Nothing to Cry Over

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On April 15, DM News' sister publication iMarketing News published its last stand-alone issue.

Thank god.

No, not thank god that this organization lost a once-fat revenue source and some talented and nice people. That part clearly hurt. And watching a publication go from a weekly that peaked at 76 pages to a monthly hovering at an anemic 24 was painful as well.

Don't mistake this for sentimentality over the folding of the product. It was a newspaper, not a work of art. Though many people liked it, the market simply determined there was no longer a need for it. In its last months, it had become so thin and the news hole so small that it was difficult to decide which stories should be covered. It was good for fanning on hot days, though.

No one can say iMarketing News wasn't given a fair shake as an independent product. But there are some solid reasons to take satisfaction in its demise as a stand-alone.

First -- please excuse the shameless company plug -- DM News' coverage improves. Many times, the observation was made that DM News could offer some kick-ass Net coverage if iMarketing News wasn't sucking resources and topics. With iMarketing News gone as a stand-alone, the days of agonizing over where, say, that killer e-mail story should go are over. Now, it goes where it belonged all along: DM News.

And surely another reason for taking satisfaction in the merging of iMarketing News into DM News is not lost on longtime readers of this publication. All together now: "The Internet is just another marketing channel!" I can almost hear the snickers.

Traditional DMers took some mean-spirited and airheaded abuse from new-economy nitwits in the mid- and late '90s. Folding iMarketing News into DM News is one more unmistakable sign that traditional DMers have been vindicated. Customer service, retention and fulfillment are still the fundamentals by which businesses live and die.

Good deal.

Meanwhile, what passed for editorials in the back of iMarketing News will become columns 24 times per year in this section of DM News. That's every other issue.

Coming up with topics for a regular column about Internet marketing in DM News similar to the ones that appeared in iMarketing News will not be easy. Editorials in iMarketing News often simply chided Internet marketers for failing to pay attention to direct marketing fundamentals.

The Net-heads offered a lot of fun material with which to blast them, and not just sock puppets. Remember DotJunction? Those were the guys who announced in September 2000 that they would open centers in malls with computers so people could order from Web sites and make returns at physical stores. The goal was to bring the advantages of a physical store to e-commerce vendors, one of DotJunction's founders said at the time. Yow. Now there was an editorial that wrote itself.

Somehow, a column in DM News that says things like, "Gee, you guys are certainly experienced and you know this remote marketing thing like the back of your hand" sounds a little flat. Not every DMer is a good DMer, though. And privacy wackos and radical anti-spammers no doubt will continue to push their weird agendas, so there's hope.

Meanwhile, to everyone who bought a single ad in iMarketing News or scanned so much as a single headline, thank you. That was one fun ride.


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