Newsletter Settings

ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,214

Love the idea of the newsletter, but having just received the one about Pley, after having seen and commented on the news article on the main site, I wonder if it's possible to alter what topics we receive newsletters about?

I tried the newsletter settings link on the email but it only seemed to give me the option to change my name or completely unsubscribe.

Is the plan for the newsletter to use it as an advertising medium (I assume that's what the pley articicle was really about as it's pretty old news and the link on the page goes to a brickset specific sign up page) or will it be put to greater use, I'd rather not unsubscribe altogether, but if it's going to just be repeating stuff on the main site I don't need it.


  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    edited July 2015
    With regard the pley news 'articles', I must admit to finding both have read very much like a pushy sales pitch rather than a news piece... I don't know what it is, maybe a change in the editorial style or they're just republishing a press release without an editorial re-wording to tone down the sales spiel - or it's a paid for advert without the phrase 'advertisement' being displayed - but each time it's made me think brickset has a vested interest, when it probably doesn't, due to the tone of the 'news' coming across as unusually desperate for approval or 'shilly'. 

    I should point out i'm not accusing anyone of anything, just pointing out that it's how it has come across on the site. They're posted as news, but read like adverts.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,440
    It's early days yet, and I'm not sure what I'll use it for long term, or whether it'll be cost effective to continue to do so. Measuring its success will not be particularly easy given it won't be directly driving sales.

    What do you think it could be used for? As you say, regulars won't want to see the same information as on the main site, but on the other hand non-regulars might appreciate seeing summary info if they don't visit often, and might be encouraged to do so if the content is interesting.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    I should add (on topic), that i also thought the newsletter is a great idea, and am looking forward to seeing how that develops.
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,214
    I see it as potentially a good replacement for the "this weeks top stories" post on the main page in the short run, I never really look at that on the main page admittedly, but as a weekly roundup it could be useful.

    Breaking news would be a far better use than this type of article, I don't mind stuff like that, I get how the economics of running a website work and completely understand the need for it, but getting the same non-news news story twice makes it feel a bit pushy. If however it was a new set announcement then receiving the info twice wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, makes sure you don't miss the announcement etc.

    Another idea for the newsletter could be to promote some of the new user submitted reviews that have been posted in the past week - perhaps if you could filter those that got the highest helpful rating etc to ensure what gets added to the newsletter looks good.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,440
    Between you and me, the mailing list was established so I could send out the PleyWorld one, following our 'partnership'. I didn't just want to send it out first, though, hence the introductory message last week.

    Using MailChimp is incredibly expensive so that might be the last one you receive, although I might be open to similar sponsorship in the future, to help fund it.
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,214
    I am aware of MailChip's cost, which I figured was why there was an element of doing a sponsored story, but in all honesty @Huw, I wouldn't go down that road if I was you, people can be really sensitive about having their email addresses "sold on" - even if you are not giving out the info but acting as a middle man, people will still see it that way.

    If you can run it with some kind of obvious paid for adverts as part of the newsletter then that's fine, but to just use it for sold mailing list privileges will wind people up and probably lead to mass unsubscriptions and devalue the whole thing anyway.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,440
    Good points. I was thinking more along the lines of adding an advert of some sort in regular newsletters, perhaps just a writeup of a product, store, service or whatever.
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,214
    That sort of thing is fine, and to be expected with most newsletters it's just definitely best to be upfront when something's being advertised. Just last week on the forum there was someone who ruffled a few feathers by posting a recommendation for a lighting system that was clearly his own...nothing wrong with promoting your own product but pretending you're not the person behind it can wind people up.

    I hope none of this is being taken too harshly, I love the site and completely understand the need for advertising to keep it going - I just don't want it to cause problems :-)
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    @Huw I suppose it depends whether you want to drive traffic to specific parts of the site, such as bargain watch links, and promote the site functions in general (perhaps with How To's etc'), or use it as a direct-to-members advert space to sell to interested parties seeking to reach the brickset membership. Doesn't have to be entirely commercial, other users could also perhaps get a message out to everyone... whch would bring me to the next function:
    Whether you'd prefer to see it as a more 'added value for the member' thing, (by having what would be viewed as fun stuff instead of traditionally commercial/business interests). 
    'Fun stuff' is always difficult to quantify in value - but often what is seen as frivolous can turn out to be the whole reason something has an audience at all, and if what they thought was just a bit of filler is dropped in favour of something more useful, they lose that audience... and everyone is left scratching their heads.

    The reason is usually: If the mail-outs became overtly sales-driven or filled with ads then people might just unsubscribe, thus removing the value of the initial reach it had - so fun stuff is always a necessary trade-off of the space used in order to maintain the readership. Being entertained or informed keeps people coming back for more... that audience is then the asset at your disposal.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    edited July 2015
    Huw said:
    Between you and me, the mailing list was established so I could send out the PleyWorld one, following our 'partnership'.

    :o <- (tongue in cheek shock, not serious)

    As shib says, it is indeed annoying (to put it politely) to feel emails have been used solely to push a partnered site. (It doesn't matter that a quick intro version is fired out first - that will just serve to indicate awareness of the possibly conflicting interest, with a willingness to side-step them via a technicality).

    Adverts, and recommendations to partnered sites/businesses, whether sent via a mail-out or posted on the main site, should be clearly marked as such, and not presented as/disguised within editorial news. As with Shib, i don't wish to sound harsh, but it's your reputation at stake - lifetime to build, seconds to ruin, and all that.

    Now, I haven't seen the latest newsletter so i don't know if some announcement is in that, but as far as the main site goes, I don't recall seeing any announcement/news of this partnership, yet I have read two heavily favourable 'news articles' about what they offer with no mention of this fact. As they are indeed promotional pieces for a partner, it should always be made clear in the posted copy in the interest of transparency for the benefit of everyone, not just readers/visitors, but the partners too.

  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    edited July 2015
    Edit: There is an announcement in the newsletter. ;) However, all points remain valid. :)
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 3,447
    How about a separate newsletter with the latest deals from Amazon etc? That way, people could unsubscribe if they only wanted the 'news' newsletter, but for others, getting a weekly 'deals' newsletter may be very useful.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited July 2015
    Things like this should be opt-in as opposed to not-opt-out.  Nobody should be getting any kind of email unless they explicitly indicate they want and/or accept it.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 3,447
    Depends what the T&C's of the website are. All it would need is for Huw to update them to read something like:

    • By logging into the site [] you agree for your email address to be added to the brickset mailing list, from which you can unsubscribe at any time.

    Then just mention at the bottom of some news item that oh, by the way, he's updated the T&Cs (or added T&Cs) to reflect various things, and hey presto.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited July 2015
    Yes, that's the absolute bare minimum one could possibly do...if that's what we're shooting for here.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,440
    I know I've handled this badly and for that I apologise. I can either now not send any more emails out, or make use of the list for the benefit of everyone, Brickset, members and potential advertisers.

    However, chances are I won't be sending any more out, all it's done is cause bad feeling here and me grief, plus it costs an arm and a leg to keep a mailchimp mailing list of this size running.

    Regardless, I will add a 'sign me up to the newsletter' checkbox on the signup form which will resolve the issue properly for new members and cover the eventuality of it being used in future.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited July 2015
    Make it multiple?

    X Check here to receive Brickset news emails
    X Check here to receive exciting information and offers from Brickset partners
    X Check here to receive notifications whenever @pitfall69 references MLP

    And so on.
  • samiam391samiam391 A Log Cabin in KY, United StatesMember Posts: 4,258
    I agree with all of the comments above... while I didn't mind the initial enrollment into the Brickset newsletter, I was confused (and a little annoyed as it felt like spam) when the first newsletter was an advertisement. Same as everyone else, not trying to be harsh... just honest and helpful.

    Sounds like it's all taken care of though now... multiple options when signing up will work well.
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