Creative Approach to Reach Readers

Michael Knost started an online magazine called Noctem Aternus. He intends to distribute it free to encourage and introduce more people into reading fiction. This is a commendable effort and a fascinating idea.

Traditionally the magazine model uses advertisements to pay for the publication and circulation costs and uses the sales revenue to pay for the content and other operating expenses. By moving the publication and circulation to digital means then one could theoretically remove the sale requirement from the zine.

The main problem then becomes how does one attract advertisers and how would a publisher track their circulation number.

In Michael Knost's case he intends to use an e-mail distribution model through Yahoo groups. This has many problems since the public trend is to move away from e-mail newsletters and the problem that Yahoo groups has a terrible time with spammers.

Wouldn't it be wiser to use an RSS model for distribution? This is where the public is trending and can still be easily tracked for circulation purposes.

Would it be better to offer two choices to the audience one add supported free for the user model and one user supported add free zine? This is the popular solution being touted but I don't know if that really works either. The compromise model divides the publishers circulation numbers because the advertiser is concerned only the issues with their add in and would not count the others that are paid for. Could that make the circulation numbers too low for an advertiser to even cut a check?

On the plus side because it is free this will make it easier for consumers to try out the zine and see if they actually like it. So what do you think? Would you subscribe to an e-mail distribution through yahoo groups?