The next chapter in the Chapters story


One should always be careful about what one says. One never knows who might be listening...

From: Rick Segal
To: Bylo Selhi
Subject: Howdy
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 14:56:47 -0400

I've meaning to send you a piece of mail for about month or so. As our company has grown, it is really helpful to check your Canadian literature to see what is going on. Several people forwarded the site link to me. I like it.

On the coupon stuff, I thought you might like some information on the coupon issues.

I actually set that whole thing up with the "hole" in mind. It seemed to me that people would send mail around to friends, etc, to check out all the coupons and, gee, if you had two accounts, you could get "free stuff", etc, etc. Basically, it worked. Lots and lots of email flying all over corporations about this good deal. The people buying more stuff and coming back was great.

We tracked this very carefully. We watched those "free" customers for repeats, for signing up in our Chapter One club, repeat business, etc. In short, not a bad gig and pretty much worked as good as any other marketing program I've got in the trick bag.

Until, of course, some college kids with way too much time on their hands trotted out some fairly good automatic programs to build 500 accounts each, pull coupons, and really try to abuse the system. When that started flying around, we decided to turn on the security stuff we had in place. 15,000 accounts, bye bye. I suspect Microsoft isn't all that happy either but nature of the "Free email" offer.

I used to live on 30 day free CompuServe accounts, almost a year, until they turned on security/audits.

We had always had one per customer, per order, per promo, but kept the security stuff off for reasons as I mentioned above.

Anyway, working on more deals as we want to give you stuff to update on your web pages! Think about signing up as an affiliate, you can at least make a few bucks on the ongoing battle for truth, justice, and book sales in Canada.

Best regards,


Rick Segal, President
Chapters OnLine Inc.

To: Rick Segal
From: Bylo Selhi
Subject: RE: Howdy
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 21:09

Hi Rick.

What a surprise! Looks like the campaign went even better than you expected. Never underestimate the resourcefulness of college students. Besides, you never know -- in a couple of years some of them might even be working for you!

Also your hunch about drawing repeat customers was a good one. Well at least it worked on me. And all those new customers won't hurt the IPO either, eh?

I'm not sure if you know, but I found a rather glaring "hole" on Heather's site (and hey, I haven't been a college student in many, many years.) They treat e-coupons as $10 gift certificates. As a result you can load up an account with multiple coupons and thus place rather large orders for free. In any case, I think they've plugged this one by now.

Please keep me apprised of new offers. I'll be glad to help spread the word as well as participate in the, er, "free" enterprise system.

Do you have any objection if I post your e-mail on my website?

Cheers ... Bylo

P.S. Re the affiliates program. As my website is a labour of love and I want it to stay completely independent of external influence, my policy is not to derive any remuneration from it. So unfortunately I must decline your offer.

From: Rick Segal
To: Bylo Selhi
Subject: RE: Howdy
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 22:02:57 -0400

You are free to post it. I know about that whole[sic] as well. Somebody else cracked the "email" gifts check sum and that is now all over the place.. ouch... Ah well, onward as they say. Hopefuly, when we are old and bouncing the grand kids on the knees, all this will be fun stuff to chat about.




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