Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
I'll admit up front that today's podcast is slightly self-serving. I'll explain in a 'sec.
A couple of years ago, around the time I was setting up Ask Leo!, a wise gentleman made the claim that "email newsletters are dead". He said that because RSS was catching on, and the spam problem was growing in magnitude. Email deliverability was a serious issue for newsletter publishers, and RSS feeds bypassed the entire email infrastructure.
Here we are two years later. RSS is thriving - in fact it's spawned revolutions in content delivery, including entirely new models like podcasting. This podcast wouldn't exist were it not for RSS.
But, perhaps surprisingly, email newsletters continue to thrive.
Since RSS requires you to use, and understand, a new tool - a feed reader - widespread adoption among "normal" people hasn't really happened yet. It's getting better - for example in the case of podcasting, Apple's iTunes has made a big impact on widespread adoptions. But true, widespread RSS adoption is still somewhere out in the future - maybe when it's really integrated into the operating system. Or perhaps adoption will increase as more and more content becomes available and compelling.
RSS is not yet the death of email newsletters. Unlike RSS, everybody already has email, and they understand it. Spam solutions, while sometimes cumbersome and problematic, are out there - and let's face it, people will tolerate a certain amount of spam.
So here comes the self serving part: two years ago I claimed that Ask Leo! would never get into the email newsletter publishing business. I didn't want the hassle. Now - I've changed my mind. I've partnered with a great mailing list provider, aweber.com, and will be launching the "Leo's Answers" newsletter on November 18th. It'll be a weekly summary of articles posted to Ask Leo!, as well as a few newsletter-only extras.
As a website publisher, it'll be an important tool to generate repeat visitors - as a service provider, it's another way that users - particularly those who aren't yet on the RSS bandwagon - can stay up to date.
We'll see how it goes.
Visit the shownotes at askleo.info by entering 9404 in the go to article number box on the home page. There's a link there to the original article, as well as the comments I've only excerpted here. Add your own comments, I'd love to hear from you.
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