Only Influencers

The top thought leaders in email marketing share their insights and thoughts.

Bill McCloskey

Bill McCloskey

Bill McCloskey is the founder of Only Influencers, LLC and eDataSource, LLC

(Editors Note: I posted this on the OI lists back in 2012. I'm reposting for everyone else today).

It has become a bit of a tradition here at OI to once a year reflect on September 11th, 2001. At the time I was writing a weekly column called The Tuesday Stroll. This year, in commemoration of 9/11 I though I would reprint my September 11th and September 18th from 2001 columns which directly addressed the horror of that day. Each Tuesday I would visit a series of companies and write about my visit. On 9/11/2001 I was to meet BuzzMetrics for their first interview with the media. They were directly opposite the World Trade Center. Needless to say, that meeting never happened.

Below are the two columns I wrote. You might find them interesting as they mention companies that are no longer around and people who have since moved on to other challenges. I hope you find it interesting.

Bill's Tuesday Stroll September 11th, 2001:    

Bill's Tuesday Stroll:

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The two main areas of conversation last week were on Email Change of Address (ECOA) issues and the flack over the latest edgy Spirit Airlines email.


The difficulty of simply changing ones email address was brought home by Influencer Loren McDonald in his attempts to change from his Silverpop email address over to the new IBM email domain (Silverpop was acquired by IBM recently). Loren discusses his frustrations, along with some of the OI discussion on the topic, in his latest Mediapost Column “Mom, All I want to Change is My email Address”. 

As outlined in the article, he found that many of the brands he was subscribed to had no easy way for him to update his email address and as a result he was forced to unsubscribe and then resubscribe. Since there are companies out there like FreshAddress who charge brands for the service of providing updated email address information, why would the brands themselves not make it easier for their customers to make the change? 

Although figures on how many people change their email address each year are a bit outdated, it was estimated a few years ago that up to 30% of subscribers changed their email address over the course of a year. So WHY don’t brands include ECOA in their marketing design plans? And what happened to all the talk about building preference centers from a few years ago?

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Tagged in: ECOA Email Creative

After two jam packed issues of the Only Influencers Newsletter, Email Acquisition Special Edition Part 1, and Email Acquisition Special Editioin Part 2, I've decided to give the Influencers a break this week to discuss a little bit about Only Influencers itself: its history, its purpose, its resources, and the Only Influencers Community as a whole. You also might learn a bit about the history and growth of the email marketing industry! I hope you will take the time to read this to the end. It is a long one.

This article is prompted by Jeanne Jennings extremely generous article in Clickz: 2 Industry Organizations Every Email Marketer Should Join. As a result of that article, we gained a lot of new subscribers to the OI newsletter, so it seems appropriate to give new readers a bit of background into what they are getting each week.


11 years ago, back in 2003, I founded a company called eDataSource, the world's first email intelligence company. As a result of the data eDS was collecting, I was able to clearly demonstrate, for the first time, the power of email to drive large spikes in traffic, across the board, and from an independent, 3rd party perspective. To say my jaw dropped open is an understatement.

At the time, no one was talking about email. There were no columns, no conferences, no trade organizations dedicated to email marketing. I set out to change that.

The first thing I did was approach Mediapost, for whom I had been writing for years on Rich Media Advertising topics, about doing a dedicated weekly column on email. I came up with the name the Email Insider, because the data I was receiving was unknown at the time. Mediapost went on to use the name "insider" for other marketing verticles as well, based on the success of my Email Insider column.

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Can starting a company really be as easy as raising your hand?

It can. In fact that is exactly how I started The Rich Media Sig in 1999.

Anytime there is a sea change, there are tremendous opportunities for the entrepreneur to capitalize on that change, especially in the area of technology evangelism. And creating "community" around new ideas and technologies provides low cost opportunities for developing new businesses.

1n 1999 I had established myself as one of the evangelists in the "rich media" market that was just opening up. I had served as the VRML evangelist for SGI, a computer company that specialist is high end 3D computers and was looking to establish itself as the leader for 3D on the Web. How I got the SGI job is the subject for another article but it gave me the opportunity to participate first hand in the development of new internet advertising technologies and I was part of a group of companies including Intel, Macromedia, Unicast, and InterVu that actually coined the term "Rich Media" and evangelized these technologies to the advertising marketplace.

During my time at SGI, I had produced some of the earliest rich media "banners", including a 3D animated banner for Pepsi (created by Out of the Blue Design Ltd), commemorating the landing of the Mars Sojouner space craft. I wrote about these new rich media technologies in publications like Clickz and Mediapost and so my name was well known in this newly emerging industry. I was an "influencer". And I was able to use my position as an "influencer" to launch a successful business: The Rich Media SIG.

It started with a simple post to an online forum.

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This week I was able to sit down and speak with Bill Wagner, the CEO of StrongView to talk about the name change for StrongMail and what is coming up in the future. 

OI: Can you tell me why the name change and what does that signify for the company

Bill: StrongMail was a great name for a company that was founded 10 years ago as an email infrastructure provider, but we have evolved so much beyond that. As we announced the rebranding the question I'm getting more than "Why did you change the name?" is "why did it take you so long to change the name." And we tend to agree with that.

It is really a reflection of who we are. We have so far surpassed what StrongMail was when the company was founded that we felt the timing was right and frankly it fits our aspirations and the products that will coming out shortly.

OI: Can you Talk a little about those "aspirations".

The new name doesn't mean a new strategy. The new name is catching up with the strategy. StrongView is a reflection of not only the cross channel capabilities but more importantly the visual nature of our product. It has evolved quite a bit: there are a lot of visual elements to it. Visually depicting audience engagement across all the different possibilities of various test splits , the view of campaign performance as it is happening in real time, dashboards that really give you a view of what is happening in and across campaigns. To some extent it sets the immediate reflection of "view" within the product, but the more aspirational view has to do with what is going to be coming out that is not yet announced, so i can't give away too much detail.

But we did an announcement in February with Amazon where we are leveraging the Amazon data warehouse and our upcoming product release which will be coming out very shortly, will reflect that integration. We are going to be doing some really interesting things with data that nobody else is doing. At that point the "Visual" part of the name will be beyond "visual" aspect of the product,  per se, and more visual as a reflection of insight and knowledge born out of the data. So that is the aspirational aspect of what you will see shortly.

OI: Will clients notice any difference in they currently way they function with the product?

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Tagged in: Interviews StrongView