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A Thing The Green Sheet Issue 020301-
Issue 020301-
Table of Contents

Wheeling and Dealing at ETA 2002

Differentiating Your Sales Equation to Make the Positives Add Up

Visa Softens Its Stand on Interlink Charges

FMI Marketechnics Show Produces Food for Thought

It's Amazing (for) e Business

PayPal's IPO Is a Success, But Challenges Remain

Relying on ISO Resources

You Can Bank on These 'Nice Guys'

A Stored Value Card- And Then Some

Helping People Help Themselves

Is That Your Final Answer?

Circuit Overload


Lead Story:

Broad Use, But Shaky Broadband

L ast year was an interesting year in so many ways, not the least of which was the significant growth of The Green Sheet Online. We have had so many loyal readers through the years, and until recently mailing a paper GS was our only way of communicating with you. While The Green Sheet will be 19 years old this October, our Web-based effort is only six years old and is really just coming into its own.

I have given you our Web growth numbers several times in the last year, and they continue to surprise all of us at The Green Sheet. In 2001, we received more than 390,000 visits to the site, an average of nearly 33,000 per month, and growing. This represents a growth of nearly 45% from 2000 to 2001, and it already is showing further growth in 2002.

We recently completed an audit of our Web site traffic through Verified Audit Circulation. This report shows that from October through December 2001 our user growth was 5%. The daily average of total visits was 1,059 with a total of 26,789 new users during this period and 6,069 repeat users.

While we already had received 521,587 hits on our site before February was complete, we have taken care to capture the time that any individual reader is on the site, what particular elements of the site are being read, and how many times that particular URL returns to the site.

These Web statistics permit us to differentiate between visits and readers. The detail that we capture on the Green Sheet Online also is permitting us to continue our focused content changes and feed the ideas that are helping us make the site more useful to our readers.

While I do not want to discourage any ISO from getting The Green Sheet on paper, it still pleases me that some readers actually contact us and tell us that they are now reading the online version and they do not need the paper version any longer.

Our total distribution numbers continue to grow. Our average mail distribution is currently 6,900 per issue, and 10,953 monthly users on the Web site brings our total distribution to more than 17,800.

In the beginning, we needed a lot of help with our original electronic version of The Green Sheet. We were lucky enough to get that help from Multiplex Media in San Diego. As the GS Online content grew, the site became more demanding, and speed has become an important factor.

Early last year, we bought our own servers and created redundant co-located service capabilities, and we have maximized our bandwidth. In addition, we have completely updated our site and reformatted all the original material, to permit easier maintenance and formatting for various browsers, which we began tracking. (We now know, as an example, that 89% of our readers use Microsoft Internet Explorer, and 7% use Netscape.)

Most important, however, we have made the material load more quickly and move more quickly, and we have made it easier to search.

One of the high-use areas of GS Online is the Forum section, which is getting more than 152,000 hits per month, up from 75,000 just two months ago. We have found that we must monitor this area well, making sure that we register each user and take down some of the items posted from time to time.

While we love to have your input on anything you think would enhance the usefulness of The Green Sheet or GS Online, we will (for now) continue to be focused on content, not flash. While more and more Web readers have access to faster connections that might well sustain a higher graphic interface, it might be awhile before broadband has enough of a reach, and is stable enough, to make a higher graphic version of GS Online a primary look, but we are keeping an eye on it.

Unfortunately, broadband connections continue to be problematic. Like many of its users, we were surprised by the Excite@Home bankruptcy and even more surprised by the regular service disruptions of many local carriers last year.

In addition, in March 2001 NorthPoint Communications, provider of nationwide service for Earthlink and MSN, shut down, leaving customers without service. As many broadband users tried to get replacement services, Rhythms NetConnections went bankrupt, and then Covard Communications filed for Chapter 11 protection, making it clear that broadband service will continue to be volatile for some time.

For now, we continue to have a majority of our readers viewing in dial mode, and for this reason we have concentrated on keeping it simple. But as an interim step, all Green Sheets are now loaded to the site in three formats: a text version, a full PDF version with all advertising, and a PDA download version.

For those of you with high-speed connections, we encourage you to view the PDF version, to get the entire look and feel of the GS version that you have come to know and love over the years.

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