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(BY JOHN SUMSER, PRESIDENT, IBN): The World Wide Web is where 'surfers' spend endless time in search of the ultimate information wave, right? Maybe not.
In most current media forms, value is directly proportional to the time that a user spends with it. So, in it's early incarnations, the Web featured bigger and better databases, increasingly complex and varied offerings. If you had the time, endless hours of intellectual nuance were free for the asking. All you needed was a credit card, a phone line, a modem and computer. It was the "Endless Summer" of the Information Age.
A few pioneering services are building relationships with their customers by getting them off the Web in a hurry. Realizing that time is the most precious commodity, they use the Web as a gateway to value based information. They know that the day is coming when personalized information is the ticket for admission in the Web game. After all, can you actually imagine many people who want to spend their time searching and waiting?
The first examples come from our pioneering survey, the 1996 Electronic Recruiting Index (ERI). The ERI is a comprehensive look at the on-line Employment scene from the perspective of headhunters and placement firms. Among our Top 25 Electronic Recruiters were two examples of this new approach to the Web.
JobCenter has most of the elements of a traditional on-line job service: a database of job postings, related articles, and, services for recruiters. Their innovation is that they don't assume that their job-seeking customers will always return for more. They offer an email service that takes your resume, matches it against requirements and notifies you when there's an interesting match. JobCenter also offers a form based scheme for posting a resume or job listing to a variety Usenet newsgroups.
The Recruiters Online Networkis the world's largest association of recruiters, executive search firms, employment agencies, and employment professionals on the internet. Recruiters Online Network posts recruiters jobs to 700 job sites and newsletters. Search our resume database of quality candidates, find recruiters that do splits, search for jobs and more.
This approach is hardly limited to the employment world. The Discovery Channel is planning to offer a couple of similar services. Knapsack is a net scavenger that searches the Web for your interests and reports back by email. Discovery also offers an email notification robot that will let you know just before your favorite program is broadcast. They're using the Web as a means of overcoming the continuing cable / TV Guide deficit.
The grandfather of all of these services is the URL-minder. URL-minder is a robot that routinely watches web pages that interest you. When they change, it notifies you by email. Registering your first site requires visiting the website. After that, all additional websites can be registered by email. URL-minder tirelessly watches your favorite sites saving you the work of remembering and returning.
Reading the Web can be tiresome, frustrating and full of endless waiting. Even with significant modem speed improvements, it will be much the same. These four examples herald one of the really exciting possibilities of the new medium: direct and continuing relationships with customers based on the delivery of valuable information. These four businesses have figured out that they can't wait passively for 'surfers' to 'hit' their sites. They've decided to be proactive in the way that they develop their customer partnerships.
As Netscape 2.0 introduces formatting to email, the potential for exciting information relationships, started on the web but executed in email, is enormous. Though it's clearly not a universal, a new web design principle is emerging:
The best website is the one that gets you off the web the fastest.
You hardly notice the little ads at the bottom of your email.
All material on this site is © 1995, 1996 by IBN (The Internet Business Network), Mill Valley, CA 94941