Online Newsletters Grow, Fitting Internet Format

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In an indication of their rising popularity, the number of online newsletters nearly doubled from 2,500 in 2002 to 4,949 last year, according to Oxbridge Communications Inc.


The New York publisher said 3,309 of the online newsletters listed in the Oxbridge Directory of Newsletters 2004 edition also are available in print format. The rest are available either in online-only, e-mail or fax formats.


"The newsletter profile lends itself to Internet delivery," said Deborah Striplin, editor of the Oxbridge Directory of Newsletters. "Online newsletters are concise, timely and newsworthy, while their format is simple, direct, no frills and with very affordable budgets."


Oxbridge has one of the largest databases of print media and catalogs. The 40-year-old firm also publishes The Standard Periodical Directory, National Directory of Catalogs and the MediaFinder CD. The Web site www.mediafinder.com is an online database of 72,000 publications, including catalogs.


The Oxbridge data reveal that publishers are adding online newsletters to complement the magazine channel. Magazines having newsletters include consumer titles such as Modern Bride, Popular Mechanics, Newsweek and Family Circle.


Magazines typically produce newsletters to deliver news, communicate with subscribers, promote to prospects, collect opt-in e-mail addresses and raise rankings on search engines.


According to Oxbridge, 12,280 newsletters are published in the United States, including 588 that are online only. Canada publishes 917 newsletters, of which 61 are online only.


Several categories have produced an increase in newsletters. Office administration and equipment newsletters, for example, doubled from 20 in 2002 to 40 in 2003. College newsletters rose from 79 to 134.


But some categories declined, notably veterinary newsletters, falling to 17 in 2003 from 28 in the prior year, and management, falling from 151 to 97.


The directory has 255 categories. The largest is law, with 1,023 newsletters, followed by medicine with 715.


The company defines a newsletter as a specialized, targeted news and editorial product of limited length, fitting into a letter format as opposed to the more expanded magazine or journal version.


"We list any regularly published U.S. or Canadian newsletter, both paid and non-paid," said Trish Hagood, president of Oxbridge. "We do not include personal newsletters that are sales tools or rants, or that are of little general interest. We include blogs that are not personal and that resemble newsletters."


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