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Things have been so hectic here at the World Headquarters of MarketingProfs that I completely skipped our birthday celebration last month. But here it is: With the start of 2007, MP celebrates its sixth birthday....


That's six years of publishing marketing know-how from professors and professionals who have contributed close to 2,000 articles on a wide range of evolving subjects–from email to Second Life and back to email again.
For those of you who are new to MarketingProfs (and there are a lot of you), here's a quick history: Publisher (and USC Prof) Allen Weiss launched MarketingProfs as a Web site in the spring of 2000. In the early days, he refreshed it more or less monthly. You can see some the early design (and articles on then-timely marketing topics like banner ads and Napster) here, via the Way Back Machine.
By the end of 2000, Allen was publishing a monthly newsletter with a handful of articles. The lead story of the first newsletter, in fact, was a piece about the Gore/Bush catfight over balloting in Florida's West Palm Beach County presidential vote. (Remember THAT?)
(What does marketing have to do with that political hot potato? You'd be surprised.)
Two years later, when I was casting about for my next move post-ClickZ, I dropped a note to Allen, who was still flying solo here. I volunteered to take the content piece off his hands, he didn't argue, and we became a team of two. In short order, we were joined by two very talented souls who remain cornerstones of the business today: Chief Revenue Officer Roy Young and now-Managing Editor Val Frazee.
The rest, as they say, is truly history. Well, our history, anyway. At the start of 2007, MarketingProfs has just over 230,000 subscribers, 14 employees, and more products than I have room to describe here.
It's hard to look back at the early articles and first incarnations of the Web site without sensing Allen's passion driving the site's development as it did. I know that was the reason I joined MarketingProfs four years ago; there's something exciting and addictive about a founder's enthusiasm. It makes for a creative and stimulating work environment.
Paradoxically, though... the very engine that drives the growth of a startup ultimately changes it. As more and more individuals take on responsibility for more and more pieces of the site and its related products, that passion gets dispersed a little, becomes a little less sharp. Rational process replaces winging it. Order replaces frenzy.
That's not to say that MP has lost its edge, or that creativity isn't still a huge factor driving its development. Far from it. In fact, we are knee-deep in several new efforts that we're psyched about unveiling later this year.
But in as much as looking back at history makes you realize where you are now, it's obvious that MarketingProfs as a company has matured. It's no longer a scrappy little startup fighting for legitimacy and operating on a shoestring.
Instead, we are an honest-to-goodness established business–true to our roots, but evolving our mission and the role we play in the marketing field worldwide.
So happy birthday to MarketingProfs–and thanks to all of you for making it the wizened six-year-old that it is today.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Ann Handley

Ann Handley is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author who speaks worldwide about how businesses can escape marketing mediocrity to ignite tangible results. IBM named her one of the 7 people shaping modern marketing. She is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a LinkedIn Influencer, a keynote speaker, mom, dog person, and writer.