Thursday, February 28, 2002

Webmaster John sent me this great email, which he introduces eloquently, "Check out this weirdly grating and resentful mass email from Delphi. They apparently wrote it in such a white heat of blind fury that they forgot to use any line breaks." There's a certain kind of frenetic, forced historical retrospective in this message that's almost alluring...and the wandering Larry King story is nice, too.

------ Forwarded Message
From: DelphiForums Member Service
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 20:25:03 -0800
Subject: URGENT Announcement Regarding The Future of Delphi

Dear Delphi Member, We can no longer continue to operate Delphi Forums using an advertiser-supported model. We are asking for your help to keep Delphi Forums alive. Please read this letter carefully and entirely. Delphi Forums is the Internet's first and oldest Internet community. Yet after 17 years we are at a crossroad. Advertising on the Internet has not been a windfall for anyone. You know it, and we know it. More importantly you have proven it by ignoring almost all Delphi Forums advertising efforts. Internet advertising is interruptive and distracting yet, for an Internet communication and content company, it has been the traditional means of generating revenue,regardless of how inappropriate or counterintuitive it is. If you walked into the grocery store, in a hurry to purchase milk, bread, and eggs, and a stock boy grabbed you by the arm and kept distracting you from your list, instead trying to sell you fertilizer, you'd be furious. You would eventually quit coming to the store, ignore the help, or whack the stock boy. Advertising on a community site like Delphi Forums shares some of the same distracting elements as the example above. Delphi Forums is like your grocery store; what do you want? Delphi Forums represents the finest free communications technology on the web. Outside of AOL, we may be the only technology capable of hosting several hundred thousand discussion forums. We can no longer continue to rely on advertising. Our community does not click on the banner ads that we attract (not that we blame you). Our community does not open or respond to email marketing. Advertising on the Internet has evolved into a bad idea. So, what do we do? It requires enormous infrastructure to host our millions of members and hundred million plus page views per month. Greedy investors and an irrational public market paid for that good infrastructure for a long time. That well has gone dry. Access to knowledge and information, and the ability to communicate instantly with millions of other like-minded humans is a good idea. Delphi Forums IS a good idea. We recently introduced the finest information gathering, knowledge sharing, and communication service in the world. It's called DelphiPlus. We want and need you to pay for it. DelphiPlus is worth more than the price of a movie ticket per month (and DelphiPlus costs less than most movies.) If you're not convinced of that, then we're in the wrong business. If Delphi Plus is worth more, say a movie and popcorn, but you aren't willing to pay for it, then we're still in a bad business. For better or for worse, our decision is clear. We need your subscription to DelphiPlus and we are asking for it. We hope you decide to support our community - your community. With enough help Delphi Forums can be around for another 17 years. Now THAT'S worth the price of a Broadway show. Sincerely, Your Delphi Team