If you follow the media writing about the media, you've probably already heard that Darwin Magazine, launched by IDG in June 2000 to scoop up their share of the business technology 4-color full- page ad money that was jamming pubs like The Industry Standard, has folded its print edition. However, what I find interesting is the fact that Editor-in-Chief Lew McCreary's last (print edition) letter to readers says specifically this change is "for the time being only... when the time is right we will have survived to launch again in print (which is still the most pleasing and convenient way to package in-depth information)."
What his letter doesn't mention (at all, anywhere) is "sign up for our opt-in list" so you can still get Darwin's stuff in email. (Ok, remind me, what's the number one thing every evolved marketing expert on this planet is telling companies to do now?
Umm, collect opt-ins?) The site itself does offer newsletters, but breaks best practices rules in doing so; so they are definitely only getting a tiny fraction of visitors to sign up.
- There's no sign up box on the home page - you have to click on a link on the navigation bar to get free newsletters.
- There's no description of the "free newsletters" on that sign up page. Nothing. Not frequency. Not a link to a sample. Not even the title of the "newsletters" or an indication of how many there are, or the opportunity to choose which one you want.
- When you try to leave Darwin's site without signing up for a free newsletter, there's no pop-up box. (Yeah, I'm against constant pop-ups, but hey, it's proven that one single little 'please sign up' pop-up for new visitors will help you get lots of opt-ins without unduly annoying people. Then you cookie them so they don't see it again for 30 days or so.)
- In fact you can't leave Darwin's site easily, because they've done that programming thing that sticks you in a loop, endlessly revisiting their home page when you hit your "back" button. So they annoyed me, but never asked for my email.