The results of a recent reader survey sent to subscribers of this website’s Email News Update weren’t quite what I expected but they were gratifying, to say the least. As was the response rate.
For simplicity’s sake the survey targeted only those who have subscribed to the Update, about 38% of total readership. Fully 59% took the time to open the survey link and answer the few questions posed, which ranged from favorite subjects to whether the service was something they would pay for.
The key question, of course, was that last one. And those who answered yes, they would pay something to read Mexico News Daily, amounted to just 16% of respondents.
Dreams of an early retirement and long, languorous days on the beach were wiped away by a few thousand mouse clicks on the wrong answer.
However, the comments — 20 pages of them — were a delight to read.
The phrase “thank you” is repeated hundreds of times. “An excellent service,” “I love the paper” and “I really enjoy this news site” were among an incredible number of responses, 99% positive.
A few personal notes showed up too. (Nice to hear from you Pam, in Baja, and Don, in chilly Alberta!)
Many suggestions were also offered with respect to news coverage, and several questions were posed.
One reader would like to see more business and public policy stories, along with greater background on some of the issues. Others want more regional information, relevant to where they live.
This website’s modus operandi puts constraints on what we can do: the content is curated. If our sources — which for the most part are Mexican news outlets I consider reliable — don’t carry a story then neither do we.
From the start, some background to every story has been considered important. Most Mexican papers offer little context or history in their stories; presumably they think their readers are fully aware of such details. In my experience, they are not. But deep background stories are a bit beyond the limits of endurance at this stage. The days aren’t long enough.
One respondent questioned the objectivity of the stories. All I can say is they are written objectively but the source material is always questionable. The best we can do is consult two or more sources and if everyone is saying the same thing then perhaps the story is good to go.
This brings up the problem of curating regional news. The smaller, regional papers are more suspect. Many reporters rely on their newspaper employers for a basic income and supplement it with paid copy.
Or the paper simply rents itself out. One publisher leafed through a 24-page issue of his paper with me a few years ago indicating which stories were paid, and he pointed to most of them.
Some survey respondents had questions or comments of a more technical nature.
“The menu keeps popping up on my (iPad) screen . . . most annoying!” This does need fixing, but if you can drag your finger without any sideways movement when scrolling, the menu shouldn’t open.
“I receive my News Update very late in the day,” and links often appear on Tomzap beforehand, were comments made by at least two people. I haven’t checked recently but I believe it takes up to an hour for all the emails to leave the server (in the United States). Sometimes the update doesn’t go out till 7:00pm Central, so it can mean a late arrival for some readers. An earlier mailing time is an (ongoing) objective.
But by far the most comments — after all the thank you messages — were in respect to a subscription fee. While just 16% said yes to such a charge, many more expressed interest in paying something, but didn’t wish to commit.
And a whole lot of suggestions were offered, all of which will be considered, if they haven’t already.
An advertising-supported site has been part of the business plan from the beginning, but if you multiply 10,000 readers by 30 bucks, drinking margaritas on the beach all day begins to seem a little more within reach.
Seriously, though, large quantities of tequila and many hours of beachtime are not really all that attractive. I prefer writing stories and website marketing, to tell the truth, and that will continue to be the agenda.
I also recognize that there really isn’t enough content at present to justify a charge, a point made by several readers.
So there won’t be one, for now at least, but there will be greater emphasis on ad sales and for that we need more readers. If you enjoy Mexico News Daily and know others who might enjoy it too, please forward the Email News Update or pass along the link to the site.
If you would like to advertise, banner ads can be purchased through BuySellAds.
To those who answered the survey, and read Mexico News Daily, my heartfelt thanks.
The writer is publisher of Mexico News Daily.