February 2017 witnessed the inception of a special success story, one that has now led us to a fifth anniversary celebration. After a meticulous lead-up phase, dotmagazine appeared for the first time as an email newsletter with an accompanying online magazine. After five years, more than 1,100 international subscribers and 75,000 annual website visitors are now reading the association’s publication. “These numbers leave us in no doubt that our members appreciate dotmagazine as a platform and that we have created an attractive offer that is gladly availed of,” says Lars Steffen, Director eco International and Project Manager Domains. In this interview, he provides more insights about the platform’s development and the initial hurdles that had to be overcome, and gives us a look behind the scenes.
Mr. Steffen, what triggered the inspiration for dotmagazine?
One of eco’s major goals is to have our members interconnect with each other, enabling them to benefit from our network’s broad base of knowledge and expertise. In 2017, a core part of member activities entailed face-to-face activities and large events – most of which were held in Germany. We wanted to go a step further to deliver a platform for our international members to share their experiences, best practices and knowledge with each other and the rest of the Internet industry.
Why have you opted for an English-language association publication?
With an online magazine in English, we not only reach out to members who aren’t German native speakers, but also to international companies that are active on the German market.
What were the biggest hurdles at the outset?
To begin with, the dotmagazine team had to spend a lot of time publicizing the new offer, attracting contributions from the membership, and actively participating in the creation of the wide range of stories and case studies. Today, there is a lively exchange with colleagues from eco, DE-CIX and especially with the association’s competence groups. This is where most of the contacts with new authors are made. More and more contributions are also emerging from the many international projects managed at eco, such as Gaia-X and Service-Meister.
What does the typical production process for an issue look like?
We always try to set up the editorial calendar for the following year in good time and, for the individual issues, to publish the calls for contributions with the respective core topics at regular intervals. Our colleagues from the Members Service and the various eco initiatives bring the attention of members and partners to relevant topic calls, and often also specifically address companies and contributors. As a standard, each issue has two publication dates on which five to eight new articles are published and highlighted in the dotmagazine newsletter. The publication always takes place on a Wednesday at midday. From time to time, case studies or content that have already been published by eco in German are translated into English and, if necessary, adapted to the needs of an international readership.
The dotmagazine team also regularly interviews colleagues, members and partners. All content is carefully proofread by the editorial team, which includes Judith Ellis, Eilín Geraghty, Cáit Kinsella and Ladan Raeisian; where relevant, the content is amended to align with the Guidelines for Contributors. Any suggested alterations and corrections are cleared with the respective authors. In parallel, the current issue is built using NEOS as CMS and the newsletters are created and distributed via Xcampaign.
The fact that you’re publishing the 50th issue speaks for itself – what is the feedback like?
When dotmagazine was initially launched in 2017, it wasn’t always a matter of course to instantly have enough contributions for the next issue, as the offer was still new and thus not very well known. Today, we are in the fortunate regular position of having so many contributions available that an issue is published over three newsletters instead of the normally scheduled two. We are naturally very grateful to the eco members and partners for so actively using dotmagazine in having their contributions published.
In this context, at the time of dotmagazine’s anniversary, we are not only publishing the 50th issue, but also exceeding the mark of more than 500 published articles. We can proudly acknowledge that our members value dotmagazine as a platform and that we have created an attractive offer that is gladly accepted.
What’s on the cards for the future?
As Europe’s largest Internet industry association, eco is committed to promoting more women in the tech industry. From the very beginning, it was important to us to offer female authors and experts a forum. We would like to continue this so that the expertise and perspectives of women in the Internet industry are heard even more often, in order to address the current and future challenges of the industry in the best possible manner.