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Hall Of Fame8 Corners of ECommerce
industry is on
the verge of
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
It's better to
All material on this
Complaining About The SOS
(SOS = same old s#&!)
Earlier this week, we stumbled on a great product. Sold exclusively on the web, the software solved several significant problems in our production departments. We spent a day testing it and were ready to buy. Price wasn't the issue since the product worked so well. But, as a business, we try to pay our bills by check.
We spent 45 minutes plowing through the product website looking for an address or a phone number. There was none. We ended up sending email that asked the company for its basic business information.
This is bad business practice. Each of your web pages should offer your company's name, address and email. You just have to make it easy for customers to send you money.
Do You Need A Website?
It's not a rhetorical question.
The Web looks like an attic in a house lived in by three generations of the same family. They probably weren't accountants. The cost of making your website discoverable is rising in proportion to the volume of clutter.
Good design, though necessary, is not enough. Marketing of the site, after it's developed, isn't enough. Fresh content and regular redesign are just the cost of entry.
We're finding that the best way to guarantee that your site is effective is by slowly building and testing the features. Before you start, try using the Web as a marketing vehicle without a site. Use email and web research to find your competitors, customers and their regular haunts.
Then, build a temporary (probably shabby) Website, just to further test the notion that you can attract customers. Sell your product or service online before you invest heavily in site development. Query your potential customers about their needs and fill them with your ultimate site.
Given 60,000,000 discrete URLs, the market planning, publicity, traffic development and pure marketing costs of your site will take an increasingly large hunk of your outlay. We're currently advising customers that marketing expense is something like 60% of an overall site development budget.
Most of all, think hard. Do you really need a website?
Big Boys Build "Personal" Internets
Is the Web the be-all and end-all? It's increasingly unlikely. The Web, in its current incarnations, is liable to be remembered as the ham-radio of its time.
Remember what made the web explode:
As net traffic gets more unpredictable (surely you've seen the doom-saying articles about brownouts), we expect to see the development of large-industry Internet surrogates. Functionally, they're like "intranets" but they operate throughout an industry. The "firewall" is industry specific information formats. They standardize communication protocols between players in an arena. This is the playing field of professional associations.
An interesting example of this approach is the Automotive Network Exchange (ANX) currently being promoted by the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG). By designing an industry specific Internet, AIAG hopes to increase productivity throughout the industry while removing traffic problems. We expect to see more movement in this arena in the near future.
Initially, the efforts will be oriented towards taking a whole industry into the digital age. Ultimately, they will transform the landscape.
Watch Who You Call
Thanks to Len Duffy for alerting us to the latest scam floating around the Net. (We interviewed Len during the last week in September). The scam works like this: You get a piece of email that includes a return phone number in the 809 area code. You call the number. You get a huge bill. For more details, we've included the note from Len describing the scam in our archives. Marketing departments are particularly vulnerable to this particular scheme.
More Advertising Resources
Take a solid look at:
Take a look at the Archives. We've indexed all the past issues with topic pointers.
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