The publishers who use our system get a number of marketing and promotional services as part of our deal. There are already a dozen different tools to which they have access from individualised private accounts. The services are broadly of three types:
(1) Statistics — on usage, page by page and link by link for live links. Therefore on a very busy page with a lot of links, the publisher has a wealth of information about what is of interest to the readership. But this information is aggregated. There is no way to track individual readers usage. The privacy of readers is preserved.
(2) Administration — so the publishers have access to all the subscriber details that we have (most important the email address) and in real time. The publisher is also able to manage her own distribution of digital subscriptions (eg for combined print/digital subscribers, or for voucher copies).
(3) Marketing and promotional — a set of web services which publishers can use to help in promoting their digital edition from their own web pages. For example our system produces the relatively simple HTML which is needed for a magazine to have a button link on its own home page: code a bit like this
I have scrambled the code a tad; if its not messed up, Blogger uses the code to put our handy advertisement widget onto this very page:
The advantage of web-service based software is that the system grows incrementally and painlessly. In three years time we will be supporting a much more sophisticated set of publishing and promotional services for our publishers. The publisher’s portal today feels a bit like the cock-pit of a Tiger Moth. In 2008 it may feel more like the set of controls for the Space Shuttle. I hope that isnt a dangerous comparison.