Email as Two Way Medium

So the line between evil spammers, and normal spammers seems grey to the ISPs, non-existent to the users, and bold to people looking for bulk commercial email.  Google is adding features to positively tag email from people in your contacts, including showing the picture.  One way to get in the Contacts list is to receive two responses.

It’s been 10+ years since people routinely used email responses, most automated emails say not to reply.  Perhaps this will bring back communications.  If companies are used to getting responses via Twitter, perhaps they can bring it back to the “ancient” email technology.

Twitter as the Next Web Browser?

When the first web browsers came out, most of the resources weren’t on the web.  HTML files, hypertext sets of links, would point to resources on Gopher servers, or more often, FTP servers.  The existing network of FTP indexing and search tools got HTML front ends, and the web evolved.  Critics realized that there was nothing new, HTTP instead of FTP just made it stateless without logins.

Now a shopping service has created a Twitter service where you send them a message, and they find what you are looking for and tell you.  Reuters considers this an innovative business.  You can obviously use the Website,, but there is nothing magical about the Twitter connection?  There is no reason that you can’t SMS them, Twitter them, Instant Message them, or email them.  In fact, over a decade ago, those of us without direct Internet access could FTP via email.  There were gateways where you could email a request and you would get a response, and using UUCP Email Gateways, those of us with daily email connections could get files… it just would take a few days with one directory listing every two days (day 1, request a directory, email went out that night, the response came back after the connection, so on night 2 you got the response).

The Twitter API makes it easy for you to integrate, both sending and receiving messages via Twitter.  There isn’t any reason that it’s easier for users to Twitter you, but for people on Twitter all the time, I guess opening a web browser is now an inconvenience.

Twitter isn’t a technologically interesting system, but it sure is a clever social phenomenon.  If you have a web business and you aren’t harnessing Twitter, you’re missing a source of traffic.

List Building for Fun and Profit

Everyone knows they need a customer list, but most businesses do a horrible job of building them.  For years, we always built features into websites urging them to signup, working to integrate forum sign-ups with the rest of the website.  These days, Feed Burner, iContact, and Constant Contact make it easy to build a mailing list.  Feed Burner let’s you handle subscriptions from your RSS feed and automatically generate the contacts/feeds for your users while you build up a mailing list.  iContact and Constant Contact give you a web widget for your site, let you write your auto responder, and use their service as a mailing service for a small fee (nominal for small sites).

It’s fascinating to realize how much less technical skill is needed for someone interested in Internet Marketing in 2009 as was required even 3 or 4 years ago.  What makes this exciting is that Internet Marketing is moving from a technical field into a marketing field focused on CRM.  Your Direct Mail specialists didn’t have to be experts on printing, just how to source it, your brand marketers could build a branding campaign on television without knowing how to build a video camera.