Keyboard Builders' Digest
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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Behind the Scenes of Issue 75

Domain renewal, new promo codes and the dangerous ground of sponsorship offers, new supporters and vendors. Newsletter test and performance, status of developments & acquisitions.

dovenyi
Published April 25, 2022

Hey y'all,

Lots of topics to discuss so let's jump right in. Skip this intro for newcomers if you are a seasoned kbd.news reader.

Welcome back for another edition of Keyboard Builders' Digest (this time Issue #75), a weekly roundup of this DIY keyboard focused newsletter and blog from Tamas Dovenyi – that's me. If you are new to this, you can read how this started out and what this is all about nowadays. If you like what you see, you can subscribe to the newsletter (free) and donate some bucks to keep this otherwise free and ad-free project alive.

–-

Anniversary almost every week...

Last time the first donation, this time the domain.

About a year ago, the Digest got this fancy domain name (kbd.news) – up until then it was a mere subdirectory (golem.hu/magazine) of my other site.

In retrospect, this was a funny story. Namely, I had this domain already in the shopping cart (kept open in a browser tab probably for weeks...) while I contemplated if I need it at all, when out of nowhere Chad PMed me suggesting he'd buy me a proper domain: and he came up with exactly the same kbd.news idea. :D

To be honest, I still wasn't sure about it and if I wanted all the trouble with the migration (I wanted to change hosting and CDN provider too) but I thought two people coming up with the same idea independently was a good sign.

So I bought kbd.news and Chad was kind enough to not just cover the first year's fee but also to transfer the first renewal fee in advance. (Thanks again!)

And this week I received the notification that the first year passed. (Domain renewed now.)

Promo codes and the dangerous ground of sponsorship offers

Out of nowhere, multiple well-known manufacturers contacted me for cooperation last week.

I was a little confused first because I usually send out a ton of emails to vendors (especially these days when I'm updating the vendor database and also try to standardize the discount codes) and I wasn't sure if these inquiries were replies to one of my emails.

But no. The first one was a genuine inquiry initiated by a large manufacturing company's marketing department praising kbd.news and its role in the DIY community. :D

Unfortunately, I had to respectfully turn down the original offer because I want to keep my editorial freedom and also keep kbd.news ad-free.

Anyway, as a follow-up, I contacted some PCB manufacturers and got two discount codes for you. (Why didn't I think about PCB manus earlier?) Hopefully more discounts to come.

  • PCBway: code "KBDNEWS" is available now (redeem $5, once redeemed, it should be used in 3 months).
  • JLCPCB: – $2 off for PCBs.

Honestly, I have no idea how valuable these discounts are with all the other coupons offered by these companies.

In addition, I'm really not that familiar with the speed, quality, service of different manufacturers.

I'm just saying that if you'd order something from these specific ones anyway, feel free to try these codes.

Also, if you think these kind of discounts are useful for you, feel free to suggest me manufacturers who you'd like to see in this list.

(More promo codes below.)

New supporter

A mysterious donor who wants to stay anonymous donated on behalf of Clickety Split – Thanks!

Vendors

A new shop in Prague: Qweebs.com. Owner and fellow keyboard enthusiast Robin offered a 5% discount for you using the KBDNEWS coupon code (first purchase, over €60).

Also, DogeMods, Feng Studio, ClickClack.io and PLIP added to the database.

Newsletter performance

Or how passing the 2,000 mark altered my view of unsubscribes.

Now that the number of subscribers exceeds the magical 2,000, I gained access to some new MailChimp stats.

For those who are not familiar with this: MailChimp compares your newsletter performance to that of "peers". Up until recently, this group comprised of newsletters in the "hobby" industry with 0-2,000 subscribers. And passing the threshold means the KBD.newsletter now is compared to ones with subscribers in the range of 2,000-10,000. This is a different comparison.

So what's the difference in the indicators?

The industry average open rate of the below-2K newsletters was 35.1% while it's 29.9% in the 2K+ range. (It's about 50% for kbd.news.)

Click rate is 6.7% vs 4.8% for below and above 2K, respectively (and 20-25% for kbd.news these days).

How significant these differences of 5% and 2% are? Honestly, I don't know.

What I know though is that we are talking about the paid range now. Runners of these newsletters pay regularly for the service, and they do this each month proportionally to the number of their subscribers.

And this is what really bugs me.

According to the numbers above, only 3 in 10 subscribers open those newsletters on average (vs 5 in 10 kbd.news subscribers).

The point is: we actually pay unnecessarily for the inactive 50-70% of users.

Therefore, a few weeks ago, seeing people unsubscribing was a bad feeling. Now I'm grateful to them for keeping the database clean.

Developments

There's a lot of work going on in the background.

I'm actively testing buttondown, an alternative newsletter provider. It's cheaper, but what I really like about it is the anti-WYSIWYG, fully markdown-based editing – hopefully making it possible to generate the whole newsletter from the database with minimal manual tinkering.

I'm already sending out two newsletters today: one with MailChimp to the "old" subscribers and another one (same content) with this new provider as a test.

I'd like to see the whole workflow with multiple newsletters before I fully abandon MailChimp.

With the new environment, creating the first issue was a massive PITA mainly because of the styling and how CSS is handled, but I hope it will be very straightforward from now on.

Acquisitions

My Datalux space saver arrived and I realized it isn't an original Datalux. My bad. The seller put both Datalux and TeleVideo into the title of the listing but no reference to Datalux on the box or the board itself.

So apparently a rebranded one. I checked the company (TeleVideo) and they were active from 1991 to 1997 so the keyboard is still quite old.

And it's probably the same as the original Datalux because it features all the inexplicable details. :D

All in all, I don't feel myself scammed and it was pretty cheap anyway. And it's really small, strangely, it's even narrower than my custom monoblock split. :O

On the other hand, I have no info about my other boards on the way.. from Kyiv... I was VERY generous with this second purchase as a sign of my support of the Ukrainian cause but not a single update in the tracking info has been made in 3 weeks – from a neighboring country. Well, that makes sense in a very recently besieged city, but I was told by the seller that shipping works in order.

–-

That's all for today folks.

Feel free to comment in this issue's r/mk thread, and as always: keep learning and building.

Cheers, Tamás

Published on Mon 25th Apr 2022. Featured in KBD #75.


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