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Thursday, February 22, 2007

How to Make A Gigantic Email Mistake 

Yesterday, I received an email from Industry magazine, which is apparently some kind of franchised "high-end, city-focus lifestyle" publication. I was being invited to some event or other.

Frankly, I ignored the email, since I tend to get a lot of spam from public relations folks who don't seem to realize that, simply because I occasionally blog, I don't actually run any press releases or base any of my posts on press releases that wander uninvited into my email box (except, of course, the email I'm writing about today).

But then the fun started. Evidently the good folks at Industry cobbled together an email list, and spammed a bunch of people. Nothing terribly unusual about that. But the problem was, they made the email FROM the same list that they sent it TO. As a result, everyone who replied with an unsubscribe request managed to send that request to everyone else who got the original email. And then a bunch of people started emailing that they were getting unsubscribe requests for things they didn't send out. And then another slew of unsubscribe requests to those replies came in. I--and everyone else who got the email--got to see everything (thankfully, it was all trapped in my Spam filter).

Well done, Industry! You've not only illegally spammed a bunch of people, but you did it in a way that guaranteed maximum confusion and maximum damage to your inelegantly named "brand."

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Esquire's "New" Website 

PaidContent.org's David Kaplan reviews Esquire.com's new look website, and finds it to be "a step in the right direction. But it needs to take some bigger steps."

Even though Esquire is one of my favorite magazines--I've been a loyal subscriber through thick and thin since I was in my 20s--the website doesn't do much for me, design and navigation-wise. It looks jumbled together, and seems to emphasize Esquire's continued attempts to 'out-lad' the ADD-addled 'lad' books, most of which seem to be past their prime these days anyway.

There is good stuff on the web site. The cover gallery provides a wonderful tour for magazine and design junkies of every cover of the magazine, including the launch issue from 1933, which I've included with this post. You can easily search and freely access back issues from 1999 onward. And I like the little Esquire "rule" that scrolls across the top of the home page, mimicking the placement of these little funny and weird gems in the printed magazine. (Rule No. 432: The study of plate tectonics is best left to professionals.)

There's a ton of great editorial, from one of the great editorially-driven magazines, including web-exclusive material. And there's even an easy to use RSS feed link. Esquire looks to be doing everything almost right on the content front.

I just don't like the way the web version of the magazine looks. It's not well designed, and it doesn't seem to know how to deal with advertising placement in a smooth way.

Kaplan notes in his review:

Esquire, and publishers in general, might want to consider what made the magazine so distinctive during its heyday in the sixties. At that time creative thinkers like George Lois not only drew in readers and advertisers, but pushed boundaries that redefined journalism, art direction and the central nature of what a magazine is. That may be too much to ask of any editorial property today. But at the very least, a magazine - print or web - should be fun to look at. Secondly, an editorial website should use its brand identity to go farther than its printed version.

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