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Telecommuting Review

An important message about TELECOMMUTING REVIEW from Gil Gordon:

TELECOMMUTING REVIEW has been, as it said on the front page of each issue, "THE Authoritative Source of Telecommuting Information and Analysis Since 1984" - October 1984 to be exact. I'm pleased with the record of having published 175 issues since then. That's how many monthly deadlines have passed since October 1984. (Actually, there were 176 deadlines, but the October and November issues for 1997 were combined into one.)

In early 1999 I sent out a survey to a sample of TR subscribers to gather opinions about the pros and cons of moving the newsletter onto the Web, in various formats. The response was generally positive, though it was far from clear that current subscribers would be willing to continue their paid subscriptions for an online newsletter.

As I noted in the survey, there are several compelling advantages of a Web-based newsletter, e.g., faster publication times, ability to embed hyperlinks into the text of articles, and more variety in format and multimedia use. These benefits - plus the ability to reduce my production (primarily printing and mailing) costs - were motivating me to make the change onto the Web.

I spent most of the spring of 1999 trying to make this decision, and have been torn between the difficulty of letting go of TR after more than 14 years, and the financial realities of continuing. Also, I'll admit that those 175 monthly deadlines have begun to take their toll, and I do not find it appealing to continue facing the deadline of producing 16 pages of newsletter content each month.

When I started the newsletter there was no such thing as the Internet or the World Wide Web, and a monthly printed newsletter was THE way to disseminate this kind of information. Things have changed - dramatically - and the concept (and the economics) of a small-run, niche newsletter like TR must be questioned.

In addition, each month I was faced with the dilemma of whether to include a particular news item, commentary, or resource in the newsletter or in one of the twice-monthly updates to this Web site - a decision I never faced until I started the site in May 1995. The fact that I had this choice is confusing to me and to TR readers and site visitors.

The time came to resolve all this in favor of the Web. A print newsletter is convenient, familiar, and doesn't require (and gives you a break from) sitting at the PC to read it. As compelling as those benefits are, it is even more compelling to me to face the economic realities, the monthly deadline imperative, and the clumsiness of my having to type out long URL's for the printed newsletter which subscribers must then retype to view a site referenced in a TR article. I carefully considered all the alternatives - reducing the newsletter length, accepting advertising to improve the economics, charging for the existing TR as an online product, and others - and each had at least as many drawbacks as the current situation.

Effective June 1, 1999, therefore, I changed this section of my site. Twice a month, when we do the regular site-wide updates on the 10th and 25th, I add new material here that is consistent with what subscribers came to expect from TR in print - primarily the analysis, commentary, and occasional guest features. The product and service announcements, new books, conference listings, and other news items will be placed in other appropriate sections of the site. There is no charge for TR on the site, and of course, there's no charge for access to any other portion of my site.

Finally, in response to numerous requests for individual articles from back issues, or collections of articles on various themes, I'm working now to make selected articles and collections available for purchase. When these are available they will be announced on this site.

[For a quick summary of general telecommuting/telework news items and additions to this site, visit the "What's New" page.]

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