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Friday, 14 September 2007

Free offers and gifts, along with unsolicited links to nasty sites, are part of the Web paradigm. But do they work? Le Monde, a leading French national daily, offers "le tee-shirt" and "le carnet" (lovely word) if you subscribe.

U.K. book chain Waterstones sends invitations to sign up for a special card you can use to buy books on the Web site. The value-add is a newsletter that is regular but too U.K.-centric to have much appeal.

American Express goes for the executive style: the chance to win free tickets to a sporting event, or a holiday on some island paradise.

Fairfax tells me I can win a computer if I make their Web page my home page. It already is, and you never win these comps, anyway, so what's the point.

Some outlets provide good information, however.

AbeBooks has a regular newsletter detailing a distinctive book event, such as the auction of a rare first edition.

Toyota's emails showcase new concept cars or events. The latest to arrive is about a series of events linking fitness with hybrid power technology. Toyota, releasing the Prius in 1997, was the first automaker to add a hybrid model to its standard line-up.

My favourite is from Peter at antiquebookshop.com.au which includes, most recently, a new catalogue listing hundreds of interesting, and not-so-interesting, items, mainly Australiana.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation offers good detail in their rather 90s-looking E-News. It's monthly, and has headings like this:

(((((((AUSTRALIAN HISTORY))))))))

...so ancient, in Internet terms. But the content is rather less heavily 'flacked' than most arrivals. PR types make good money spinning out these offerings, but you can see that, for me, it's the unusual and unique that get the nod.

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