October 1998

October 2 – First Company Party

ONElist was now up to 4 people and we were growing like crazy. We were about to pass 500,000 users. It was time for a party. Or at least a get together in a bar. We gathered at Sneakers Bar and Grill, a local eatery in San Carlos, CA. This was the same place that Carisa, my brother and I came up with the names Commulist and Socialist, almost a year earlier. You do remember that part of the story, don’t you. Hello? Anyone there? Oh well. I’m only writing this for my own self-amusement anyways. Hey look, a butterfly.

Anyways, the gathering was loads of fun. Kate, her husband Rob, Scott, Ethan, Carisa and I attended. ONElist was starting to really feel like a start-up, a real company.

October 3 – User Email

From: PBBS90210
Date: Sat, 3 Oct 1998 13:12:19 EDT
To: admin@onelist.com
Subject: Great Experience

I’ve been calling BBS’s for years. This is a great idea and this system works. I just hope that yahoo or the others don’t get a hold of what you’ve accomplished here. This is only the beginning. If you add free e-mail, and www search this would be awesome.

Thanks for letting me share my experience with you. I’ve encountered no problems and its very easy to use. It like a BBS in some respect, I simply come here and check out the mail on the list. How about adding flowers and e-mail stuff as well.

I like it. Oh, how about a home page too. Yep, this is very good. I see a lot of potential.

October 9 – OneListAddicts List Created

Every night, a program automatically generated a page listing all the new lists created the previous day. I scanned it quite often, as it was very fascinating to see how people were using the system. When I saw this group, I had to forward it to the rest of the gang.

OneListAddicts [English] [For People Over 21]

This list is for people who can’t get enough of scavenging through OneList searching for that perfect mailing list to join. We then end up subbed to way too many, and some we don’t even remember signing up for : ) Come join the talk all about OneList Lists!!!

October 22 – Biz Update

From: Mark Fletcher
Date: Thu Oct 22, 1998 6:58pm
Subject: Biz update

howdy,

i figured i’d update you on what’s been going on on the business side of onelist. scott already knows this stuff, but i wanted to make sure the rest of the team is kept up to date.

i will most likely be meeting with someone from excite tomorrow afternoon. they approached us last week about a link exchange. they’re putting together a resource page for their new communities service, and want to link to us. great! i responded with an offer to give them access to our database of lists. it would give them unique content in an area that they don’t currently cover(mailing lists), and it’d give us a bunch of exposure. A win win if you will(no paradigm shift jokes please!). i won’t ask for any money or anything, just a link to us. i would be mucho excited(no pun intended) if they went for it. it would really increase our traffic(can we handle it?).

monday evening, scott and i will be meeting with derek, who represents invest link, a vc firm. this will be a second meeting for us.

tuesday(if our schedules don’t conflict), i will be meeting with someone from xoom (http://www.xoom.com). they approached us because they are interested in offering mailing list services to their users(they’re a free web page place). i’ve been trying to meet with this guy for the past three weeks. our schedules never match. it’s almost comic.

i haven’t heard anything from linkexchange since monday. i’ve talked with them a couple of times, as they were interested in buying us. the last message i got from ali was that he thought we weren’t interested in selling. I sent a message back to him that said that we were definitely interested, and that we’d either be getting vc funding or selling ourselves within the next couple of months. so we’ll see.

i just ordered two more machines to add to our network. one will be a dedicated mail server(there are already 4 others). the other machine will be a replacement for our web server. our web server is the original onelist machine. it’s a 166mhz pentium with a bunch of stuff on it we no longer need. the new machine is a 266mhz pII. faster, and it will cost less money.

we seem to be running close to full capacity on everything, including the database. we’ll be working on some things to ease the load on the database. our web traffic continues to increase, and the other day we did our first 10,000 new user day.

thanks,

mark

October 25 – Status Report

From: ONElist Tech Support
Date: Sun Oct 25, 1998 8:47pm
Subject: Status Report

Status Report for ONElist.com

Thank you for using ONElist. We continue to improve the service, based on the many suggestions from our users. Over the past month, we’ve been able to add several new features, including:

  • Email Commands
    We’ve added several email commands for subscribing, unsubscribing, and switching between normal and digest subscriptions. For more information about these commands, please visit the List Owner’s Manual in the Help Center.
  • Easier Registration and Confirmation
    We’ve made registering with ONElist easier. And we’ve added a second way to confirm your account. Included with the confirmation email is a URL that you can go to to confirm your account.
  • Post Message
    The List Center now includes the ability to post messages to a list directly from the ONElist web site.
  • Improved Subscriber List Page
    We’ve improved the subscriber list page, and you can now list subscribers sorted either by email address or by subscription date.
  • Improved Message Moderation
    For moderated lists, there is now the option to edit a message before approving it for the list.
  • User Profile Editing
    You can now edit your user profile, including your name and email alias, through the User Center screen.
  • Improved Help Center
    We’ve added two new sections to the help center. We’ve added a section for lists that are dedicated to helping list owners. We’ve also added a List Owner’s Manual.
  • No Ads Option
    We now offer the ability to remove advertising on lists. Please see http://www.onelist.com/noads.html for more information.

In addition, we’ve been testing a User Profiles function that will allow people to view the profiles of the other subscribers on the list. Based on user feedback, we have temporarily removed that function until we can add an option for list owners to disable it on a list-by-list basis.

We are continuing to add new features and improve the ONElist system. Our goal is to make ONElist the best possible mailing list system. To do that we need your feedback. How can we make it better? How can we make it easier to use? What features are missing?

Please email your comments to comments@onelist.com

Thanks!

The ONElist Team

October 26 – First Meeting With Xoom

At this point, talks with Link Exchange had ended. Next up was Xoom. Xoom was a web site that consisted of a collection of services, mainly home page hosting. The interesting thing about Xoom is that in reality they were a direct marketing company. Ok, maybe it isn’t interesting, but it explains why they were interested in ONElist. Let me explain.

Xoom had all these services, but in order to use them, you had to register. You filled out a form with your email address and answered some questions about what your interests were. By doing this, you agreed to allow Xoom to send you emails with product offers. Xoom would make their money with sales from these offers. So, the more services that Xoom offered, the more people would sign up, which meant more people would see the direct mail emails, which would lead to greater sales for Xoom.

With their direct market strategy, ONElist was a clear fit with their other services. They would use ONElist as a way to get more people to see their offers.

They were on track to IPO in December, and they wanted to acquire us. I drove up to downtown San Francisco and demoed the system to Russell Hyzan, one of their founders. They were interested, and wanted to run a test with us.

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