Getting the Gist of marketing

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Thanks Gist, for your wonderful email informing me that you are going to begin charging for some of your services.

Quick marketing hint: permission goes stale. I don�t remember signing up to receive offers from you. If I did it was long enough ago that I don�t recall doing it, but this is the first time I�ve gotten an email offer from you.

If it’s the first time in a very long time that you’ve contacted your customer lists, perhaps you should preface your marketing campaign with a short email explaining that you are about to start using your long-dormant email list. Give your customers the chance to opt-out before you start blasting them with your marketing.

Why? Because if you don’t, your brand is tarnished. My first thought upon seeing your email was that you had succumbed to the allure of spam. It wasn’t until I scrolled all the way to the bottom of your email that I saw your explanation and remembered that, once upon a time, I had used Gist.

Had you checked my account, you would have seen that it has been a very long time since I last used it. Perhaps you could have used this information to provide a more appropriate message to me. It’s unlikely that an inactive member of your service would be interested in paying for enhanced content. Maybe you could have tried to entice me to start using your basic services again instead.

Finally, the product manager in me sees a serious flaw in your plans. I can understand the need to find new revenue streams, but trying to monetize a free, commodity product is destined for failure. What do I get for my $3.95? Soap opera updates and personalized listings. I can already get these for free from My Yahoo, the New York Times, and dozens of other sources.

June 8, 2003 10:58 AM

Well, I turned out to be one of the people who paid for 'Gist Gold'. I had one reason to do it: the Calendar. I liked being able to add a show to my calendar, and have it track when it was going to be on, no matter what time of day it was moved to. I had my favorite shows tracked out, and with the Calendar I wouldn't miss any. Unfortunately they couldn't make the business model work, and have stop offering their product to the general public. They are now trying to sell services to cable providers.

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