July 16, 2001
Welcome to the 500th issue of E-Tailer’s Digest. My how time
flies when you’re having fun. Today we're going to reflect a little on our
history and accomplishments over the past 3 1/2 years.
E-Tailer's Digest was first conceived on January 24, 1998 by Gary Foote, of Webbers Communications and moderator of E-Marketing Digest. Gary was intellectually honest enough to know that it required a lot of effort to moderate both lists and to get enough participation. So on March 13, 1998, he turned the list over to me with issue #0006 and with 87 members.
We changed the format, published every M-W-F, added tidbits of information wherever we could get them, nudged folks to participate and ended up with the best retail resource on the Net (some even say the best resource period). Today we have 2,300 members in over 100 countries, and we have some of the best retail experts in the world on the list, whom we can call on often for opinions.
We have had some very interesting events over the past three years…
On May 1, 1998 we announced that E-Tailer’s Digest would be published in Gifts & Decorative Accessories magazine, the premiere retail magazine, which was a first for the Net. The quality and variety of the posts impressed the Editor-In-Chief, so he said let's go. Gifts & Decorative Accessories magazine has a paid subscription base of 32,000 and has 100,000 pass-alongs (per ABC). They are the international business magazine of gifts, tabletop, gourmet, gift baskets, home accessories, greeting cards and stationery. And yes, I have been writing a column for them for six years now.
Then we had the first ever online party the 100th issue CyberCelebration complete with music, party favors, refreshments, activities, sing-alongs, and much, much more. It was a fun week all planned by “Party Planner Extraordinaire” Patty Sachs and put together in less than a week by our staff at GAP Enterprises, Ltd. Patty planned all events, and provided us with the recipes for some of the greatest party refreshments you will ever find.
The week started out with a registration for door prizes donated by some of our E-Tailer’s Digest members. Then every day at noon (EST) we had a group sing-a-long as we all sung the official E-Tailer’s Digest CyberCelebration Theme Song written by Patty and sung by members worldwide. We even had some photos, which some of us would rather forget.
All in all it was a great time as 2,714 folks attended during the eight day celebration. And 412 new members joined E-Tailer's Digest at the party, 127 members sent an invitation to friends and colleagues (one member sent 50 invitations!) and we had 31 door prizes donated by list members. Not bad for a thought that turned to reality within one week!
Over the years, we have had some excellent special reports and
“Real-World Success Stories” written by our list members. Actually we have
thirty six published reports written by retailers for
retailers. I keep saying we have the best group of business gurus
anywhere on the planet, and our members really come through with excellent
We have accumulated some first-class resources like the paper by Professor Jan Owens on “Academic Programs in Retailing” which listed universities who offered programs. And we were honored that some of our list members brought E-Tailer’s Digest into the classroom with programs at New York University and Purdue University and classroom discussions at other schools worldwide. I always knew when a new school year started as membership would suddenly increase. Their usual comment when asked why they joined was “my professor said I had to join.” Then at the end of the year, I always got a bunch of thank you’s.
And, of course, merchant accounts are always an issue. Where do we find them? So we asked our list members for help, and compiled a list of resources…
E-Tailer’s Digest was made possible in part with support from our sponsors who were kind enough to pay to have their products and services listed. Contrary to popular belief, it does cost money to produce a discussion list and we thank our sponsors for their continued support.
One of my favorite publications of all time was when we said Thank You to list members in your native tongue. We asked list members how to say thanks in their own language, and we got some help from members of Market-L, Association for International Business and Web Consultant’s list and we compiled a list of Thank You’s in 130 different languages or dialects.