It’s very hard to go through a web browsing session without having a modal dialog popup to ask for your email address. Or how about this: you go to a website and in the margins there is an offer: enter your email address to receive The Completely Free Guide to X or some other PDF document, usually written by the author of the site.

The playbook, from bloggers1 to marketing agencies to big companies is simple: harvest email addresses, constantly engage through email marketing newsletters2.

In many cases this is done in earnest; the person asking for your email address is crafting a message as an act of community building3. Other cases are less sinister than they are purely commercial; your email address is a monetization unit. They will try to make money by bundling you up with others and in turn, you’ll give them a chance because the carrot at the end of the stick (daily deal?) is worth an email address (maybe not your primary – maybe a specific one you’ve designed for just this purpose).

I occasionally write articles for the Sioux Falls Business Journal and I want to explore the impact of newsletters as well as different ways to manage all of the email they generate. As an informal survey I’m looking for answers/opinions on the following:


######1I used to consider myself a “blogger” though these days I’ve had to reconsider since the wordpress + plugins universe is so different in form and substance from the Rebecca Blood version I knew before.

######2I’ve noticed that most of my “old school” blogs don’t work this way, even the popular ones (e.g. xkcd). They seem built for a time when most readers kept up via RSS readers rather than the inbox.

######3It might not be clear but I really do love these. A part of my exploration of the newsletter world is to think about ways I can optimize my consumption of curated thoughts like those from Brainpickings to Farnam Street. I’ve got mixed feelings about the strictly commercial ones, especially the ones which have no other intended purpose than to make money for the owner and whomever else they share email addresses with.