Ezine, Discussion and Announcement List Etiquette
By Shelley Lowery
The information super highway, countless intertwining roads
of information all merging into one massive freeway. That's the Internet. Just about any form of information you could
ever want, right at your fingertips.
The Internet is far more than just websites. Information is delivered via email, downloads, newsgroups and
forums just to name a few. In addition, there are literally thousands of ezines, discussion groups and
These groups are composed of individuals who either receive information in the form of a publication or share
information with a group. Although these lists can provide you with a wealth of information, they can be
very time consuming for the owners. With that in mind, this article will provide you
with some basic list etiquette guidelines.
Ezines, also known as email magazines, online publications and electronic newsletters, are simply newsletters
available via email and/or online.
Subscribers sign up to receive a publication and may unsubscribe at any time. This publication may be
delivered to your email daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly.
Discussion groups are groups of individuals who have signed up to participate in group discussions. This type
of group delivers messages to your email each time a member posts. When you reply to a message, it will
be delivered to the entire group.
Announcement lists enable members to sign up to receive and post announcements in regard to a specific
subject. This type of group may deliver messages as they are posted or you may receive a certain number
of the messages at one time.
Forums or message boards are online threaded discussion groups in which messages are displayed on web
pages. Some forums require you to register in order to become a member, while others require no
Most types of discussion groups, announcement lists and forums will have one or more moderators.
Moderators make sure that posts are appropriate and try to prevent spammers from posting.
No matter what type of list or group you join, each will have its own set of posting guidelines. Make sure
you always review the guidelines and double-check your post prior to submission. Not only will your message
get posted more quickly, but it will also save the moderator a great deal of time.
When posting or replying to posts, make sure that you stay on topic. If you're posting to a group that
focuses on "Ezines," you wouldn't want to post a question or information about "Gardening." In addition,
always be very tactful. Everyone is there to learn and share information. There is absolutely no
reason to hurt someone's feeling by publicly humiliating them or being rude. Keep in mind, there is a human being with
feelings behind each post.
When posting to an announcement group, make sure you follow the posting guidelines. Not only will this
save the list owner a great deal of time, but it will also prevent you from having to repost your message
when it gets rejected.
In addition to following the guidelines, make sure that you don't post your message more than once.
Announcement lists receive many submissions and only send out a certain number of posts each day. It may
take up to a week or longer before your message is approved. Reposting only serves to delay the
process even longer.
In order to remove yourself or unsubscribe from an ezine, discussion group or announcement list, you must
follow the instructions for each individual publication. Some lists will provide a link that will instantly remove
your email address. Others will require you to send an email message to remove
yourself. However, you MUST send the unsubscribe email message from the same address you used to subscribe.
Many times, subscribers may use an email address that redirects to their main email account. When they try
to remove themselves from a list, they can't remember which address they used to subscribe. This causes
them to become frustrated and take their anger out on the list owner. There is no way for a list owner to
determine what email address a subscriber used to subscribe to the list. However,
there is a way you can locate the address yourself and save yourself and the list owner a great deal of frustration.
If you're using Outlook:
Under the "View" menu, select "Message header" or "Source."
If you're using Eudora:
Click on the "Bla bla" button.
By viewing the message headers, you can determine what email address the message was sent to. This is
the email address you used to subscribe to the group. Your unsubscribe message MUST come from this
address in order to locate it within the database.
Professional list owners will NEVER add your email address to their database without your knowledge. Most
of the time, if you're receiving their publication, you subscribed and may have forgotten. Keep in mind, the
keyword is "Professional" list owners. There are many list owners that use unethical
means of obtaining email addresses.
Before making a "SPAM" complaint, it is VERY important that you understand the consequences. NEVER make
a SPAM complaint unless you are absolutely positive that it is, in fact, SPAM. It is much better to delete one
hundred potential SPAM messages than to wrongly accuse one innocent publisher of SPAM. What you
probably don't realize is that when you make a SPAM complaint about a publication, your
complaint also affects advertisers and article writers that have no affiliation with the publication. One SPAM complaint
can cost an innocent publisher, advertiser and writer their entire business. It's just not worth it.
Although many ezines will allow you to purchase advertising, discussion groups, announcement lists and
forums DO NOT allow blatant advertising. This is considered SPAM and will probably get you immediately
removed. Most groups will allow you to include your signature. Make sure you review the
guidelines prior to posting.
If we all work together and follow a few simple guidelines, we can make the Internet a better place for us
About the Author:
Shelley Lowery is the author of Ebooks: A Complete Guide to Self-Publishing. Stop by
Web-Source.net and download a free copy. It is jam-packed with valuable information and will teach
you everything you'll need to know to create a professional ebook.