Getting Publicity Through the Newsgroups

    June 18, 2003

With everything one hears, after a while you start to think that news groups are just for posting porno pictures. Not true. news groups almost define the niche market. There are over 40,000 newsgroup categories on just about every subject you can imagine.

Think of news groups as public e-mail because this is what they are. You may have an e-mail client configured as to go to a mail server. In the same way, the newsgroup client is configured to go to a news server as something like Naturally here, we’re talking about the public news groups. There are also private groups that will require special knowledge to read the mail, such as a password.

News group servers (the computers) are often maintained by an independent news service provider which your Internet service provider subscribes to as a value added service for you. You may need a password to get through your ISP to the news server but, that isn’t the same as requiring a password to enter a particular news group. As we said, there are over 40,000 public news group categories. How many categories you have access to will depend on how many categories reside on your ISP’s news provider, often most of them.

There are also independent news servers that you can subscribe to for a small monthly fee. An Internet search for news servers will turn up many.

As well as reading messages posted to the news servers, you can also post your own messages for everyone else to read ….Ah ha! Advertising.

Errrr, don’t be so quick. You’re not the first to think of this. Many news groups are overwhelmed with advertising. It’s called, you guessed it, just like e-mail, it’s spamming. News groups were intended for like minded people to exchange information. Unfortunately, a lot of these groups have been rendered almost useless because of the amount of advertising, often unrelated to the group’s subject, making it almost impossible to sort through to the useful messages.

So, don’t be a spammer. You’ll be wasting your time. People reading a group will spot you comming from a mile away. As a niche marketer, you’re an expert in your field. Be an information provider and sneak in the advertising. In fact, as well as corresponding with individuals within your particular news group, think about publishing a newsletter to the group. If it’s informative, it’ll be well received.

This can be a good way of having a mailing list when you don’t have one. Anyone that reads the group is a potential recipient of your newsletter. Remember, you’re preaching to the choir so keep your newsletter on topic.

News reader and posting clients come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and capabilities. Some plain vanilla and some with more bells and whistles than you can imagine. Some are dedicated to specific reading/posting tasks like image posting or mp3 reading. Others are just made for spamming.

For specific newsletter and correspondence posting and reading, the news reader built into your web browser (We know IE, NN, and Opera all have them.) should do the trick. If you want more, search the Internet. There are zillions of them; most are fairly inexpensive.

Now to the tricks. Actually just one. How to stay off a hundred different mailing lists when posting to a newsgroup. Oh yes, just like there are e-mail harvesters that scan websites looking for e-mail addresses, there are harvesters that scan the news groups looking for reply addresses, including looking in the body of the message.

Remember, newsgroup posting is the sending of an e-mail like message and making it available to the public. It has a “reply to” field. If your news client won’t let you use a bogus return address, find one that will. You’ll thank us for this.

So how do you let legitimate real people readers know how to get in touch with you? One trick we’ve seen is to provide your real e-mail address in the body of the message but messed up slightly with instructions for correcting. IE: Remove the “_x” to reply.

Mel Davey is the creator of ImagineNation (, a full service E-Commerce Application Service Provider, offering Storefronts, Order Management Utilities, and 3rd party credit card processing.