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Ken Magill

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New Email-Intelligence Service Debuts

9/1/15
 
By Ken Magill
 
A new email-intelligence service has launched.
 
Dubbed Notablist, the service boasts intelligence on some 4 million email programs from 400,000 publishers.
 
“The competitors that I have looked up do have a range of publishers that they cover,” said Michael Johnston, co-founder of Notablist. “Typically it’s in the few thousand to the tens of thousands, but nothing that I’m aware of offers the broad coverage that we offer.”
 
According to Johnston, Notablist uses an automated process to subscribe to “hundreds of thousands of newsletters. Automating the solution of finding and subscribing to newsletters is not a trivial problem. Some of them require double opt-in, some of them don’t. Some take you to a page requiring more information.”
 
Johnston conceded that when marketers segment their email campaigns based on recipients’ activity, or lack thereof, Notablist stands a higher chance of being segmented into the inactive groups and receiving a disproportionate percentage of messaging aimed at those groups.
 
“Right now, we have nothing that can prevent that, at least not in the current system,” he said.
 
The idea for Notablist, said Johnston, came about when he realized there was no search engine for email newsletters.
 
“It’s not an easy problem to solve and I think that’s probably why it hasn’t been approached on such a large scale before,” he said.
 
Johnston also said Notablist does not offer intelligence on recipients’ interaction with email campaigns.
 
“We’re not monitoring what people are receiving,” he said. “We’re monitoring what the publishers or brands are sending.”
 
When asked for his service’s value proposition, Johnston said: “We think service is of greatest value to marketers looking to do basic competitive research, for instance looking to stay on top of competitors all in one place. 
 
“Even more important, it will uncover competitors people aren’t even aware of,” he said. “If you’re searching for newsletters on, say, Land’s End, you’re going to get Land’s End but you’re also going to get other newsletters that mention Land’s End.”
 
Notablist also lets users segment searches by category, he added. The current service is free and will probably remain so, said Johnston. 
 
“We have no intention of charging for the service as you see it,” Johnston said. “Our goal is to offer a higher level of service that incorporates analytics and other features that people will be willing to pay for above and beyond basic search.”
 
Johnston also said he sees Notablist as a giant swipe file for designers. Swipe files are a pre-internet direct marketing tactic where marketers would keep a file of print creative they liked in a file drawer so they could turn to them while crafting campaigns steal their ideas.
 
“Our goal is to literally index every single publically available email newsletter on the ‘Net,” said Johnston. “Once you’ve done that, you have a very deep pool of information you can extrapolate from.”
 
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