While blogs are the hottest thing going these days, they really aren’t all that new (by internet standards). I started blogging Davenetics back in the late nineties. At the time, Davenetics was an email newsletter. I used the Blogger tool to create a daily archive of my newsletter. It was a pretty manual model, but it worked.
But this was back in the days when email newsletters were an extremely effective means to build a userbase and communicate with readers and/or customers. When I first started the newsletter, subscribers poured in, more than willing to share their email address in exchange for a free newsletter.
But that changed. First, when the bust rolled in, thousands of email addresses (and the desks, chairs, computers and people with whom they were once connected) disappeared. Email addresses change. That was one of the problems.
The much bigger problem is spam. People no longer feel comfortable giving out their email address to someone who is not a blood relative (and even then, the final decision is situational). Then came the spam filters. Many opt in messages were treated as spam and routed into a black-hole. As spam has ruined email, blogs have exploded. This is not an A to B ratio, but I do think there is a connection.
Blogs don’t change addresses. Blogs don’t share an inbox with hundreds of unwanted messages about Viagra and penis enlargement. And with RSS, blogs can get their latest headlines into your inbox, your rss reader, your MyYahoo, etc.
Now we just have to hope no one figures out a way to spam RSS feeds. And believe me, they’re looking.
As much as I love the rise of blogs and am a contributor and active reader, I do miss the days when people would share their email addresses and when newsletters could make it through to an inbox.