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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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property of IBN
(The Internet Business Network)
You may download
a copy for personal
use. Redistribution
without permission
is strictly
All material on
this site is
© 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

Archives: Two Weeks Ending 9-07-96

September 6, 1996

Sales, Sales, Sales

While we prattle on about marketing, design and their inter-relationship, you'd be tempted to think that we've forgotten sales. Hardly.

Marketing is the foundation from which sales are executed. We're continually amazed at the number of firms that launch commercial websites without ever giving detailed consideration to their users and customers. We're much less amazed when they fail. As a medium, the Web is customer intensive. If your every design and research move is not built on a foundation of customer research and satisfaction, your yield will suffer greatly.

But, the only possible justification for marketing and design efforts is increased sales.

September 5, 1996

Who Knows What About Whom

Ongoing concerns about privacy and data discosure are slowly migrating towards the press. Where are the boundaries of data collection and disclosure on the Web? The answer is liable to directly impact your marketing costs.

We think that the Firefly Community Policy is an admirably comprehensive approach to the problem. (Firefly is a personal agent integrated with "community" that sells recorded music.) While we'd probably address the issues somewhat differently, the policy lays them out clearly. It's well worth a read.

What's interesting to us is that Firefly makes a big fuss about never selling the data. They never promise not to use it. The difference is smaller than you might imagine at first glance.

September 4, 1996

Two Gems

  • MARKETING WEEK is the UK's leading weekly news magazine for marketing, advertising and media professionals.

  • RETAIL INFO CENTRAL presents a wide range of news and information for the retail industry.

    September 3, 1996

    Negotiating Website Agreements

    Get a copy of this month's Computer Law Observer by William S. Galkin, Esq. It covers the basics of a Website deveopment and maintenance agreement with clear nuggets about:

    • BACKUP
    The Computer Law Observer is only available by email.

    September 2, 1996

    Back In One Piece

    The desert trip evolved fairly rapidly and we ended up 1,000 miles beyond our destination looking at 800 year old web pages...pictograms in Dinosaur National Park. Imagine the story.

    There's an interesting new resource emerging for users of direct email. The Direct Email Marketer's Association (DEMA) sponsors a mailing list with archives and other tips on their site. It has some interesting possibilities. We're increasingly irritated by the volume of poorly targeted and poorly written direct marketing material that seems to fill our inbasket.

    On a related front, the number of list bombings appears to be growing. A list bombing involves being involuntarily subscribed to multiple high volume mailing lists. We expect the problem to be solved with increased levels of authentication for mailing lists.

    August 30, 1996

    We're Off To See The Wizard

    We're taking a bit of a break over this long weekend. Look for a report from the Burning Man Festival or the Nevada Desert. We'll be back Monday, Tuesday at the latest.

    Profound thanks to our spelling spotters...we just didn't have enough coffee the other day.

    August 29, 1996

    Help WMO Define Success

    We're perpetual fans of the work at Who's Marketing Online (WMO). With a vastly improved design and increased market focus, the site is demonstrating the virtues of immersion in daily publishing....the market shapes you. We'd suggest that you take a moment to offer your site up as an example of success. Visit the Defining Success page at WMO and tell your story.

    August 28, 1996


  • The Acme Laboratories ad broker comparison page has added pointers to three additional ad brokers. A much more comprehensive Web advertising review is available from

  • Chivas Regal demonstrates "placing" (see below) with Career Toolbox

  • Tucked into the bowels of the AT&T's Business Network is a great collection of tools for Promotional Writing

  • Werbal, a Swiss Market Consulting firm, presents a delightful 10 Commandments for Successful Marketing Communications on the Web

    August 27, 1996

    AT&T Unleashes Real Business Services

    The tagline reads Welcome to a free gold mine of business news and information. After digging around for several hours, we're convinced that this isn't the usual net-hype. AT&T's Business Network is one of the few sites on the web requesting registration that we unconditionally recommend. Tucked into the lead article (about marketing to Generation X) is this gem:

    There really is no marketing without marketing research. A lot of people just try to sell a product. But you're going to have to know your audience. So you start with research -- focus groups, surveys...

    AT&T's Business Network practices what they preach, offering a rich array of tools (over 1,000 industry analyses) so that you can make your business a success.

    August 26, 1996

    Comparing Web Ad Brokers

    If you're going to carry advertising on your website, you have three basic choices:

    1. Sell the ads yourself (build an advertising sales department)
    2. Have your brother-in-law send you a check and tell you that it's for ads
    3. Hire an advertising broker
    Selling advertising (like we do) requires a range of upfront staffing, market research, sales tool development and prospecting investments. The sales process is currently very expensive because many potential ad clients require tutorials on the basic language, concepts, predictable response rates and the mechanics of the web in general. The market for web advertising is still very young and demand is erratic.

    We like the brother-in-law solution. It's a time honored tactic for making small entrepreneurial businesses fly. If you can, get some very generous in-laws with very deep pockets. This isn't usually the most practical approach, however.

    Given the relative costs and benefits of the first two approaches, we imagine that you'll ultimately use an ad broker. As a public service, Acme Laboratories has developed an ad broker comparison page. They've established accounts with 2 of the four best known brokers so you can see ad server performance. The page also includes targeted links into the broker's pages to help cut straight to the sales proposition. It's a nice piece of work.

    Since there is a surplus of available advertising space, most brokers are offering very low payments for ad space. As the marketplace fills with competing brokers, those values will go up. Be wary of long-term deals and get a clear description of the broker's payment policies.

    August 25, 1996

    My Mamma Always Said: Life Is Like...

    We're rarely at a loss for words. Placing, a new piece from Carl Steadman (who helped create Suck), leaves us struggling. Like the world it wrestles with, Placing is both Tired and Wired. It jumps out of every box we try to put it in.

    What's the fuss? On the one hand, Placing is a series of very short vignettes next to a "money shot" (product photo) presented with a random entry point. No big deal, it borders on Gumpishness (Forrest). And, that's our problem.

    The mechanics of advertising on the web elude safe categories. Is a website an ad? Does having ads on a website make the rest of the website "content"? If the "content" is clearly advertising, what's the relationship? Is content simply anything that "carries" an ad? Is a link an ad?

    Every conversation that we have with our clients contains this tension to a degree. The old distinctions seem to melt when you apply them too hard. We reach those moments when language and insight fail. We have to admit that we're lost too, that partnership, with a lot of fault tolerance, is the only savvy business approach to this new beast.

    In the press release describing the project, Steadman explains his theory that ads and products provide context. "Content" emerges from a background created by commercials. It's not some futuristic vision he's trying to explain, it's a way of thinking about the way that all media work today.

    It gave us the kind of headache we love. The most productive work always has to do with unanswerable questions. Mr. Steadman has asked a good one. If you give it a hard chew, we think you'll find that you have fewer answers and better output.

    Take a look at the Archives. We've indexed all the past issues with topic pointers.

    Try Freeloader

    Check out the Archives....54 Weeks of Back issues including:

    August 24 1996 Including:
    • Search Voyeur
    • Who's Making Money
    • Simplicity In Design
    • New Thinking
    • Design For Navigation
    • International Usability
  • August 17 1996 Including:
    • Regional Yahoos
    • Big Dreams
    • Copy Editors
    • Cool Net Statistics Presentations
    • Browser Search
    • Give It Away To Keep It
  • August 10 1996 Including:
    • Useful Page Tools
    • Web Nuggets
    • Tropical Jim: Web Hero
    • Snafus And Apologies
    • Bright Spots At Apple
    • Mediums Are Not Markets
  • 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

    Contacting Us
    Call, fax, write, email. We'd love to talk about your project.

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