent editorial focus, knowing
> something about your readers, selling ads, and considering carefully what
> mix of ads and editorial will keep your subscribers happy.
> These are not the skills it takes to run a free mailing list on the net. So
> it's not surprising that many list managers are nervous about "profits".
> But guess what-- most other netizens don't know how to run a list for
> profit either. List managers are in an enviable position-- they can
> experiment with ads at negligible cost since they run the list anyway.
> I challenge the entrepreneurs reading this list to think differently about
> the lists they manage. No one benefits from spamming. Maybe _controlled_
> advertising is the right approach.
Since I'm paying a commercial provider where I keep my lists, maintaining
them is a cost to me - so it's not 'for free.' I really would hate to drop
my lists due to my own financial constraints, so I do begin to have
to seriously consider how to balance my books. I'm setting up a gopher
site, (with topics worked out with the rest of the list membership) and
vendors is one of the areas we will list on the site. I'm going to be
asking the vendors for a small fee to post their information for a year.
It should help absorb the cost of maintaining the list and the gopher
site, and absolutely no one on the list is having a problem with this.
The vendors are getting lots of advertising at very low cost, the membership
is interested in their products, the quality of the list is improved, and
I'm (hopefully) not going to have to shell too much more out of my own
pocket to keep the list going.
I really don't have a problem with covering costs (or maybe coming out
ahead sometime) for this effort. The list membership has been quite
supportive of this approach, and I am careful to include them in this
process of determining list objectives and finances. Seems to be working
for us at the moment.