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    Back Issues, Weekly
    Week Ending: Dec 30, 1995
    December 30, 1995: Cool Tool of the Year
    Cool Site
    In the past six months, we've evaluated, reviewed and publicized hundreds of marketing related resources, tools, mailing lists, websites and schemes. We've seen it all from the embarassing newbie to the hyper-sophisticated. There's a huge array of material available as the new era dawns. We're all pioneers and for every success, there will be 25 failures.

    As we close out 1995, the year business discovered the Web, we move into the period of hard work. 1996 will be the year that the Web finds its ground and begins to mature.

    After all is said and done, there was one stellar tool that no web-marketer should have done without. It was sometimes sophomoric, sometimes lost in silly tangents but most often at or near the edge of discovery. We read it passionately (sometimes) and wished it would just go away (other times). But through the year, this one tool stood out.

    If you're serious about Web Marketing and you don't have a subscription to The Internet Marketing List, you're kidding yourself. We're proud to name it our 1995 Cool Marketing Tool of the Year.

    If you haven't yet, go to the website and subscribe. Or you can subscribe by sending email to IM-SUB@I-M.COM. Archive-note: This list shut down in July 1996

    December 29, 1995: Red Alert, the server's down!
    The darkest fear of every Website owner is that the server is down. Operating and maintaining a website is a funny mix of knowing that there's an audience yet never being able to see them interact with your material.

    You've got to admire any service willing to call itself Red Alert. A product of the Internet Resources Group, Red Alert is designed to either relieve you of this fear or let you know that you aren't being paranoid. They check your server four times an hour and notify you when there's a problem. For roughly $20/month/URL, they'll tell you about your performance problems. Calls to your pager are optional. They offer a 30 day free trial.

    Decisive Survey looks like a product that's headed in the right direction. Create a survey, email it to your visitors list, tabulate the results, look at the graphs. All in a Windows based piece of software. Pricing is based on the number of responses you get to your survey. It gets downright cheap (on a per customer basis) when you have over 10,000 respondents. The website offers trial software. All that's missing from the package is a tutorial on developing surveys that people will answer and that aren't inherently biased.

    December 28, 1995: Community-building
    We have an allergic reaction to the use of the term community in regards to the Web. Though vogue, we think that the term seriously distracts attention from the power of the medium. With lurker to poster ratios averaging greater than 9 to 1, the idea that public participation is a panacea seems far-fetched. Can you name a website that you found so compelling that you had to add your two cents to the "dialog"?.

    That's not to say that user generated content isn't an effective strategy for building a compelling website. Talk radio is rooted in the delivery of a small vocal minority to a larger audience of listeners. But, that's theater or performance art, not community. It can work as a way of building a reliable audience. It's just not community in any sense that we've seen in the non-Web world.

    Using the term community raises a set of expectations that are extremely counter-productive. The sense of belonging and identification that are part and parcel of a community experience can only be promised to the minority who are willing to risk public participation. So, calling it community means that you are setting the majority of your customers up to be disappointed. Surely you wouldn't want to base your business on the notion that your customers had to take a public risk with inherent disappointment for those who didn't make the leap.

    That said, Richard Selzer (of Internet on A Disk) has delivered another gem to the Web. Recently, he delivered a briefing to the folks at Digital called Building Communities on the Internet. In spite of its title, the briefing is a wonderful tour of possibilities. Its brilliance is in the gentle way it points a giant towards the new paradigm. Our reading is that the slides are much less about community and much more about helping a big firm find its way in a new world. There is a more detailed article on the site as well.

    Selzer points out that his use of the term community is very specialized and means something like "You can't assume that you can treat customers on the web in the same way that you treat them elsewhere." We agree wholeheartedly.

    December 27, 1995: Red hot white papers
    Rational Data Systems offers a set of tools and ideas that make it a cut above your normal Internet Developer. We particularly enjoyed their white papers:

    December 26, 1995: New sites
    As an experiment, we're going to try to list new and changed sites that are relevant to Electronic Marketing each week. The following sites are new or changed in the past week.



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