Article: Joseph Jobst


The Small Business Library

February 11, 2000

Drive Traffic To Your Site -
Use The Power Of Newsgroups

When it comes to promoting an e-business, there are many other components of the online world that can also help to effectively bring traffic to one's site -- and some that are often ignored by most marketers. Aside from the Internet, newsgroups are discussion-centered bulletin boards and part of what is called the Usenet, the predecessor of today's Internet.

According to the Internet FAQ at http://www.faqs.org the Usenet is a "worldwide distributed discussion system." It consists of a set of groups with names that are classified hierarchically by subject. They are similar to discussion groups in that they deal with a wide variety of topics, from the specific to the obscure -- each group being dedicated to a particular theme.

Newsgroups allow users to read and post messages regarding virtually every topic imaginable. In addition to providing a forum to discuss web-related issues, newsgroups allow webmasters to reach thousands of potential visitors and customers in a very targeted fashion. Of course anyone subscribed to a particular newsgroup has opted to receive the postings to that newsgroup, making this an ideal medium to promote a site.

If you have never used a newsgroup before, subscribing is fairly simple. Most email clients have a newsgroup feature. For example, in Outlook Express, go to the "Tools" drop down list and choose "Accounts". Then click the "Add" button and choose "News". You will be prompted to enter your name, email address, and a news server provided by most ISPs.

A news server will typically look something like:  news.your_isp.net.
Contact your ISP if you are having problems with this and they should be able to provide support. Once you enter this information, you will be given a list of all available newsgroups, approximately 25-30,000. Then you simply search for the topics that interest you, and subscribe to those groups. For example, a search for "cars" in the newsgroup listing brings up newsgroups on Fords, car repair, kit cars, rail cars and the musical group The Cars. In each of these groups you can read messages related to the given topic and post questions or information.

Everything posted in a newsgroup is made available to all subscribers of that particular group. This means there is a great deal of responsibility for anyone posting a message. Before posting to a newsgroup, read through several messages to get a feel for the topics being discussed and the tone of the group.

If your message is not relevant to the particular group, it is considered SPAM. While spam may generate traffic to your Website, it will also create a lot of ill will and a lot of complaints in your inbox.

Instead, provide valuable or topical information in your message and then mention that you have more information available on your website; you will attract interested and grateful visitors. You can also answer questions from previous messages and include your site URL in your signature.

There may be multiple newsgroups regarding your topic of interest. Be wary of posting identical messages to multiple newsgroups (or posting the same message to a particular newsgroup multiple times). As with other types of promotion, some newsgroup postings will yield better results than others and the members of one particular newsgroup may be more responsive to your message than members of another group.

Newsgroups are almost nirvana for Web site promotion. You can tailor a message and reach thousands of very targeted and interested surfers for free. It doesn't get much better than that.

Here's a list of some newsgroups to which you can post ads. At the time of writing, most of these groups are identified as commercial or non-moderated, and open to posts of that nature.

    - news:alt.free.money
    - news:alt.make.money
    - news:alt.make.money.fast
    - news:alt.makemoney
    - news:alt.make.fast.cash
    - news:alt.make.money.fast
    - news:alt.biz
    - news:alt.ads
    - news:alt.bbs.ads
    - news:alt.commerce.misc-ads
    - news:alt.business.ads
    - news:alt.market.misc
    - news:alt.marketing
    - news:alt.www.marketing
    - news:alt.www.marketing.adverts
    - news:alt.business
    - news:alt.business.consulting
    - news:alt.business.home
    - news:alt.business.home.pc
    - news:alt.business.misc
    - news:alt.business.misc.entrepreneurs
    - news:alt.business.multi-level.com
    - news:alt.business.multi-level.exceltel
    - news:alt.business.multi-level
    - news:alt.business.multilevel
    - news:alt.business.seminars
    - news:alt.business.services
    - news:alt.education.business
    - news:alt.entrepreneurs
    - news:alt.internet.commerce
    - news:market.internet.free
    - news:misc.business.marketing
    - news:misc.business
    - news:misc.entrepreneurs
    - news:misc.entrepeneurs
    - news:alt.biz.misc
    - news:alt.business.home.pcalt
    - news:alt.business.home.pcmisc
    - news:alt.business.home.pcmisc.entrepreneurs
    - news:alt.business.marketplace
    - news:biz.comp.misc
    - news:biz.general.biz.newgroup
    - news:biz.newgroup
    - news:biz.next.newprod
When posting to commercial (or non-moderated) newsgroups, your signature file should not be limited to your identification. It should also include descriptive information about your product, its special benefits, special offers, free offers (like a free catalog, a free report, or a free newsletter subscription), your physical address, any cross-promotion offers, and so on.