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Where Did Everyone Go?!
by Mike Banks Valentine

Sunday evening I was updating a page on my site that lists
ezine directory submission pages for my site "members" when
I discovered that nearly a third of those listed directories
were no longer there! Besides apologizing to my faithful site
members for all of the dead links, I spent a substantial part
of my evening discovering other dead links on my site and
taking the time to do a bit of house cleaning.

I'm far from finished in the clean-up, but I have my work cut
out for me over the next few weeks. I thought I would call it
quits for the night when I discovered that the autoresponder
responsible for the majority of my newsletter subscriptions
was no longer working! AAAAAaaargh! No wonder the level of
new subscribers has dropped dramatically over the last few

So I removed the form from a couple of pages and now found
that the third-party service I used to collect "members" at
my site scrambles the list in some unrecognizable fashion
instead of listing the most recent members all in one place
so that I could add them to my own records. I now have to
search for their "sign-up date" from a vast list of everyone
that has ever joined the site. It also includes even those
members that have long since unsubscribed! Oh my . . . !!

I've resigned myself to a bunch of extra work this week.

I guess it's time to stop using free third-party services.

That means I have to implement a paid service. I'm not going
to make the same mistake and use dozens of separate solutions.
I'm going to a single source which will dramatically ease my
administration duties and automate all of the drudgery. I've
wanted to do this for some time but have delayed due to the
substantial cash outlay required to make my work easier.

As with all business expenses, it's just a bit more than I
thought I could afford.

I wrote an article back in September complaining out loud
about the failure of "free" business services and the need
to invest in paid services when they are critically important.

I quote:

"We all have a budget to work within to operate a site profitably
but would it cost you more if that free web host went down than it
would cost to pay for your web hosting? If your email doesn't get
delivered because your free email account suffers from a system
failure, would it hurt your sales or customer relations? If that
online fax service stopped working when you were waiting for a
big contract from a new client, would you be better off upgrading
to the paid version of the service with more benefits?"

<--- Endquote --->

See that article at:

Even now I wish I had taken my own advice when it came to the
most important asset I have -- my client list and subscribers!

It's not the first time I've stuck my foot in my mouth when
giving advice. I'm eating humble pie and I'm not even hungry.

WebSite101 "Reading List" Weekly Netrepreneur Tip Sheet
Ezine emphasizing small business online
e-tutorial online at:
By week's end you're ready expand your business to the web!

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July 29, 2001