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Jan 25

AppleUsers Spotlight

AppleUsers Spotlight

After much discussion in editorial meetings and based on feedback from Australian Apple User Groups leaders and readers of the AppleUsers Spotlight, we have decided to make some major changes to the way the Spotlight is published and distributed.

These changes will commence as of Issue 6 aka the “February 2010” issue.

Publication Dates

In order to maintain the high quality of the publication you have all come to expect, without over burdening our unpaid, volunteer team, we have decided to publish the AppleUsers Spotlight every second month.

The planned schedule is to release the Spotlight during the Second Week of every Even-numbered Month (ie Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct & Dec)

By reducing the number of actual issues, we expect to have a better quality product and will be able to maintain the current page count (our original projections for this project were based on a mere 16 page publication and we have averaged around 40 pages per issue) and improving the included content… we have some exciting new contributors coming on board in 2010.

We have also left open the possibility of one or two Special Editions through out the year, in order to cover any of Apple’s Special Media Announcements and the like.

Expanded Distribution

To make the Spotlight a viable proposition, and we don’t mean from a financial point of view, but rather to justify the time and effort the team plows into producing each issue, we need to get the Spotlight out to a wider audience.

What has surprised us the most over this issue is the number of User Group Leaders who have been pushing us for this particular change ever since we release the first issue… and we are about to embrace this suggestion by opening access to the Spotlight to anyone with an internet connection.

(GMUG), the Geraldton Mac User Group, who have been hosting the Spotlight Archive have agreed for us to remove the password system and open the archive up to anyone who wants a copy of the Spotlight. [If traffic becomes too high for (GMUG) to cope with, we have a couple of other mirroring options in mind that we can easily implement]

We’ll post a story announcing each new issue to the AppleUsers.org website, just as we have been, but will include a link for readers to directly download the PDF issue of The Spotlight themselves

We still encourage Australian (and New Zealand) User Groups to advise their members when a new issue is released and/or to continue to post a copy of the latest issue directly to your website or mailing list and to help facilitate that we’ll continue to mention the release on our AppleUsers-Announce mailing list.

Promotion of User Groups

With the change to a bi-monthly release schedule, we feel that the MUG Event Listing won’t be a viable article to continue to run each issue and thus we’ll be dropping it as from the February issue [Thanks to everyone who provided details about their February meetings and we apologize for the fact that we won’t be using them]

However, there are still plenty of opportunities for Australian (and New Zealand) User Groups to obtain promotion within the Spotlight and with the expanded readership we expect to gain by opening our distribution channels, we feel it will be worth continuing to promote Apple Users Groups in The Spotlight.

First of all, we are continuing with the Disc of the Month project and User Groups that are involved in distributing the Discs to their members will be able to have their Group Name to listed each month, along with a hyperlink to your website (either main page, or direct to your DotM promo/catalogue page) – We’ll discuss the future of the DotM project in another posting… but don’t worry, it WILL continue!

Next, we have been using the Vendor Specials that the Apple User Group Bulletin publish each month as the basis of our own Discount Corner column and we’ll continue to do that (as well as looking at expanding it to include some exclusive offers for Spotlight readers), but the “licensing terms” for the AUGB Vendor Specials says that only members of Apple User Groups may take advantage of the deals, so we plan on publishing the general description of the offers in The Spotlight and then referring readers to their local Apple User Group to obtain the exact Coupon Code or special URL needed to take advantage of the offer. This provides User Groups with the opportunity to publish the codes in your own newsletter, on your website (in a password protected section) or to your mailing list.
[If your group leaders aren’t already receiving the Apple User Group Bulletin, you should subscribe immediately – it is normally a single email a month and ALL your Committee should read it each month]

We also plan to run a full page advertisement promoting ALL Australian Apple User Groups, based on the draft we compiled late 2009 for consideration for inclusion in another publication. This advertisement will be developed and published free of charge in each issue of the Spotlight. When a final draft of the advertisement is ready, a copy will be submitted to each User Group for their acceptance – Groups will have a choice of a) accepting to be listed in the ad as presented OR b) of declining to be included in the advert.

Finally, we will offering Australian and New Zealand User Groups the opportunity to have, Free of Charge, a single 1/3 Page (Vertical) display advertisement each year to promote a special event, presentation or meeting in The Spotlight. More details on this offer will be posted shortly in our revised Advertising Specifications document.

Moving Forward, Together

The team here at AppleUsers.org look forward to continuing to work with Australian Apple User Groups as we move forward with The Spotlight and believe the expanded distribution of The Spotlight will increase exposure of our new readers to the benefits that User Groups have to offer.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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