I did a small experiment. Basically, I followed my own suggestion, here:
And everytime someone comes to my board, from an email subscription, I track it. That way I can know exactly how many people come from email. Is it useful for people?
Now. Evilness begins (please do not continue reading if you feel unconfortable about being evil)
- I changed the default subscription method, for all members, to "receive email" (yes, I overrode their preferences)
- I changed all the subscriptions to "email" (yes, I overrode existing user subscriptions)
In 7 days the forum sent a total of ..
.... 21,000 emails
.... and, 684 bounced
From the other 20,300, I should have gotten a bunch of return traffic, right ?
I got 19.
19 people clicked on the thread subscription to get to my forum
This makes whatsover absolutely no sense for me. I started making theories like "The members registered with an email they don't check", "They have been registered for so long their email address changed", "All of that is going to the spam folder", or "It is not being tracked"
Whatever it is, I got a serious problem. Either people don't use email anymore (in which case I might as well, disable email subscriptions altogether), or the mail cannot be delivered.
And now to the conclusion.
We should probably keep up with the times. 10 years ago, sending an email subscription was the thing to do, maybe today I should send them a tweet with the link to the updated thread, or a Facebook message, whatever. I really hope "subscribe with twitter" is the next killer option in XenForo.