Warp Factor 5

I’m sitting here thinking about how EzineArticles.com is going to evolve beyond our current rate of growth… and the single largest obstacle that I see in the way of our growth rate (in terms of daily articles approved into the site) is my desire to not anhilate our real-time email list members that get notified every time a new article is added for the category they are signed up for.

We can solve this in one of 3 ways: (please help us decide)

1) Expand the real-time email alerts when new articles are added so that it’s by SUB-CATEGORY rather than by primary category. This would create over 150+ new email alert lists, one for each channel/category. The idea is to narrow the focus of each list so that our members get LESS volume and MORE relevant emails.

2) Shut down the real-time alerts all together in favor of only the daily summary email alerts. The thinking is that those who get real-time alerts could always subscribe to the individual RSS feed of the channels they have an interest in instead of the real time email alerts. End result is that they would still get real-time alerts, but via RSS instead of email.

UPDATED: Another big bonus to option #2 is that this would greatly reduce our list attrition. The real-time alerts are highly subscribed and highly unsubscribed because the volume is too intense. Bringing everyone to daily summary would solve that problem.

3) Create a new form of real-time or daily summary email alerts that are keyword specific so that only articles that match a specific keyword would be included in such emails. We’ve considered this option for many months and held off on it due to the extreme back-end logic that would have to be added to this functionality to make it viable and not useless.

4) Another option we didn’t consider?

The easy route would be for us to just shut down the real-time email alerts lists or fold them into the daily summary alerts. This would solve the problem within one day and we can then double or triple our ability to accept articles faster per day.

What are your thoughts?

(side note: Warp factor 5 refers to Star Trek… thinking back to the early days when they were learning how to move from warp 2-3 to the big “warp 5″… and in other years, up to Warp 9.x. We’re at that point where we are preparing to enter the next exponential leap into sub-space speed.)

5 Comments »


1
Jeff Herring writes:

what about a combination of #1 and #2 – I like the idea of even more specific niches, so that is good. could you set it up so that alerts were sent out 2x a day, 12 hours apart?

best

jeff

Comment provided September 6, 2005 at 3:11 PM

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2
Andrea writes:

I think I would appreciate one email a day containing summarized information.

Rather than sending multiple emails a day, wouldn’t it be more effecient to send one email linking to the articles by article title?

From that, I can easily skim through the summarized title list to determine what meets my criteria.

Thanks!
Andrea

Comment provided September 6, 2005 at 3:25 PM

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3
Dina Giolitto writes:

Option 2 jumped out at me right away as being the answer.

In considering this further…

The object of an email alert is to signal content-hungry publishers that new, quality work just came into the category of their interest.

If you narrow that category down to highly-specific keyword matches, then the recipient of the alert gets LESS choices.

Due to the “chaos factor” as I like to call it, you never know when a really excellent article is going to fly in that MAY OR MAY NOT contain the exact keyword phrase that the email alert recipient has designated as his alarm bell.

This site is categorically speaking, perfectly-balanced between the specific and the generic.

Let’s take the category of HOME AND FAMILY- PETS.

Suppose my interests are: boxer dogs, cockatoos, breeding rabbits and betta fish.

As the recipient of the alerts, you are making more work for me if you tell me to check off those four categories instead of just “pets.”

Not to mention, if nothing comes in that matches my exact categories, I get no alerts from you and then I completely forget about your site.

And if instead of “betta fish”, someone writes an article on “Siamese fighting fish,” then I don’t get an alert because my keyword-specific choice was TOO NARROW.

So: as you’ve already suggested, your team may be wasting an incredible amount of energy and effort designing complicated, logic-based keyword technology only to produce what would have happened just as nicely if left up to chance with a more generic category heading.

Am I saying this right?

If you aren’t already doing so, why not embark on an aggressive marketing campaign to get the word out to publishers that this is THE PERFECT place to grab hot content and pop it right into your marketing newsletter/blog/website/etc.

I’m dead serious! How about some good old-fashioned marketing? Then instead of pinging people, they’ll just come to you directly.

You’re kind of like an article supermarket that way. Would the supermarket ever send me an email alert saying a new shipment of eggs came in? No.

I am rambling. Damn, I hate it when I get mired in the details! (Hope this post helped somewhat).

Comment provided September 6, 2005 at 3:35 PM

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4
Michael Russell writes:

Definitely option 2 – daily summary and allow RSS subscription to categories of specific interest.

Perhaps expand RSS categories available or make a keyword search RSS feed?

Comment provided September 6, 2005 at 5:36 PM

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5

Good comments, I would enjoy the email alerts broken into categories. Each category listed in the email. You can put an advertisement at the top. Under each category titles of submitted articles. Then if you click on that, it takes you to the bottom of the email where it is with the 2-5 sentences explaining the article. If not we scan and delete. Also for specific “key word” articles that would be nice. I like the way that American Biz Journals does theirs each week with a specific summary of exact matches. If exact matches, perhaps the whole article is sent. And perhaps you could tell the authors what those specific key words are so we might slightly adjust our articles to fit them. This way they get picked up and we can see what they want? Anyway, you do not have to get that technical, as such a system would blow your competition out of the water and then they will claim you cheated, like they did with Lance Armstrong.

Comment provided September 6, 2005 at 9:53 PM

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