After raising the possibility of a Subtraction.com Email Newsletter last month, I did some hunting around at the various email list services out there and settled on two main contenders: the well-regarded Campaign Monitor and the similarly capable Mail Chimp. They’re basically comparable, though I admit that I felt compelled to give the latter a try first because, well, chimps are just cuter than monitors.
That said, I’ve passed on both of them for the time being. Instead, I took the cheap route and opted for the built-in announcement list functionality provided by Dreamhost. Say what you will about Dreamhost’s spotty uptime record and sluggish performance, but they offer a terrific feature set for one-person Web empires like Subtraction.com. Their fairly complete if unglamorous set of tools for mailing lists, publishing software, ecommerce and other digital empire-building endeavors are really easy to set-up, and they come at no additional cost.
My Blog, Your In Box
Anyway, I digress. The point is, for this exploratory first step into the world of email newsletters, I figured why not make do with what I’ve already got? If the Subtraction.com newsletter turns out to be a big hit, I’ll move over to one of the two aforementioned services. For now, though, you can subscribe right here (or on the Subtraction.com home page) and get signed up straight away.
Each newsletter will come soon after the end of each month, with the first one arriving in October. In it, I’ll summarize the activity here from September, recapping the posts I’ve written and the nature of the commentary. I’ll also include news about my upcoming speaking appearances and other projects, including general updates on A Brief Message (but not recaps of each of the posts on that blog).
Rich Mail, Poor Mail
Many readers are probably wondering if I’ll be sending the newsletter in pure, ascetic plain text or in the more luxurious but in box-polluting HTML format. Good question; I don’t yet know the answer. I’ll be tinkering around with HTML experiments in the coming weeks to see what I can come up with. For now, though, I know that everyone who subscribes will receive the same newsletter as there will be just one format — at least for October and probably the next several months. I don’t have the time to prepare two versions right now, at least not before I really have a handle on how it will be received, what readers find useful, how easy it will be to produce, etc.
That’s all a little tentative, I know. I readily admit this is a shoestring operation if ever there was one, and I’m probably not doing as good a job as I can of selling this thing. The way I look at it, it’s a learning process, and I’m hoping a good number of you will come along with me as I learn. Insofar as I discover things that I think might be interesting or useful for you to read about here, I promise to blog about it. I also promise I’ll make it as interesting as I can. And I promise not to spam you.