You don't need a press to publish
Vol. 2, No. 43,
Discover new sites and the secrets to web success
Vol. 2, No. 43 November 28, 2001
In This Issue:
1. Web content tip
2. Email tip
3. Readers Write
4. The Y Files (Q&A)
5. Surf Club - web site reviews
6. Reader's choice
7. Weekly chuckle
Brisbane - Thursday, December 13
An e-newsletter is an editorial publication - it's not direct mail. Discover the secrets to writing, publishing, financing and promoting an email newsletter from a professional writer and publisher.
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From the editor - You don't need a press to publish
After five years, Brisbane News has dumped my weekly web site review column.
Apparently my comments in last week's newsletter about old media's Scrooge-like treatment of freelancers touched a nerve.
The truth hurts and the truth is that independent content creators have been at the pointy end of the spike for far too long.
Freelance writers fulfil an important role in a media-monopolised market - we provide a fresh, alternative voice.
In Brisbane, as in many other Australian cities, print journos can work for Murdoch, Murdoch or Murdoch - or go their own way.
But freedom of the press no longer belongs only to those who own one. The Internet enables anyone to publish to a global audience.
Publish yourself - you might lose the safety net of a weekly cheque but you'll gain self respect and maybe even rekindle the creative or altruistic spark that drove you to become a writer in the first place.
Web sites and e-newsletters are publications and all need useful editorial content, but don't give away your expertise as we've done in print.
Times are tough but do your dentist, plumber or hairdresser lower their hourly rates? Then why should professional writers.
Besides, online content creators need more skills and equipment than print writers so should charge accordingly. If we don't, we'll have only ourselves to blame.
Go on, dare to be different. It's just a matter of time before more members of the Internet community accept they have to cough up for quality content. A new study shows 12% of 233 people surveyed have already paid for content online that used to be free. That's a massive increase on previous surveys -
PS If you're a Brisbane business, school, church, charity or other community organisation, you can promote your Christmas events online for free this year through http://www.ourbrisbane.com/
Web content tip
Despite the economic slowdown in the second half of 2001, creative recruiter Aquent reports encouraging spikes in demand for creative freelancers in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Auckland.
Asia-Pacific CEO Greg Savage says advertising agencies have responded to a fall-off in their clients' needs by cutting permanent headcount.
"Corporate users of creative talent are also running lean," Greg says. "In many cases when projects do emerge, businesses lack the in-house talent to service the work so they turn to freelancers as a solution."
Demand for specialist freelancers in the third quarter increased by -
5% - in web and multimedia
35% - in print production
45% - in print design
Aquent's research shows that while pay rates have levelled off, and maybe even fallen in the past two quarters, the long-term trend is upwards.
"We are positioning our business for an upswing in demand in early 2002...business always moves in cycles."
The Australian Commonwealth Government has amended the Privacy Act 1988 to cover private businesses.
Although most small companies with a turnover of less than $3 million will be exempt, you should consider voluntarily complying with the best practice standards.
Brisbane solicitor Peter Janssen says the integrity of privacy principles is crucial on the Internet where a sceptical public needs reassurance before fully embracing the many benefits of online transactions.
"Someone in your organization needs to be given the job of being the Privacy Officer. It will be their responsibility to familiarise themselves with the Act and the National Privacy Principles and do a privacy audit to see if your organisation complies."
For more information on privacy policies and policy manuals, visit -
Pollyanna discusses gloves in her column this week while I review "Count Your Blessings: The Healing Power of Gratitude and Love" by Dr John F Demartini.
Send your book or film review to email@example.com and I'll be happy to publish it - along with your own web site address.
The Y Files
Brisbane's Martin Lack gave us this week's question and received a copy of "Reengineering the Corporation" by Michael Hammer and James Champy.
Q: Is there any site which enables me to view an email displayed with different messaging software? We’ve stayed away from using any graphics in our missives because of comments about Lotus Notes screwing up the layout and readability. Also, do you know any site which will tell me the ratio of email tools in use? We use Outlook2000, for example.
A: While I'm aware of browser emulators that let you view your web page through various browsers, I don't know of similar tools for email. In my E-newsletter Workshop on December13, I'll share lots of tips and tricks re email layout, format and readability. In the meantime, read this article (which links to a chart showing MS Outlook 2000 as the most popular email client) -
Email me your stumper via firstname.lastname@example.org
International Dark-Sky Association
Black is black and these concerned citizens want it back. For the past few decades, viewing the night sky has become more difficult, thanks largely to light pollution. This global, non-profit organisation wants to bring back the stars through education and better designed - or aimed - lighting.
In a net shell: Night, light.
Ever feel as though someone is watching you online? Chances are, someone is. Ad-aware is a free tool to remove spyware from your computer. Spyware, also known as scumware, tracks your surfing and delivers ads based on your habits. Download Ad-aware to scan your memory, registry and hard drives for spyware and remove it. (Doesn't work with Netscape).
In a net shell: Ad away.
When you're having trouble keeping up with the Net, enlist the help of a software robot, or bot. Spyonit hosts lots of free bots, from the useful to the futile. Use bots to troll newsgroups and web sites for specific phrases, news or names. Find out when tickets go on sale, stocks go up or prices go down.
In a net shell: I spy.
The cornfield maze is growing into a global craze. English maze designer Adrian Fisher has designed more than 200 mazes across 17 countries and broken the world maze record four times. Read his frequently asked questions or follow the links to his other maze sites.
In a net shell: Amazing.
Orisinal features highly original design (and spelling). This is a stylish collection of free, fast, fun and Flash-powered online addictions. If the rollovers don't get you, the names of the games will. Offerings including Bum Bum Koala, Milk the Cow, Penguin Panic, Cranky Crabs and Snow Bowling.
In a net shell: Cute.
The Brick Testament http://www.thereverend.com/brick_testament/
Relive stories from The Bible in glorious colour - and plastic. The Old and New Testaments have been re-created in Lego blocks, from the Garden of Eden to the Tower of Babel.
In a net shell: Snap to it.
Mark G from New York submitted this week's review of a favourite site.
If you need a laugh, you're bound to find something that tickles your funnybone at humor columnist Mad Kane's site. She covers every subject imaginable - the Internet, marriage, computers, cars, money, privacy, work and US politics. She says she writes about everything that aggravates her and apparently she's aggravated most of the time. My favorite feature is her Dubya's Dayly Diary.
Send your brief site review to email@example.com
The greatest accomplishments in science and the arts have been made by individuals acting alone. No park has a statue dedicated to a committee. (author unknown)
Antidote for Stress: How to really Feel Great! Can you spare 15 seconds a day to uplift your state of mind? Send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe. Free content for your web site. http://exultations.com/