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  The Internet: exploring the world of creative professionals
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Easy EZine
Contributor: Mike de Sousa, Director, AbleStable®

EZines sound great. Sign up to an EZine and you'll enjoy great articles that tackle the issues most dear to your heart. Ezines are regular Internet publications generally sent either weekly or monthly and delivered direct and often free to your email inbox. We explore the world of EZines and discover there's a little more to receiving and sending an EZine than at first meets the eye.

The advantages of the EZine
EZines can provide quality content that can be read at a convenient moment. Rather than browsing or revisiting web sites to retrieve information, the recipient of an EZine knows its' content is chosen according to their particular area of interest. When an EZine has a dedicated team working on it as a self contained ongoing publication, the EZine can prove a valuable and welcome addition to your inbox.

Lazy Writing
All too often however, EZines do not offer quality content. Articles are generally written for an on-line rather than off-line readership. Articles in EZines are usually not more than 1,000 words in length, use short sentences and paragraphs, and tend to ramble in a repetitive conversational style rather than informing the reader in a well written pertinent fashion.

In contrast, articles such as those at AbleStable® are created with an off-line readership in mind. That doesn't mean they can't be read on-line, more that the kinds of values associated with traditional real-world quality magazine publications have been adopted in the writing, editorial and delivery of our articles and reviews.

Why EZine?
The most common reason a web site will offer an EZine is to build customer relationships and make money. Don't forget this. Businesses recognise the EZine as an effective way of generating interest in their web site, product, service, and as a gateway to encouraging sales. There are sites like AbleStable® that provide articles and reviews that also have the intention of providing a point of contact and information between a particular group of people, in our case these are creative professionals.

Read the small print
When you sign up to an EZine you're entering a contract. If you're receiving a free EZine, check the site's terms and conditions carefully as your email address may be passed on to 'trusted' commercial organisations. In practice 'trusted' all too often refers to any web site that will pay for the privilege of acquiring your email address.

Ensure the site offering the EZine provides a satisfactory Privacy Statement and that there's a contact page with details of how to remove yourself completely from their mailing list should you wish to. If you're confident the EZine provider will supply high-quality valuable content, and that it is unlikely to release your email address, then take advantage of their offer. If there's a moment's concern about their credentials, walk away.

Be aware that by subscribing to an EZine, existing customers and potential clients will usually be granting their permission for the supplier providing the EZine to include advertisements and other commercial messages via email.

Receiving Spam
You may have been very careful about vetting a web site before signing up to an EZine yet still receive Spam as a result of your email 'leaking' out of a system somewhere. There's a tremendous commercial temptation to exchange email addresses for profit, and despite the best intentions of the site owners who provide the EZine, an employee with Administrative access may attempt to benefit from the illicit sale of email addresses. Before you know it you're receiving Spam email and you have no way of proving how the sender acquired your email address.

If you are currently receiving Spam, don't reply to a Spammer or take the option of removing yourself from their email list as your reply will merely inform the sender you're receiving their email and may increase the volume of your unwelcome messages. Ignore the email and report the Spammer to where you'll find invaluable information and advice about Spamming.

The long game
The bottom line is that good writing takes time and few businesses are willing to make the necessary investment to ensure EZines maintain high standards of writing and content.

Most EZines are produced with the express focus of generating additional leads rather than delivering consistent high-quality content. If the author's aren't varied and the editorial hand isn't disciplined, the EZine lasts a few months before interest in it dwindles and it shuts up shop. The most successful EZines (paid-subscription and free) are often produced with an eye to viewing their development and maintenance as a long term prospect, and their focus is on the company's strategy of developing its on-line community.

The future Fridge magnet
In time the best EZines will establish a world-wide readership that will outstrip any of their real-world counterparts. In many instances real-world magazines will gradually and inevitably be superseded by on-line/EZines. The EZine is here to stay as the world of the screen increasingly becomes part of our daily experience. In next to no time they'll be a touch screen on every fridge door carrying the front page of your next EZine. As you click to the first page you'll be presented with the option to purchase your favourite fruit juice at a knockdown price...

Authors background
Mike de Sousa is the Director of AbleStable®. Mike has been commissioned as an artist, music composer, photographer, print and web site designer, and author.

If you observe inaccuracies in our in-house contributions or wish to contribute an article or review to be included at AbleStable® visit Feedback.

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