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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

This new blog, and the reduced frequency my e-letter, results from a survey of the approximately 350 readers (as of last week) of the letter. The survey, conducted for free using the site, resulted in 38 visits and 31 survey responses.

How close could you get in the results? Thirteen readers said "keep it weekly" and 14 replied that once a month is enough. Two of the remaining 5 'others' said that the newsletter should be published once every two weeks, and one suggested the solution I am implementing -- publish the e-letter every other week, with the blog updated at least weekly.

When I decided to survey the newsletter's readers, I went through some hoops. Googling for survey software initially led me to expensive commercial products. Then I found some open-source software that looked like it could do the job, but had trouble loading it on the server. Afer seeking bids from software developers on the web, I decided to see if my New Delhi based data entry contractor could handle the job. He said "sure' and the open source (free survey software is now loaded and ready to go for future use.

But while all this was going on, I remembered zoomerang, which markets its services effectively by offering a high quality free service augmented by various additional resources (which cost money). Zoomerang restricts the free access for 10 days from the start of the survey, and you can't download the results on the free version. For a simple, non-commercial resource, however it is fine.

I can't comment on the open source option, which I haven't tested yet, but it appears to have all the essential functionality of the more expensive products.

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