The Poop PatrolWritten by Bob Osgoodby
If you live in a closed community, such as a condo or residential community, you know what term "Poop Patrol" means. These are your self appointed protectors, who are constantly on alert for any infraction of rules of their community. Hang a towel on your railing - bang - you're busted. If you own a pet, you can be sure that "Poop Patrol" is watching you.
Well, Internet has its' own version of "Poop Patrol", and anyone who actively sends email over Internet, has probably run into them at least once. This is a fact of life. I had my service canceled for an infraction I didn't even commit. Another Newsletter had published my "Internet Tip of Week" column, and a "Patroller" sent a barrage of emails to every ISP he could find in Newsletter - my email address was at end of article, and he sent numerous complaints to my ISP. I was cancelled, and although account was ultimately reinstated, I learned a big lesson.
There are some people whose "holy grail" is reporting people as spammers, and I guess only kick they get out of life, is to get service of one of their "targets" discontinued. They seem to get pleasure out of hurting other people. I call these people "Poop Patrol" of Internet.
Face it - professional spammers do not use their local ISP. They rent a virtual server for about a hundred bucks a month, forge return address, and spam to their hearts content. Only rank amateurs spam using their ISP. You know them - they are ones who send you an email and show you address of everyone they sent it to.
So how do you protect yourself if you do send out bulk email such as a Newsletter? While there is no magic formula, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
First - never, ever (and that is a very long time) send out bulk email from your primary ISP, especially if you have web pages on their server. If they cancel your service, you will also lose all your web pages.
Second - provide a way to easily allow people to remove themselves from your mailing list. This is where a List Server comes in very handy. If you notify people who are on your list how to unsubscribe, this more or less takes you off hook.
How Much Can I MakeWritten by Bob Osgoodby
Last week, I received an email from someone telling me she would like to start her own Newsletter, and asked if she could hope to make a few hundred dollars a week by selling ads in it. She went on to say that she subscribed to one of mine, and has seen it grow over years, and wondered if that was possible.
That's a tough question. In order to earn ad money from a Newsletter, there are a lot of variables that determine its ad generating capability. Let's examine a few.
First, and foremost, advertisers want their message to reach largest number of potential clients possible. Notice I said "potential clients" and not just subscribers. The number of subscribers you have however, will determine whether or not it is worth their while. One with just a few hundred is not a strong contender, unless it goes to an extremely small market.
It takes quite some time to build a substantial number of subscribers, and in beginning, you will probably earn little or nothing from your endeavor. Once you have a thousand or so subscribers, you can then begin to market your advertising space. In order to do this, you must publish on a regular basis. Newsletters that are published "when spirit moves you" or on a monthly basis are also not good contenders.
So how do you build your subscriber base? Many people start by buying ad space from other publications. Some also send their articles to other publications hoping they will be published with their credits at end. And others "swap ads" for their Newsletters with other publications - all of these are highly effective.
Some Newsletters claim to have several hundred thousand subscribers, and they haven't been around that long. How do they build their subscriber base? Spam - pure and simple. They either extracted your email addresses from web, or purchased their list - yes some ISP's do sell their email addresses. They then send you their publication, and make it virtually impossible to unsubscribe. Larger companies are contacted to place ads with them, and they are in business. Is this a viable approach?