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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
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The Evolution of the Search Engine
Jupiter Communications has announced that a major shake out is due among consumer based search engines and directories, but even they admit that their forecast is "like predicting the sun will rise tomorrow." Nevertheless the reinvention has already begun. The last few weeks have brought announcements from Excite, Infoseek, and Lycos. It is difficult to predict however which services will emerge the winners, but it is nevertheless apparent that these changes will have impact on web marketers. As dissatisfied as we have become with these popularity crap shoots (yes, we know these search engines are based on scientific algorithms) we are still stuck with them, as it is still the primary method by which users find sites. The next three columns will focus on recent announcements at these sites and promotion opportunities. --Linda Wilson
Convenience is King - Part Two
As a consumer of Time Warner media and a confessed magazine junkie, I can tell you that it is more convenient for me to carry a magazine around with me in my briefcase to read when I find myself in the bank line, or waiting at the doctor's office. It is not advantageous for me to find a consecutive block of time to sit down at the computer and read their online publication. The paper version is still more flexible and therefore convenient. While there is a lot of useless content and sites that sustain little past the curiosity factor, the push for more substantial content is on. Suddenly, just having a web site is not enough, developers are redesigning their sites assuming that good, constantly changing content will bring return traffic. As the web grows and web sites have to answer to the bottom line, the competition for mind share will be more competitive. You can just picture the round table meeting at Ralph Lauren when someone announced that an online soap opera called the pulse would keep traffic returning to the site. When the novelty wears off what convenience will bring the customer back. In a medium as young as the web, how much current traffic can be attributed to the novelty factor? --Linda Wilson
Pathfinder Turns Two
Time Warner's Pathfinder has always been watched carefully with great interest by those developing content-driven advertising-financed sites. Their success or failure is deemed to predict the future for other non-computer related magazine or ezine type sites. Forrester Research has estimated that they are loosing 8 million annually on Pathfinder and has prepared a brief titled "What Time Warner Should Do With Pathfinder". While their suggestions are valid it assumes that Pathfinder,s only defect is their content and lack of segmentation of subject areas and therefore the inability to deliver specific consumer markets to advertisers. This assumes the adage that is being repeated continually, "Content is King". It won't be long before this assumption will be proven wrong. Already there is a great deal of excellent content on the Internet. If I had a couple of hours there would be no shortage of sites that I would like to visit, articles I would like to read, and entertainment I could enjoy. But I don't have that time. Therefore, it is "Convenience that is King". I continually go back to the sites that save me time or deliver a more convenient solution to an old problem. Sure, I'll visit sites out of curiosity but my decision to return to sites is based on utility and convenience. --Linda Wilson
Forrester Research just announced that online ad revenues will soar from $80 million this year to $4 billion in 2001. Assuming this is true, advertising revenues will have to look extremely different than they do today. There is little doubt that there is currently a great deal of dissatisfaction concerning pricing, reporting, and display systems of sponsorship based on traditional media models. VDOnet has created what they bill as "the first video commercial made specifically for the Internet." Advertising their own product, VDOnet,s commercial, is being displayed on 6 sites and being billed as the beginning of "significant growth in such Internet commercials." Will advertisers really want to embrace an advertising method that reaches an exclusive group that must have (take a deep breath) VDOLive software and support files, a soundcard, and meet platform, hardware, connection, browser version and configuration requirements? More information can be obtained through VDOnet's extensive technical support FAQ search facility. Enough said. --Linda Wilson
Sending unsolicited press releases to the media via email is tricky business. Chance are you are unlikely to get results from a weary editor that is beseeched with unsolicited email, especially if you have not chosen your targets carefully. However if you are still determined to do your own PR instead of hiring someone, read Good Release/Bad Release from Who's Marketing Online which provides a good list of do,s and don,ts for writing releases for online distribution. The next problem is deciding where to send them. Fortunately an Austrian airline pilot named Peter Gugerell (with I assume a great deal of time on his hands) has assembled a list of email addresses for the media. His site, Email:MEDIA includes an incredible number of addresses and the bulk of them are from U.S., Canadian, and European media.
Linda Wilson, a Canadian Web Marketing consultant, has joined us as a reporter. Here's her first piece:
KEEPING UPLeading your content changes is challenging enough without trying to stay on top of the changing technology. Recently a client discussed with me the pull he felt towards what he called "lively content". In order to keep up with competitors and attract more visitors, which bells and whistles should he add to his site? Java, style sheets, plug-ins etc.? Which browsers should he design for? WebMonkey from the folks at HotWired attempts to address these issues. The current offerings from the self described "service station for the wired world" includes a Browser Kit which outlines browser capabilities, and other articles give the low down on optimizing your browser and which plug-ins to use. The archives are also worth looking at. An article from September reported on marketshare in the browser market.
Take a look at the Archives. We've indexed all the past issues with topic pointers.
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