We at TidBITS are sometimes queried, "Your list is great, but is there a version for Windows as well?" I've always told those people to sign up for fellow Seattlite Brian Livingston's Windows Secrets newsletter. Brian is the kind of incorruptible journalist with a deserved reputation for exhaustive research that Windows users need. He was long a columnist for InfoWorld and has written several mammoth Windows Secrets books, starting with Windows 95. He has grown his list's expertise through mergers with other mailing lists in the past, and he now has a staff of niche experts.
Windows Secrets is about to become bigger and better, with their merger with LangaList, which has specialized in tips and tricks for Windows users. The combined list will reach a non-overlapped total of over 272,000 subscribers. Fred Langa, a former Byte editor-in-chief, will be part of the combined publication - named Windows Secrets and LangaList during a brief transition - as well as Fred Dunn, a long-time PC World contributing editor.
Brian's list comes in two forms: free and paid. The paid list includes ebooks, tips, archive access, and in-depth Windows patch analysis. But here's Brian's clever rub: There's no minimum fee you have to pay for the newsletter. You can pay $1 or $1,000. By requiring at least a nominal payment for the extra features, the process makes people reflect on the value they're getting, especially at renewal. While the upgrades page for the list displays $15, $25, and $50 as radio-button choices, you can enter any other amount manually. Brian said that while he and his colleagues neither release their total revenue figures nor the number of subscribers who pay any amount for the additional content, he would comment that most paid subscribers pay between $10 and $100 per year.
We can only drool at the reach that Brian and Fred have - we reach not quite 20 percent of that audience, well above the ratio of Apple to Windows market share - but we don't begrudge them their success, nor the ever-greater number of Windows users gaining access to valuable information. Hey - obligatory joke at Windows users' expense - they need the help.