When it comes to Usenet newsgroups, everyone tells you what you can’t do, but there are very few suggestions offered for what you can do. The reason for this is pretty simple. Usenet is one of the last remaining bastions of the “old school” Internet users, and netiquette is more important here than it might be in other places. There are ways to harvest traffic from newsgroups, though.
One of the best ways to draw traffic from a discussion group is to solicit feedback from other subscribers, or inviting them to participate in beta testing of a new product or service. We’ve seen web sites receive thousands of hits from newsgroup readers attempting to sign up for a beta test of new software, for example . The important thing is to make sure that your product or service is really relevant, and really likely to be of interest to the other readers of the newsgroup.
If you’re going to use a beta test to generate interest in a new product or service, start your campaign by describing the product or service you have in mind, or have developed, and let it be known that you’ll be looking for beta testers. You’ll probably get several replies in the newsgroup or by email. Reply to all of them by giving the URL for a sign-up form on your site. It’s okay to be selective in picking beta testers, but it’s considered polite to let everyone who inquires know whether they’ve been selected.