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Something to think about... / blog
News feeds, the Future of Newsletters

Written by on May 15, 2004

News feeds are a wonderful thing and it might very well be the next generation newsletters.

Today's newsletters have a number of issues that prevent it from gaining really widespread penetration.

  • Privacy:
    People are becoming more and more reluctant when it comes to disclosing their personal information like their name and email address.
  • Spam:
    Many newsletters is sent out as spam, destroying the credibility of newsletters for everyone.
  • Unsubscribe:
    Because of spam and very inconsistent ways to unsubscribe - many people simply just block newsletters when they do not want it anymore.
  • No HTML:
    Even today, we cannot be sure how our email looks - some may have disabled HTML, other simply use email clients with sub-standard rendering.

And let's face it. Many people actually want to receive newsletters - if they are in control of them. But, today most people do not subscribe because of fear of not be able to unsubscribe in the future.

All these issues are solved with news feeds.

  • The subscription process is handled exclusively on the client's computer, so there are no privacy issues. The reader do not have provide any information in order to get the newsletter
  • Marketers cannot alter your subscriptions. So, you will never get spam newsletter (e.g. newsletters you have not subscribed to).
  • Like the sign-up process, the unsubscribe process is handled exclusively on the client's system. Again this removes any privacy issues - not to mention it ensures the all important consistency when unsubscribing.
  • News reader do handle HTML, so you can emphasize text, create inline links and include images - and you can generally rely on that it is delivered.

It basically solves all the negative issues we have with email based newsletters. It gives back the power to your readers, which is a good thing because that will, in turn, increase loyalty to you and your company.

We just need to make newsreaders a more widespread medium. Maybe we should have Microsoft and Apple to incorporate it directly into their email programs (mail and Outlook)?

Read also: News Feed with Style

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.


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