Pilot Group Mails It In When It Comes To Online Investments

Put a different way, in a universe of increasing delivery methods,ad-sponsored e-mail continues to hold its own as a significant revenue stream. (It would be disingenuous not to mention here that we know this from experience, especially since many of you will see it in a ad-supported newsletter.) But AdAge sees it as a distinguishing characteristic that, in today’s Ajax-centric, browser-based world, Bob Pittman’s Pilot Group is counting on the e-mail model for payoff when it comes to many of its online content investments. (The investment in Stereogum would be an exception.)

Top of the list, of course, DailyCandy, with its reliance on e-mail to the point that its web site doesn’t draw much in the way of significant traffic.
Instead, the site relies on COO Catherine Levene sounds downright dismissive of those crazy Web 2.0 kids: “There are a lot of these flashy Web 2.0 companies out there, and I don’t know how many are making money and are going to survive.” DailyCandy claims 900,000 unique subs representing 2.5 million subs for its editions. Another Pilot investment, Thrillist.com has 110,000 subs across three editions. “Light Green” newsletter Ideal Bite claims 150,000 subs (the media kit has 115,000) and 12 percent monthly growth for its daily email.

Sponsored e-mail makes a lot of sense for niche publications with audiences that aren’t likely to ever be huge. It also requires some care, since people may react differently to something in their in box versus an article on a site. Last month I heard from a now-former subscriber to DailyCandy, who was dismayed by a rather arch e-mail touting a service she found to be “degrading.” Her response: “I guess anything goes in today’s world, but not anything goes into my email account.”

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