blog entry notifications

A while ago I toyed with the idea of sending out notifications of new blog entries and eventually began doing it. However, I have found that they have had an unanticipated impact on my daily blogging, apart from my original concern that people wouldn’t want to unsubscribe. I resolved that by switching to WordPress and creating a plugin that could automatically subscribe and unsubscribe users without my intervention.

The unexpected impact is that I feel compelled to write worthwhile and useful blog entries instead of the mindless drivel I usually post, because I didn’t want to tarnish the inboxes of my subscribers. I feel an obligation to provide things for my subscribers and even began wondering what entries led them to subscribe so I could write more blog entries that people would want to read. I also found that when people unsubscribed, I began to wonder if what I had written had upset them in some way.

Now that I’ve thought more about it, I don’t really want my blog entries to be altered in that way. I want to be able to post a useless item for fun and not feel bad about sending out an e-mail. If I post several entries in one day, I don’t want to send out several e-mails, but then I have to decide per post if I’m going to send one out or not.

I also like the idea of preparing several posts at once so if I’m out of town or not able to post for whatever reason I can schedule them to show up each day. The problem is that there is currently no way to send out notifications when the post actually shows up on the site.

I’ve stopped allowing new subscriptions, partly for the reasons I mention above, and partly for a reason that I have yet to understand fully. I was receiving subscriptions and unsubscriptions for bogus e-mail addresses by the dozen. It began to be quite a nuisance day in and day out and I can’t figure out how they benefited at all by it. I remain perplexed to this day.

My current thoughts are to either stop sending out notifications altogether and recommend people use an RSS reader if they want to know when I post, or to post a main event type of blog entry which will have an e-mail notification. If I posted multiple entries on a particular day I wouldn’t send out a notification for them. I don’t like that idea as much because it’s a hassle (albeit a small one) to remember to enable and disable my notification plugin, and it also means I’ll have to decide which blog entries deserve an e-mail notification and which ones don’t.

I welcome any input you readers (especially current subscribers) may have, as well as any input from anyone else who may have something to say on the subject.


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  1. I espically like the notifications becasue my rss feeder has become a fearsome beast that I have yet to tame.

    I don’t mind if you send me lots of small entries. It takes me a few seconds to click on the link and check it out.

    Better yet I would like the small ones sent to my email and a readmore for the others.

    Btw I fist started posting to your blog when you posted the short question about courts and nameing.

    Comment by christopher on June 12, 2006 @ 6:29 am
  2. Christopher: That’s very interesting. I wouldn’t have thought people would like that, so perhaps I’m worrying too much about annoying people with multiple e-mails. Maybe I could just explain that every post gets an e-mail, large or small or multiple a day, so if they don’t want to receive them, they’re welcome to unsubscribe. Thanks for your input, I appreciate it.

    Comment by dan on June 12, 2006 @ 8:14 am
  3. May I recommend a Captcha to prevent bogus signups? There’s one at and another one called BotBlock.

    Comment by Meredith on June 12, 2006 @ 10:51 am
  4. That’s a good idea. Thanks for the links.

    Comment by dan on June 12, 2006 @ 11:09 am

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