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All Features for All Publishers and All Subscribers

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I recently blogged that the FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition has had a quick uptake among professional publishers. However, premium pricing, although it has a low entry point, has put its features beyond the reach of many non-commercial bloggers. That's a shame. So we’ve decided to fix it. FeedBlitz will now enable Newsletter Edition’s full-functionality free of charge to all publishers in exchange for small FeedBlitz-sourced ads in their messages (see below for info on what they look like and when they'll appear).

FeedBlitz message volume has grown to the point where it is attracting the attention of potential advertisers. These services recognize the value of the targeted delivery that requested email content offers. FeedBlitz is their only practical opportunity to buy placement in the email sent from thousands of blogs to millions of subscribers each month. The combination of FeedBlitz’s growth and the evolution of these services means that we can now use ads to fund the services and features - capabilities that we could previously only offer by charging a fee.

It is important to note that FeedBlitz is neither selling nor revealing subscriber email addresses – there is no change in our privacy policy. In particular, ads will only be distributed as part of the content the subscriber specifically asked for from that publisher or article source. Nothing else is changing. Subscribers can still terminate any subscription at any time.

Effective on a rolling schedule (again, see more below), there will be just one, fully-featured version of FeedBlitz: Newsletter Edition. Publishers using our free services will be automatically upgraded to use this service, and in exchange we will place what we believe are relatively unobtrusive ads (see below for how to see some samples). Or, publishers can pay on a sliding scale based on the number of subscribers, and avoid having any ads appear at all. Existing premium publishers will not have ads placed in their content, nor will their payments change, regardless of the plan they’re on. Consistent functionality, ad or fee-funded, is a model that has worked well for many other “freemium” services and we believe the new capabilities it enables will work well for all our publishers, their subscribers and FeedBlitz.

For premium (i.e. paying) publishers, we’ll sweeten the deal further. In a couple of months, after we complete some technical changes, we plan to offer revenue sharing on ads we source. Publishers will then be able monetize their mailing lists using FeedBlitz, delivering a brand new revenue stream for their blog or site.

These are, obviously, significant changes. So what exactly are our plans, how might they affect you, what will you see, and when?

Free Service Publishers

  • Your service will be upgraded on September 14 to an ad-supported version of FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition.
  • You’ll be able use Newsletter Edition to tailor the email’s look and feel, adjust delivery schedules, offer Skype, AIM and Twitter subscriptions, collect and use subscriber demographic data, and more.
  • Newsletter Edition gives you a major boost in capabilities at no charge which you can take advantage of as your time allows; no new action is required of you.
  • After September 14 we’ll be retiring the standard, less functional “Personal Edition”

Premium Publishers

  • You will not have ads placed by FeedBlitz in emails to your subscribers.
  • We plan to introduce optional revenue sharing programs for premium publishers in the future which will give you an opportunity to profit in a new way from your blog or site.
  • If you are on a “Pro” or “Turbo” plan your services and payment schedule will stay as they are until you upgrade to Newsletter Edition (or cancel, and thereby automatically upgrade to the ad-supported version).
Premium Subscribers
  • You will not have ads placed in the emails generated for you as part of your Turbo Subscriber upgrade.
Subscribers who Subscribed Through a Publisher
  • As always, the content you receive is determined by the publisher of the content you subscribed to.
  • If the publisher allows FeedBlitz to place ads in emails, then FeedBlitz supplied ads will appear in the mail you’re already getting.
  • You will not receive any email from us that was not originated by your publisher or our “email to a friend” capability.

Subscribers who Subscribed Directly

  • If you set up your subscription directly with FeedBlitz rather than through a FeedBlitz-enabled publisher, the email you will receive will contain small ads.
  • You will now be able to modify the delivery schedule of your email subscriptions, a feature you previously would have had to pay for.
  • You will not receive any email from us that did not originate from the content source.
Advertisers
  • Contact FeedBlitz to find out about how to take advantage of our upcoming advertising programs and the targeting we can offer.

Privacy

  • Our privacy policy has not changed.
  • The confidentiality of your email address is critical.
  • In particular, we have not - and never - share your email address with the ad network(s) we use nor any third party except the publishers you subscribe to (unless you elect to be anonymous to them) or as required by legal action.
What will the ads look like?
  • Ads will be small “taglines” discreetly placed just above the unsubscribe footer as appropriate.
  • If you get this email from the main “FeedBlitz News” syndication, scroll down to see the ad (if not, please subscribe by going to www.feedblitz.com/f?Sub=84 )
  • If you view this online, go to www.feedblitz.com/f?PreviewFeed=84 and scroll to the bottom to see the ad.

What if I don’t want ads and I don’t want to pay to remove them?

We’ve been running these ads in limited form for 4 weeks now. They’re being successful, and we haven’t had any objections from the publishers or their readership about them. We’d urge you to try them out as we take the capability live and take advantage of all the exciting and powerful features that FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition will give you for a while.

But, if after reviewing everything you really, really can’t stand it and don’t want to become a premium publisher, that’s OK. We respect that decision. Since FeedBlitz is a fully open system, here are the ways to export your data:
  • To export your publications, log in to your account at http://www.feedblitz.com/ and pick My Account Advanced My Syndications Export to OPML.
  • To export your subscriptions, pick My Account Advanced My Subscriptions Export to OPML
  • To export your subscribers, pick My Account Advanced My Subscribers Export to Text
Of course, we offer corresponding import features for publishers wanting to take advantage of FeedBlitz’s powerful HTML email newsletter edition features.

When will these changes take place?
  • For standalone subscriptions (ones where there is no corresponding FeedBlitz publisher account), ads will start appearing Thursday night, August 30.
  • For existing publishers using FeedBlitz’s free service, upgrades to the ad-supported Newsletter Edition will take place Friday, September 14.
All Features for All Publishers and All Subscribers

Enabling ad-support lets us offer full functionality to all publishers and subscribers and not just those who pay a premium (does this make us the first service to upgrade our free users this comprehensively?). Advertisers benefit from a channel where their ads accompany requested content rather than arriving as uninvited spam. Plus, having a single set of capabilities for everyone will also allow us to simplify the web site, making FeedBlitz easier to use for everyone.

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