The state of Automation and Automation.com, plus Subscription Referral Contest
When I look around the industry, I see a lot of positive things happening. Business for most automation suppliers is generally growing and companies are thriving. Systems integrators have more work than they can handle and it's difficult to find people to fulfill the large backlogs. Life is good for most.
But there are challenges. With today's global market, companies are running into stiff competition. To remain competitive, companies are being forced to re-evaluate their organizations, systems and processes. The need to increase efficiencies, reduce costs, optimize, and improve visibility is greater than ever before. The technology is available to achieve results, but is the desire there? Have some companies become complacent, or are they just too understaffed to respond quickly to changing and growing markets?
The overseas automation markets are growing fast. New companies are popping up left and right, and they are aggressive for market share and financial stability. I fear that many U.S.-based companies take these things for granted. And why not? It's easy to sit back and relax. Unfortunately, those companies who don't respond to changing markets will end up suffering severe consequences. I urge you all to review your systems and processes and find ways to improve them.
As a small company, we are always looking for ways to improve. This is the time of year we go through the process of reviewing our web site statistics and subscriber demographics. I'm pleased to see a drastic increase in web site usage. Today, it's nearly double what it was one year ago. In the last few months, we are averaging between 450,000 and 500,000 visitor sessions a month. That tells me that automation professionals are hungry for information, particularly in other parts of the world. Half of our audience is in North America, and the other half is scattered around the rest of the world. According to third-party traffic rankings, Automation.com has become the most frequented automation-related site on the Web. We are thrilled with that, but we will not become complacent.
We work very hard to bring you the latest and most comprehensive automation information. In the last year, we nearly doubled our staff. Many of you may remember when it was just me operating our web site. Today, Automation.com has a staff of five - including myself, a dedicated content manager, an editor, and two account managers.
We also made a number of changes to the site. The most important was the launch of our product portals and corresponding topical e-newsletters earlier this year. In any one month, we publish hundreds of site pages of new content and portals are a great way to organize the content by topic. In 2008, I hope to add industry portals, where we can also organize content by industry segment; e.g., food/beverage, pharmaceutical, gas/oil, semiconductor, metals, etc.
While our site traffic grew by nearly 100%, our subscription list grew by only 20%. I'd like to increase our list significantly and I'm asking for your help. Of course, there is something in it for you too. For every colleague that you refer to us before November 30, and if they subscribe, your name will be added to a drawing for a $250.00 gift certificate to Amazon.com or Best Buy. The more people you refer the better your chances. Not only will you have a chance to win, but so will each and every colleague you refer. So go ahead and refer your co-workers, systems integrators, suppliers, etc., but please refer only automation professionals (we will check each entry before awarding the certificate).
Because we don't want to spam your colleagues, here's how it will work. You submit the Referral Form with up to 5 referred names on each form. If you have more than 5 colleagues to refer, please submit the form a second time. They will not automatically be subscribed to our list. Instead, we will send each colleague a subscription invitation with your name as the reference, then they can make the decision to subscribe. Note that each colleague must confrm their subscription for your name to be entered in the drawing.
Refer your colleagues now! Thanks in advance for any referrals.
As always, we appreciate your feedback on what we are doing. If you have any suggestions, comments or thoughts, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Enjoy the rest of this Automation Weekly!
Vice President, Publisher