S P O N S O R S
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- Back Issues, Weekly
- Two Weeks Ending: August 03, 1996
- August 3, 1996
Servers and Clients
We wandered into the oddest bit of "customer service" that we've seen to date. The warning on the page said:
Do not Bookmark this page! The CGI we are using is truly dynamic and queries our FTP site for the software you want to download based on the information in your browser's location window. If we change the path to a file, your bookmarked page may not return the correct path to our FTP server when you locate the software you want to download.
Unfortunately, the servers were overloaded and we couldn't get the software. So, our next pass through this particular site will involve navigating the tortured series of paths that get us to the software we need. This is customer service designed to manage the cost of servers, not the costs of clients. It's an easy mistake to make.
The culprit? Apple Computers (who will encourage you to bookmark the page about the CEO). Imagine being known as the customer service department that makes it easy to read outdated material on the CEO and difficult to get customer support. Apple seems intent on defining the textbook of "ways to hurt your reputation using the web".
The web provides an opportunity to develop reasonably intimate relationships with your customers. It's an easy opportunity to squander. Part of your ongoing usability review should include routine visits from users who haven't seen the material before. What works well for the engineering and accounting functions can be a nightmare for your loyal customers.
The Stanford University Libraries have delivered an amazingly useful resource. The Copyright and Fair Use page catalogs the best resources on the web including the primary legislation, treaties and regulations. The Articles and Publications section is a very comprehensive web (linked) bibliography. Increasingly, this subject is the major achilles heel in web content development.
- August 2, 1996
It is easy to forget about customers in the daily tug of war with technology. Much to our surprise, HotWired has come through with a major user-centric feature. WebMonkey, a webmaster's tutorial area, includes TuneUp which will check out your browser's performance. Though the feature seems to have some bugs in its actual diagnostics, we applaud the idea of taking users by the hand through a browser tuneup.
It's pretty easy to get bogged down in a side eddy of the web. We often spend so much time looking at our little world of marketing and recruiting that we miss some significant evolution in other areas. WebPulse, from Open Text offers "highlights" from each day's top 150 subjects in their search engines. It's an easy stop that allows you to sample from a smorgasboard of highly requested materials.
- August 1, 1996
New Look and Another Media Broker
We got an interesting phone call last night from one of the Principles at Narrowcast Media. Like several of the other media brokers we've reviewed, Narrowcast Media helps you:
The interesting difference is that Narrowcast Media offers a process for certifying your demographics, making your ad space increasingly valuable.
- Reach your target market with precision and consistency.
- Buy and sell your ad space.
- Exchange your ad space for space on other sites FREE.
- Track your site's statistics & demographics.
We've seen several contracts offered by the current group of media brokers and laughed heartily at the onerous, one-sided terms in the agreements. Looks to us like the first groups to sign up with these folks are incredibly desperate for advertising revenue. Our current suggestion in the area: wait until the furor dies down and then pick your partners carefully. It may be tempting to be early to the party and gain income immediately. But, as the marketplace matures, more firms like Narrowcast Media will enter the market and deliver increasing value to your enterprise.
Today marks our official one year anniversary of (almost) daily publishing. We've redesigned the pages and completed the indexing of our Archives. Let us know what you think.
- July 31, 1996
Marketing With Features
HotMail joins the list of companies who build an advertising client base by delivering free services. Like Tripod and others (who offer free Web Pages and the tools to build them) HotMail builds a list of return clients who can then be delivered advertising information. We like the idea of paying customers to read ads and this is a splendid example.
The HotMail scheme is to give email accounts to people without full internet access. For example, many job hunters use the net from public terminals and kiosks. HotMail gives them the opportunity to join mailing lists and receive mailed newsletters as well as a return address for emailed resumes.
Advertisers get very clean access to a clearly defined group of users. Very nice concept.
- July 30, 1996
A Website Is Not the Whole Story
An old friend popped onto our radar screens recently. Bob Jacobson, President of World Design (a pioneering Virtual Reality Company) alerted us to the formation of a new partnership in Seattle. ECC (Electronic Commerce + Communication) is sort of a Seattle supergroup for web design and marketing. With very deep roots in marketing, the psychology of the net and information design, they look like a force to be reckoned with.
The interesting thing is, you can't tell this from their website. Credentials, assurance and the ability to innovate are particularly difficult to communicate through this medium. The website does point to a tremendous project: The Planet Oasis, a no-text experiment in mall / information design.
Watch this company!!
- July 29, 1996
8 Corners of E-Commerce
We've added a new article to our (slowly) growing pile. Called The 8 Corners of E-Commerce, the article tries to place the various uses of the Web into a context for strategic decision making.
Utilizing the Web in a business is a non-trivial affair. We've seen and chronicled a number of disasters over the past year. Many (most) of them were caused by a lack of real integration with the rest of the business. The article provides a framework for thinking about the technology as a tool before leaping into the abyss.
Recent hype to the contrary, successful sites can't be developed "out of the box" from "cookie cutter" packages. A website can perform a variety of functions. They work best when developed as an integral part of the ongoing operation.
- July 28, 1996
Eudora Pro 3.0
We're pretty excited about the new version of Eudora (the email software). Currently only available for Macintosh systems, the new package has some pretty exciting features. All URLs are highlighted and can be tied directly to your browser. So, the URLs in your email can be immediately "clickable".
The new software also features text formatting for email (Bold, Italic, Font sizes, idents, margins etc). The days of "text only" email are rapidly closing. Formatting information is transmitted as a separate component so readers without advanced email software can still receive the standard product.
Finally, the filtering capabilities of the new version of Eudora are nothing short of remarkable. Based on definable characteristics (certain subjects, senders or key words), Eudora can be trained to return a standard reply. This is a particularly useful feature if you are considering the development of a newsletter.
The company is offering a fully featured version for a 30 day free trial and significant discounts if you're upgrading.
What does this mean for a web marketer?
The days of email as an ancillary marketing tool have some chance of being over. We've always wondered why Websites in general are being developed as "linear" experiences rather than customer centric tools. Part of the problem has been the technical problems associated with offering a large number of paths through your corporate material. With this emerging form of formatted hypertext email, you can begin to think of each piece of mail as a "home page" or access point to your web based material. The opportunities are extraordinary.
- July 25, 1996
Net Business Daily
Michael Bauwens, the Belgian Electronic Marketing guru, has begun an ambitious project to bring net business news to your desktop on a daily basis. Net Business Daily, now over two months old, is an outgrowth of Bauwen's fabulous project The Cybrarians Guide to Cyber Marketing.
You will find the section on Finding Corporate Sites particularly useful as a research tool.
- July 24, 1996
The Project Oriented Economy
While surfing the net last night, we came upon an interview with John Sumser, our editor. Called The Project Oriented Society, the interview scurries through a broad range of issues of interest to the recruiting community.
What's most interesting about the piece (to us) is that it never showed up in our regular net-surveillance using AltaVista. We were trying out the expanded capabilities of the Excite search engine (which claims to have 50% more pages indexed than AltaVista). While the number of answers to our standard queries were smaller..They were all different. It's going to take a while to digest what this means. For preliminary purposes, we think it means that you will need to expand your monitoring of inbound links to include other engines besides AltaVista.
We've added a copy of the interview with John Sumser to our local files for your convenience.
- July 23, 1996
Who's Doing Business?
The importance of marketing as a central feature of your site design can not be over emphasized. Detailed planning and clear objectives are the only things that can make your business stand out against the backdrop of your global competitors. As a demonstration, we're offering the following list of "Advertising Firms" that added their sites to the net in the past week.
- July 22, 1996
We always enjoy the monthly Computer Law Observer, an email newsletter published by William S. Galkin. This month's issue is a tutorial on domain names and copyright issues. To subscribe, send a request to: email@example.com
- Contacting Us
- Call, fax, write, email. We'd love to talk about your project.