>So how do ads work in a magazine. First, business _expects_ to pay for ads.
>PR people work very hard to get the "free ads" referred to as publicity.
>They might even _bribe_ an editor with a "free lunch." But the "bribe"
>usually won't get an irrelevant puff piece into the magazine. And in
>special interest magazines like Bride or PC World, ads DO interest the
>readers, sometimes enough to be the reason they buy the magazine (Computer
>Shopper). Magazines prove the concept.
Umm...you forgot the part where the revenues from advertising subsidize
the magazine, all the way down to lowering (or, in some cases, elimina-
ting) the eventual recipient's subscription cost. There is no parallel
in the online world at this time. Paying me to advertise on my list does
absolutely nothing for the fellow on CompuServe who pays surcharges for
any significant number of external email messages.
_Computer Shopper_ is an exception, where the ad-to-meat ratio is about
25:1; I view it as a mail-order catalog, not a magazine. (I do not know
a *single* individual who actually subscribes to it.)
>Frankly, I think the real explanation is that it's a lot easier (and
>perhaps more fun) to run a list for free than for profit.
It's possible (if not probably) that many lists were formed to speci-
fically *avoid* advertising and the trappings of hype.
>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
You're forgetting something. Go root through a compendium of mailing lists.
Count the number of addresses that end in ".edu" or ".gov" and think about
the ethical question of paying *those* list owners. I suspect that a strong
majority of our mailing lists exist through the courtesy of third parties; my
list is just such an example. (I no longer work for engr.uky.edu, but they
have courteously allowed me to keep my access and host my list on their sys-
tem) I, for one, would be *extremely* uncomfortable about making money as
a result of their courtesy. (As far as universities go, there are *all kinds*
of rules/regulations/laws about the use of their systems for commercial pur-
>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.
I challenge the public relations professional to *get involved*. Just as
there are now sites which, for a fee, create and maintain web pages, there
can be sites which create/maintain mailing lists. I can't help but feel
that there's a move afoot to leech from the work done by list managers.
"Hey, here's a ready-made target audience!" I've worked in the direct
marketing business - I know the mindset.