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    Back Issues, Weekly
    Week Ending: May 11, 1996
    May 11, 1996
    One of the hardest parts of an ongoing marketing effort is the requirement to maintain a constant environmental scan. Who is the competition? What are they doing? What's possible? Two of our favorite scanning periodicals are on the street again and as packed with juicy tidbits as ever.
  • In Internet on a Disk #16, Richard Seltzer lives up to his hard won reputation as the Net visionary with the best grasp of the details. Richard has been buried in the development of DEC's forthcoming AltaVista textbook for the past quarter and has returned to the scene with an unusually amazing selection of material. Among the many reviewed tools and resources are:
    • SubmitAll - a new site promotion tool
    • Asian Internet Marketing (AIM) - a marketing discussion group about using the net in Asia
    • Netcharger - lets you include voice call-back applications in your Web pages.
    • VDOPhone - lets you place a call to or receive a call from any other Internet user with this same software and transmit two-way color video and audio or audio only
    • DialWeb and A-Mail - A-mail lets you phone, FAX, page, or email to as many people as you like with a single phone call. DialWeb ets you change audio files on your Web site using your telephone.

  • Meanwhile, Kenneth Liss continues to deliver solid value with the current issue of Tradewinds. If you haven't looked it over, Tradewinds provides a perfect complement to Internet on a Disk. Liss scans all of the trade print journals looking for references to and stories about the use of the Web by particular industries. We particularly enjoyed the following item froma recent issue of BrandWeek:

    A battle is brewing over the use of bulk e-mail -- or electronic junk mail as some see it -- over the Internet, Rosner reports. While some direct mailers are discovering a profitable niche in mass e-mailing, she says, many in the Internet community are calling it an invasion of privacy that should be banned the way broadcast fax ads were in 1991. Among the companies defending the practice are Promo Enterprises of Philadelphia, net.net of Altoona, Pennsylvania and TNT Enterprises of Los Angeles. "As much as people don't care for the invasion of privacy," says TNT's Tim Trevathon, "you have to bring the product to the consumer. If it's not intrusive, it's not going to work."
    Liss works hard to present the outside world's view of the Web each month in Tradewinds

    May 10, 1996
    The one, very consistent thing about doing business on-line is that you will make mistakes. Probably big ones, probably often, sometimes without knowing until later.

    While looking at Scambusters, an infrequent newsletter about net ripoffs (you'll love their hype), we noticed their pointer to StoogeNet

    Subtitled: EVERYBODY SCREWS UP... LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES..."Success Comes Only to Those Who Dare to Fail", StoogeNet is a great place to spend a moment laughing at common mistakes made in online marketing.

    May 9, 1996
    Today's item is slightly more esoteric than usual. The Journal of Internet Banking and Commerce is a bi-monthly collection of articles about the very high end of Internet based trade and commerce. The journal includes a regular legal section and reports from Austrailia and the UK. Two articles we found useful were:

  • The Economics of Digital Documents
  • Open Systems, Closed Systems, and Killer Apps

    This is a great place to point the policy wonks in your customer base.

    May 8, 1996
    We do love Who's Marketing Online and are happy to see them struggling back to life after a publishing hiatus (marketing gurus have to write books to stay healthy and the projects always have a negative impact on their websites).

    If you haven't seen them before, check back through their archives. We've particularly enjoyed:

    In its current incarnation, Who's Marketing Online seems to be moving away from this type of in-depth reporting and towards funky short reviews.

    We were particularly charmed by today's Biz Tip of the Day (liable to be found at http://www.wmo.com/Tips/5796.html in the future). The author runs on about the ease of pulling daily content together after two days in a row of actually doing it. We can tell you that daily content is important but very hard work.

    It's easy to wander into the jungle of useless self-promotion. With its new approach, Who's Marketing Online runs this risk. We wish them the best.

    May 7, 1996
    We're very excited about an extra-ordinary new service called Rover. It's a tool to help you build promotional email lists. Although they are bound to have a difficult and noisy birth, Rover is going to change the landscape of the web in the immediate future.

    Here's how it works. Go to the Rover site; submit a list of URLs; and, return the emailed authorization form. Rover will search the web for email addresses contained on those pages and build a list for you. It can handle up to 10,000 email addresses at a time. It will save you hours and hours of research. When the service goes comercial in June or July, each returned address will cost you $.20. It's currently free of charge.

    The team at Rover has worked incredibly hard to ensure that safeguards are built in to the service. It meticulously adheres to the Robot Exclusion Standard (the way you tell robots and spiders to leave you alone). So, sites that don't wish to be indexed are safe from its scrutiny.

    We've been testing Rover for several days now. We're impressed with the service itself, the quality of customer support and the degree to which they've tried to engineer the system away from abusive email practices. The only lists that can be developed using Rover are built from the URLs of businesses and individuals who have made their websites public. The site includes an extensive FAQ and discussion groups on email ethics.

    We doubt that this will save them from becoming the center of a storm of controversy. While email and the web were bound to produce a service like this, Rover has the good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) fortune to be the first in the chute. We imagine that their profile will get very high very quickly.

    Given the vagaries of net routing and inconsistencies in site design, Rover does not return a 100% response to the lists you build for it. We found that we could reliably predict a response rate of 70% to 80% returns for the lists we submitted. The good news...it would have taken days to build those lists manually; the bad news...Rover currently doesn't tell you which items on your list worked and which didn't. So, make a copy of your queries before you submit them.

    Rover delivers output in three formats...a flat email list, a database list (email and urls) and a HTML report on their site. You need to compare the results you got with the results you wanted.

    The line between spam and solid promotional work can be tricky to navigate. You have to let people know about your services but you run the risk of having your server and services come under broad assault if you're not very careful. We're sure that Rover's services will be abused, but it's not because they haven't taken solid steps to try to manage the problem. Bulk promotional email is a necessary tool in the web marketer's kit and like any tool is subject to the whims of its user.

    All in all, Rover is an improvement in the web infrastructure. We're sure that the proliferation of similar services will egg the email software developers on to develop new mail handling features. Try it out.

    May 6, 1996
    Visit Doctor HTML to check your pages before you publish them and to validate all of the links after they've been sitting a while. Doctor HTML will perform the following tests on any URL you chose to give it:
    • Check the document for spelling errors
    • An analysis of the images
    • Test the document structure
    • Look at image command syntax
    • Examine table structure
    • Verify that all the hyperlinks are valid
    • Examine form structure
    • Show command hierarchy

    May 5, 1996
    Maybe the idea is terrific, maybe we just can't argue with their taste in links. (we're sure it's the former). Anyhow, run, don't walk, to visit Tropical Jim's Remake-Shop. (You can tell it's the 90's on the web...we expected palm trees and parrots, they have graphics that look like a label maker gone industrial).

    They bill themselves as the world's first ever offshore back-office/outsourcing company for web work. With Venezuelan salaries running 10% of the comparable US wage, Tropical Jim's is able to offer pretty amazing service guarantees, outrageous prices and performance promises. They do animations, framing, HTML and general site rework.

    Smart businessmen that they are, they recognize that you've probably never done offshore outsourcing and are at least somewhat hesitant. So, they've put together a "get-to-know-you" offer. Send them a gif and directions and they'll animate it for you in 24 hours for $50. That's really inexpensive and allows you to dress up your site while getting to know them.

    Smart marketing, solid business idea, solid execution, and above all, great taste in websites. Take a look.

    Try Freeloader

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  • All material on this site is © 1995, 1996 by IBN (The Internet Business Network), Mill Valley, CA 94941