Loren Nelson, NelsonEcom
Internet Solutions | Visual Design
Web Sites & Multimedia & Usability Engineering
We May Dose, but We Never Close

June 3, 2007 – Vol. XI, No. 15


is the weekly newsletter keeping your informed
of various chatter and other tidbits of potential relevance.


This Issue:

Getting the Most Out of Email Marketing
What is a catch-all email account?
ReCaptcha: The smartest way to deal with something annoying
Word of the Week
Consumer Price Index
you know…

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1. Getting the Most Out of Email Marketing

Increase unique opens – The number of different individuals who open the email within a specific period.

When it comes to email marketing, the favorite statistic is the open-rate. It is considered as being the perfect indicator of how their mailings are received. This metric is important in judging the success of your email campaigns and newsletters. Your task is not only to get the email there but to ensure that it is opened. If your aim is to have your recipients read your email, then you have to achieve a high open-rate.

How is open-rate determined?

If you use email marketing professionals that employee tracking features, then the job of establishing the open-rate is not a major issue. The tracking feature of your email marketing solution counts the number of ‘unique opens’, which implies that list members are never calculated twice, despite of the fact that they open the email more than once.

Measure clicks – When a recipient clicks on a link.

The click-through ratio of your email newsletter comes into play after the bulletin has been opened. If you have achieved a good open-rate, you should now aim at a high click-though ratio, which is the ratio of people clicking the ad to that opening the email.

Your newsletter should contain pertinent articles to your business rather than loads of ads of no relevance to the reader.

Another important factor is the title. A good idea would be to give the title according to what it links. This will definitely lure the subscriber to click if it contains information of interest. Your newsletter must be given a distinct look and personality.

Armed with this data, who opened and clicked your emails, you now know who is interested in what. Your sales team can now mine this for opportunities leading to sales, targeted contacts, etc.

2. What is a catch-all email account?

A catch-all email account is an email address that is specified to receive all email that is addressed to an incorrect email address for a domain. For example, if you have three email addresses set up for

And you set up as a catch-all email account, any email messages sent to (an invalid email address), are sent to the catch-all account (

You can set up one email address as a catch-all account per domain name.

3. ReCaptcha: The smartest way to deal with something annoying

Spam, zombie robots, and the rest of the dark underbelly of the Internet has led to one of the Web’s big annoyances: the captcha. That’s the barely readable block of random letters you must translate in order to prove your humanness, and it’s supposedly the one thing that separates us from the machines. It’s also used in nearly every site registration process–and more recently at site logins. The bottom line is that it’s annoying but also utterly necessary to keep evil at bay.

Enter reCAPTCHA, a project of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. A mix between disease-curing Folding@Home, and MyCroft [review], reCAPTCHA requires users to solve two jumbled words: one is the actual captcha, the other is just a word that needs to be translated into text. These words come from various scanned books and documents residing on the Internet Archive. Many of those books were written before computers and in their current state (PDFs and image files) are just glorified photographs–a medium that is still hard to sort through. Once complete, they’ll be digital text, and completely searchable.

Words for translation are not just chosen by random. Documents that have been scanned, get checked by an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine, which is able to pick up many of the words. Those that are misspelled by OCR, or are impossible to read, are plucked and put into the ReCaptcha word pool. Sites can implement ReCaptcha several ways. There are plug-ins for WordPress, MediaWiki, phpBB, and PHP.

4. Word of the Week


Definition: (noun) A shawl with a ritually knotted fringe at each corner; worn by Jews at morning prayer.

Synonyms: prayer shawl, tallis

Usage: He donned his tallith as he entered the synagogue.

5. Consumer Price Index

Authoritative site by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Consumer Price Indexes (CPI) program produces monthly data on changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services.

6. Do You Know…

On this day:

  • Henry Ford Test-Drives His First Vehicle (1896)
    Henry Ford was an American engineer who is widely credited with developing the world’s first modern assembly line used in mass production. After becoming chief engineer of the Edison Illuminating Company in 1893, Ford was able to devote attention to his personal experiments on internal combustion engines, which culminated in 1896 with the completion of his own self-propelled vehicle named the Quadricycle.
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