Carson Systems launches Amigo newsletter advertising

Almost two thousand subscribers watched the UK email newsletter advertising app Amigo launch today after the team of well known developers documented the seven month process on their blog Carson Systems, the company behind the file delivery tool DropSend and the developers’ resource site Vitamin, developed a loyal following as they blogged about Amigo’s development.

The end product is a simple but elegant web site to facilitate the sale of advertisements for email newsletters. Advertisers design and categorize their advertisements, set a price per click they are willing to pay, a campaign budget and time frame. Email newsletter publishers chose topics describing their newsletter and select ads available to them. They get a few lines of text to add as sponsor information to their email newsletters. Amigo takes 30% of the price per click.

Email marketing is not the prettiest thing in the world, and much of Web 2.0 is about moving beyond email for communication with constituents – but a person can’t live on kool aid alone and Amigo is an interesting development. While I try to get all my email newsletters through a tool like SocialMail so they end up as RSS feeds, obviously most people do not. Amigo doesn’t appear to offer RSS feeds, it doesn’t use tags and generally avoids most buzz words so familiar to readers of this blog; company co-founder Ryan Carson recently wrote a widely read piece titled Why I don’t use social software – primarily, he doesn’t believe it fills a real need. I know RSS and in many cases tags fill a very real need for me, but I’m someone comfortable with redirecting email to a feed so perhaps it’s no big deal.

The ads are provided in simple text format, with a URL from Amigo that redirects to the advertiser’s page. Newsletter publishers appear to copy and paste the text into their newsletters – it’s as simple as that. If the campaign budget is met or the relationship severed by the advertiser, the link stops redirecting from the newsletter and the links are no longer counted.

Advertisers and publishers can view their statistics in detail and aggregate in near real time and any relationship can be suspended easily. There’s a reputation system, though it only appears to apply to advertisers rating newsletter publishers right now. More than three negative ratings and you are removed from the system.

Site navigation is a little ways from ideal at launch and newsletter publishers aren’t able to select more than one subcategory in each major category so far. These sorts of things are likely to be worked out in time.

All in all, it’s a nice clean, simple system that was developed in a transparent way by some people who are active participants in the Web 2.0 community. There’s likely a real market for the application, as well.