Is it possible for MakeUseOf to improve its Newsletter?

Ronald Burnham December 15, 2011
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I like MakeUseOf, but your email really sucks. I’ve put up with the audio starting by itself on some emails before it is fully loaded into email program along with waiting for all graphics and content to load before I can begin scrolling. Now my PC is not slow, but there is content that is not of any interest to me and probably others.

May I suggest that you start breaking down your Newsletters by reader’s interest. For example, I am not interested in any

1) cellphone news
2) game news.
3) Toughest Tech Questions
4) Twitter/Tumblr

I would like to be able to pick the content for the newsletter that I’m interested in. As is, I am thinking about turning off all images for your newsletter or unsubscribing. Not all your content is is uninteresting. Just would like to shorten the email loading time and get what I want.

  1. Ron Payne
    December 17, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Update on Audio: Movie trailer further down on page was starting on its on: "Andy Colby’s Incredible Adventure (1988) [IMDB]". None of the others were.

  2. Jay
    December 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    As I said, we have feeds of authors,
    is it possible to provide feeds according to the subjects or tags?
    Like sites of news channels have different feeds for news related to sports, entertainment, national, international etc.

    so It can be used as email newsletters also.
    Just a suggestion.

    • James Bruce
      December 16, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      Yes, just add /feed to the end of any tag or category page. 

      • Jay
        December 16, 2011 at 5:13 pm

        yes, it works, and it can help for selective reading. actually I just noticed there is a feed icon on all the service pages on firefox.

    • Ron Payne
      December 17, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      How many times are you going to tell me this? Guess you didn't read all my replies. I probably know more about RSS feeds than many posting here. I do not want that option. I like the email version. Just want to be able to customize the content as to what I am interested in.

      • Jay
        December 18, 2011 at 12:26 am

        I read your replies and I thoguht you did not notice the rss to email option,
        You still said that you want emails not rss.

        Rss to email will send you emails containing the articles of your selected subjects from the services.
        That's why I repeated.

        Only difference between the emails sent to your inbox via "rss to email" and via a newsletter will be,
        you will receive daily emails of your choice with rss to email
        and a newsletter will give you an overview only.

        The changes you suggested about the newsletter may get applied,
        but till then, it is the only way of filtering the emails of articles.

        Of course, only you can decide your options.

  3. Aibek
    December 16, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Hey Ronald,

    Feedback taken. Stay tuned! )


  4. Saikat Basu
    December 16, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Hi Ronald,
    Thanks for giving us your feedback. Let me address each of your queries one by one:- I am puzzled by the audio loading irritant, as we do not send out any ads or any other component via the newsletter. We have only two simple kinds - HTML and Text. Was it 'on' the newsletter or did the audio load after you clicked a link and reached the main site?

    - Reader segregation according to their reading interests is something we have thought about but have been unable to implement because of the scope of our articles which are wide ranging and we also have readers with diverse interests. Sending out too many NLs is also not recommended because it adds to the clutter in the inbox. Our NL is an overview of the best that happened over the fortnight and for now we have kept it simple, so the message isn't lost in the flood of information.You can of course, choose to opt for the text-only newsletters which are far simpler without any graphics. Or follow the category feeds as mentioned by others here. As mentioned by Bruce, if you could kindly send us a link or the screen of the offending audio file, it would be appreciated. Keep visiting us and giving us your feedback.

    • Ron Payne
      December 16, 2011 at 11:55 pm

      The audio started without clicking anything. The email was loading. Will have to go back and see which one caused it.

      Reader Segregation would be a big help as so much content delivered in your email is graphics intensive. For me I am not interested in a lot of the contented related to cellphones, etc., and it would be nice to cut the amount of graphics that has to load before I can even start to read your emails.

      I have diverse interests, too, but don't want all of it in one email! I would like separate emails of content I am particularly interested in. The text only eliminates converts the use of clickable links to copy and paste.

      • James Bruce
        December 19, 2011 at 11:29 am

        actually, Ron, I think you aren't subscribed the *newsletter*, but are currently receiving individual emails of every article *with ads attached*. Its possible the advertsiement was autoplaying, because theres no way the content in that particular article had auto playing audio, and I dont think we have control over which ads appear to you.  

        Last year, we temporarily replaced the regular newsletter sign up form with an RSS->email signup from feedburner. I think thats what you're subscribed too. If you wish, please unsubscribe from that, and sign up again using the form on the website now. That will put you on the actual MUO newsletter, which is far less content than the rss->email feedburner option. 

        OR, you could do the trick that jay and I mentioned, which is to first unsibscribe, then get a special feed from the site which removes any categories you dont want, and use a RSS to email service again to receive those. 

        If you let me know which categories you DONT want to see, I can create a special feed for you, which you can then paste into RSS->email service somewhere. 

        • Ron Payne
          December 20, 2011 at 12:00 am

          First, the newsletter is the one you all had us sign up for and it is not individual emails. The MakeUseOf email address listed is . Same one since I signed up for your newsletter ages ago. I never signed up for Feedburner's RSS>Email that I know of. The from email comes from MUO.

          There are videos in the articles. All you have to click to play except for this one time. The video DID autostart after loading and I had not even scrolled down to it yet. I have to wait for all the email's page contents to load first.

          There are only a few of the emails where I get a script warning. Those are a problem. It's just the coding done. If I wanted, I probably could go to source of your emails and find the problem, but I have other things to do.

          I do not need a specific feed made for me. I do not use RSS feeds and only make them for others when requested.

        • Jay
          December 20, 2011 at 1:21 am

          1. If you can post a screenshot using the  of the  email with that 'audio/video thing', with the +image option,
          you will not have to describe it in words, and we can see what is wrong.

          2. We tried to create a special newsletter for you, not an rss feed.
          and that's why James asked you what topics you want him to include.

          No problem if you do not want it,
          in any case you want it, Give us your email id and your selected subjects .
          and click on confirmation link you will receive.

  5. James Bruce
    December 16, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Hi Ronald. While I tend to agree completely with you about the newsletter, I think there are many other options. Personally, I prefer the RSS feeds which can be customized in any way you like. If you'd like more details on how to do that, let me know. I could tell you a special link that gives a RSS feed, but its only possible to filter using the categories with have. So while you could filter gaming articles OR news entirely, you cant just filter out gaming news. Unfortunately, a newsletter is just an email which we dont currently offer any customization of. 

    Though, as far as I'm aware, we don't have audio that plays in them, so if you could forward a copy of the relevant email to me at jamesbruce AT this site, I'll look into it. 

    • Ron Payne
      December 17, 2011 at 12:01 am

      I know how to do RSS feeds. I make them for other people's web sites and more. Just not interested in another medium to check.

      Will get back on the audio when I get time.

      • Jay
        December 17, 2011 at 1:17 am

        You can use rss to email.
        you don't have to add rss feeds to your rss reader,
        you will receive 'newsletters' to your inbox according to your choice.

        you can use feeds according to subject or by authors.

      • Ron Payne
        December 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm

        Audio starts within 5 seconds after selecting the email for "
        “Cool Websites and Tools [December 12th 2011]” ...". Sounds like a movie trailer. I do not have to click on anything. I just select the email so it shows in Preview pane. Wait a few seconds and audio starts. Forgot to also mention that some of the emails give a scripting error. Not many, but a few. I just allow, but you might take more care with these.

  6. Jay
    December 16, 2011 at 5:04 am

    Until you get such options, you may selectively receive articles by the feeds of your favorite authors.

    you can subscribe to them in rss readers, google reader.

    You may also use rss to email option.

  7. Jeff Fabish
    December 16, 2011 at 12:57 am

    These are some good suggestions, Ronald. I'm sure MakeUseOf will take them all into consideration, thank you for your input!

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