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The advertising
industry is on
the verge of
being shattered
into a thousand
fragments due to
the knowledge explosion
and the proliferation
of new technologies.
There are no
more grand theories
that hold sway
over the entire
Michael Strangelove

Advertising is
one of the minor
arts, so don't
be intimidated
by it. Try
not to lose
your sense of
Keep it fun.
Robert Bly

is more
it seems.
John Gall

The System
is its own
John Gall

It's better to
do a few things
really well than
than to do
a lot of things
If you can't
make the necessary
commitments of
time and energy
to your
scale back
your plan.
John Sumser


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You may download
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use. Redistribution
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is strictly
All material on
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© 1995. 1996 by IBN



C l i c k   o n c e   t o   r e c e i v e   o u r   o c c a s i o n a l   N e w s l e t t e r

Week Ending August 10, 1996

August 9, 1996

Mediums Are Not Markets

HotWired has launched Packet, a daily series of essays and interviews. We think of it as Suck with a bite. Tuesdays feature Michael Schrage on markets. This week, Schrage's column features the shopworn headline "The Medium Is The Market" lifted from Howard Rheingold's delightful 1995 interview with Donna Hoffman (the Vanderbilt marketing goddess).

Those early days were heady and Ms Hoffman repeated the speculation of the time:

web-based marketing sells "ten times the units for 1/10 the advertising cost. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Web-based commercial efforts are more efficient and possibly even more effective than efforts mounted in traditional channels...Firm benefits arise from the potential of the Web as a distribution channel, a medium for marketing communications, and a market in and of itself (emphasis added)."
In the rush to embrace this new tool, we joined in the chorus of escalating hype. The early days of this newsletter were driven by the idea that the web is, somehow, a marketplace in and of itself. Thankfully, we've always kept our feet in the business world. We've tried to contain our enthusiasm with experiments that prove or disprove our instincts.

The web isn't a market anymore than the telephone is a market. Mediums are not markets. Markets are composed of buyers and sellers, sometimes individuals, sometimes institutions, sometimes distribution networks, sometimes a combination of the three. Mediums are not markets, markets are markets.

Frankly, we're surprised that the HotWired editorial team let this unfocused rehash through to the launch point. It's a sure bet that Schrage finds himself in the position of being the hard-edged business person in a room full of glassy-eyed true believers. But then, Wired and its network are a view of a culture, not a business source.

If you haven't, take a look at our recent article, The 8 Corners of ECommerce. (Perhaps we should have titled it: 8 Strategies For Defining Your Market Using The Web.) The article goes to some lengths to point out that the web is a tool, not an end in itself. As a tool, its potential is fantastic. As a market, it is a great place to waste a small inheritance. As a friend is fond of saying, "The best way to make a small fortune on the Web is by starting with a large one."

Are we souring on the Web? Hardly. Like all media before it, the Web provides access to markets. It's just that the fundamentals haven't necessarily changed. If you want to do marketing on the web with any success, you must know:

  • Who your customers are
  • What you are selling
  • The return you expect
  • The benefits you provide
Criticisms aside, we're betting that Schrage's weekly column will, at the very least, be a source of provocation for the ongoing development of the Web as a marketing tool.

A quick Apple update.

Amidst all of our grumbling, there are some incredible bright spots in the Apple portfolio:

  • Project X is a very interesting first step towards defining a three dimensional information navigation tool. Using it, the Apple Website (and Yahoo in their downloadable demo) are 3D spaces. (Unfortunately, it only appears to be available for Apple systems)
  • The Personalized Internet Launcher is a very clever demonstration of the web's ability to deliver customized information to specific individual customers.

August 8, 1996

Web Nuggets For Marketers

In the past day, we've stumbled over three websites that belong on your bookmark list.

  • The US Postal Service is providing amazing levels of customer service for small businesses. See their Zip + 4 Look Up page. The page also includes money saving tips for small business mailings.

  • The ATT 800 Number Directory earns a slot in our bookmarks. As a timesaver, there are few websites that compare.

  • Finally, we're increasingly enamoured with Money magazine. The site features Your Company, a magazine devoted to improving the management of your small business.

August 7, 1996

Page Tools Becoming Useful

The latest generations of HTML page-making tools are maturing into extremely useful workplace tools. We sat a new employee, who had never seen HTML, down in front of a workstation running Claris Home Page (available as a test download at the Claris Site). She was creating tables and making graphic sizing decisions in under an hour. Claris offers Home Page in both Mac and Windows versions. The retail version of the product includes six months of free web-hosting services. The new tools (including Microsoft's Front Page) take all of the mystery out of HTML...just as it should be.

August 6, 1996

Tropical Jim Is Our Hero

If you're inspired by our ongoing redesigns, check out Tropical Jim. Based in Venezuela (the cheapest contry in the world), these Website remakers specialize in solid graphic designs and the sort of routine maintenance that drives most webmasters absolutely crazy. You might want to take a look at our Sister newsletter (The Electronic Recruiting News) for another example of Tropical Jim's work. They offer astonishingly low prices and correspondingly high quality.

August 5, 1996

Practice What You Preach

As we've railed against inconsistency, bad grammar and confusing navigation, we've become guilty ourselves. During the site redesign last week, the URL for the Archives and the July 20th issue got confused. Consider them fixed (and thanks to all who were kind enough to point it out.)

August 4, 1996

Bulk Email Snafu

Really, we're proponents of the responsible use of email for commercial promotions. But, the other day, we received 7 identical pieces of email asking if our website was a secret. Apparently not. Moral of the story: check your lists before you embarass yourself.

Take a look at the Archives. We've indexed all the past issues with topic pointers. It should make the historical material somewhat easier to get through.

Try Freeloader

Check out the Archives....52 Weeks of Back issues including:

  • August 03 1996 (two weeks) Including:
    • Net Business Daily
    • The Project Oriented Economy
    • The Importance Of Customers
    • Computer Law Observer
    • 8 Corners Of ECommerce
    • Who's Doing Business
  • July 20 1996 Including:
    • Paying Viewers To See Ads
    • Grumpy About Apple
    • More Net Statistics
    • How Not To: I-Watch
    • Godzilla Uber Alles
  • July 13 1996 Including:
    • Multimedia Web
    • Selling Ads
    • An SIG Pidgin
    • News From The Front
    • Absolut-ly Fabulous
    • Tripod Redux
    • Jobs For Web Designers
  • July 06 1996 Including:
    • Makeovers R Us
    • JAvaScript Tip Of the Week
    • Microsoft Viruses
    • Sega Surfing
    • Jobs For Web Designers
    • Informant
    • IDML
  • June 22 1996 Including:
    • Advertising Effectiveness Part 2
    • Email Risks: Short Case Study
    • Leave 'Em Laughing
    • Translation Pages
    • Design and Graphics Tidbits
    • Advertising Law
  • June 15 1996 Including:
    • Ostriches On Line
    • Media Daily
    • NBNSOFT Content Awards
    • Lots of Juicy Tidbits
    • Knowing When to Quit
    • About Media Placement Agencies
  • June 08 1996 Including:
    • Sponsored Site of the Day
    • Internet Link Exchange
    • WebServer Magazine
    • Net History from Alta Vista
  • June 01 1996 Including:
    • Positioning
    • Filtering Ads
    • Balancing Technology and Marketing
    • Elements of Ad Effectiveness
    • Useful Microsoft Tools
    • Graphics / Tufte
  • May 25 1996 Including:
    • Suck
    • Web Informant
    • Fighting The Last War
    • Net Commerce Bureau
    • Web Review Revisited
    • Initial Promotion Tools
  • May 18 1996 Including:
    • How Not To Do It
    • Link Trakker
    • Television Industry
    • Guidelines for Promotional Email
    • Going Out With Dignity
    • Initial Promotion
  • May 11 1996
    • Roverbot
    • Tropical Jim's
    • Who's Marketing Online Reborn
    • StoogeNet
    • Dr HTML
  • May 04 1996
    • Yahoo's People Search
    • Hyperlinks are Institutionalized Referrals
    • The David Siegel Project
    • Junk Email Suit
    • Editor and Publisher Interactive
  • Apr 27 1996
    • How Not To Do It: Buf Puf
    • Email Courtesies
    • 2Ask
    • MRML (Mind Reading Markup Language
    • Do You Own Your Domain Name
  • Apr 20 1996
    • Types of Links
    • Solid Oak and Cybersitter
    • Search Engine Tutorial
    • Tripod
    • Salon
    • Webcatcher
    • WWWomen

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