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Shift to digital has its advantages

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In the past year, the Daily Deal decided to stop printing on paper and switch entirely to electronic editions. Michael Lonier, VP-operations at The Deal LLC, oversaw the transformation.

MB: What has been the result of going fully electronic?

Lonier: It was a definite risk. People like the paper. But we've been able to switch to twice a day, which people love, and it's allowed us to grow the distribution to areas that couldn't get the editions before. This forced us also to approach things from an e-publication standpoint rather from a print one, which changes the design and the work flow.

MB: How is it designed now?

Lonier: It's based on the University of Missouri's EmPrint. It's more suited for Web reading. It has two columns instead of five. There are interactive links throughout. ... One thing that's a big change is the ability to track reader behavior better.

MB: How so?

Lonier: Before only a few weeks ago, we were sending it as an attachment, so we could track how the e-mail moved through the mailstream. But we couldn't really track the PDF exactly. Now we have constructed it in such a way that the PDF is forced inside a browser, and we just send out a link so people come to us. We can track all sorts of things: when they look at it, how they travel through it, how many printouts they're making of it—which is a violation, of course, that we contact them about.

MB: Are they surprised?

Lonier: It has created some surprise, but some of them weren't aware that this was happening within their firm. … Most of these folks are lawyers, and they don't want to violate the law.

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