Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

Are email newsletters dead?

Did RSS kill the email star? Hardly … and I finally jump on the bandwagon.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!


Transcript

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.

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Tech problem solving & safety tips & a weekly confidence boost in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow

Slow Computer?

Speed up with my special report: 10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow, now updated for Windows 10.

NOW: name your own price! You decide how much to pay -- and yes, that means you can get this report completely free if you so choose. Get your copy now!

3 comments on “Are email newsletters dead?”

  1. Leo,
    Although I’m a pretty knowledgeable user, I read your RSS feed and do learn new things. Thanks!

    I’m a coach and consultant who specializes in helping independent professionals get and build their businesses online. Some of the things I do is setup autoresponders and ezines for my clients, as well as build and maintain their sites.

    Lately, I’ve been talking them into changing from ezines to blogs. I install a WordPress blog for them with an email notification plugin that works great! They – and their subscribers – are still 100% clueless about RSS, so that’s not an option. And they still want to “push” their content to their subscribers.

    The blog with notification option works well for them because they mostly have been doing HTML ezines which require them to either pay monthly for an easy way to generate their content for each issue, or use an HTML editor of some sort to create their content and then use a broadcast/autoresponder system – that they also must pay for monthly – to send the issue.

    Or they have to pay me to generate and send their issue while still paying for the broadcast/AR system monthly!

    With the blog, they pay me to install and configure it, as well as teach them how to use it, but then they are cost-free and it’s easy for them to use the admin screen to generate posts.

    An additional benefit over ezines is that they can create some disussion via comments. And the RSS links are already available for when the average web user starts to use that technology.

    Now, I know you’re doing a blog AND an ezine. But how much easier is it to create blog entries and have them automatically go out to your subscribers than to create 2 different streams?

    Peggy

    Reply
  2. Heck – I actually pay for Brian Livingston’s Windows Sectets newsletter – why? because the info is 90% relevant to me. For $10/year it’s a great deal as far as I’m concerned. Love the podcast – keep up the great work and I’m looking forward to the newsletter.

    John

    Reply
  3. Leo, great podcast today!

    A year and a half ago I wrote an article on the “22 Reasons Why Email is Not Dead” and as I re-read the datapoints that I wrote in that article… even though XML/RSS has increased in value to society, it is not the replacement for email and will never be.

    The big issue is that this should never have been a debate about “Is RSS the replacement for EMAIL?” but rather how can the average person ADD RSS to their business in ADDITION to email.

    Those who only do RSS are missing the boat. Proof is that the guy who cried EMAIL IS DEAD, sends hundreds of thousands of permission-based emails weekly. HA! Email is not dead and the RSS guy proved it. 🙂

    Chris of http://Ezine-Tips.com/

    Reply

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.