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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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March 21, 1997

Sling Shot

As Internet Service Providers offering "dial-up" service tend to conglomerate on the West Coast, there seems to be a concomitant dilution of service.

For example, when the Well combined with, dial-up consumers tended to suffer busy signals and a general decline in service.

If you are a business, this kind of thing can mean the difference between life and death.

There's a temptation - undersatandable - to go for a "business-only" server. These guys don't offer dial-up. Instead, they simply pump out your message to the universe.

This tends to make your "signal" cleaner and more accessible. In general, they charge between $25 and $40 per month for a basic service, comprising around 10Mb of server space and 3-7 eMail addresses.

About a year ago, a colleague of mine found [Note: no list of "satisfied clients"...].

Sounded good. And was. Until recently. Catapult wanted to up the price for basic service. My colleague demurred. He wanted to change Domain Name Servers.

In my experience, this kind of thing can be accomplished in about 48 hours. My colleague has been waiting for over a week now. The ISP he wants to move to has completed all the paperwork. He's waiting for Catapult to complete the transaction.

Sounds like sour grapes to me - "Don't want my service? I'll stop you getting anyone else's."

In the meantime, he's out of business, essentially.

Moral: Sign up with a reputable "business-only" server - not Catapult. --John Blower

March 20, 1997

The Other 51%...

As more and more women take to the Web, as a group, they are becoming a more tempting audience for online marketers. If this is a demographic for whom your product or service is appropriate, it's probably worth checking out a few sites which are aimed at women.

Robin Nobles has compiled a comprehensive list of female-oriented sites, which I partially reproduce here. Admittedly, the selection tends towards the mainstream. But there again, the majority of women aren't "geeks" (or even "geekettes"...).

The descriptive comments are those of Robin Nobles.

321.Women is a wonderful site with links to pages such as Cybermom, the Fashion Net, Relationships, and Her-Space, which "could be the best women's page on the net." You'll also find links to online magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Elle.

Women's Pages is a network of resources, information, and articles of interest to women of all ages. They provide free information for entrepreneurs as well as articles by professionals.

Women's Resources is divided into categories such as health, literature, music, and parenting.

Women Homepage is a comprehensive web site featuring online writings by and about women, health and medical links, women's study programs, and sites for women in computer science, engineering, academics, and industry.

Discover the latest styles and trends in fashion at Style Front, the Paris capital of fashion.

The Cosmetic Report is a weekly report that brings you up-to-date information about cosmetic trends so you can make educated cosmetics decisions.

The Fragrance Foundation was established by industry leaders in affiliation with fragrance companies such as Elizabeth Arden and Guerlain, to develop educational programs about the importance and pleasures of fragrance for the American public.

Women's Bookshelf is the "cyberplace for women's writing."

Shatter the Glass Ceiling is a webzine for women published biweekly. At this site, you'll find articles, book reviews, biographies, humor, health tips, information on home repair, recipes, and other links of interest to women.

WWWomen! is the Premier Search Directory for Women Online. You'll find topics such as women in sports, women throughout history, health and safety issues, and shopping.

I'm indebted to Philippe Scheimann for forwarding this research. --John Blower

March 19, 1997

We Wuz Framed!

Some site designers, having realized that frames reduce one's viewing area by a considerable percentage, have now discovered - and are using - the command.

The net effect of this nifty little command is to make your page look as if it is UNframed. All the disadvantages of frames - slow and jerky loading, inaccessibility for some browsers, possibility of crashes, inability to bookmark etc. - with none of the advantages when used properly.

Such a site is the somewhat grandiosely titled Web World Internet Directory. I clicked on their Site Promotion button. The frame - which was too wide for my meager monitor - took ages to load, and was simply a further link to a list of search engines and directories.

I mean, what's the point?

A better bet is Hal Pawluk's site, which has plenty of advice on marketing and promotion online, and inevitably spills over into design. The site opens - annoyingly - with an .au file of a drum roll, which is a bit much at 5:30 am on only my first cup of coffee. Some of Hal's advice is a bit contentious, like his inexplicable enthusiasm for Adobe PageMill (yuk!), but, on the whole is a useful resource in quite a clean and attractive site. --John Blower

March 18, 1997

Web Pages That Suck...

is the title of a site put together by Vincent Flanders, who works for an ISP and also teaches HTML coding.

"One of the ways to learn good design is by studying bad design" is his core maxim, and his site takes us through the gamut of horrors: First Impressions, Content, Graphics, Text, Java /JavaScript/Plug-Ins /Stuff Like That, Editing Tools and so on, each morsel accompanied by pungent, sensible commentary.

The site is updated regularly with new horrors and, apart from being witty and amusing, makes commonsensical points about what differentiates good from bad design in the New Medium. This site is one of the few which uses frames wisely and with good reason.

I spent an hour there - looking for a reference to one of my pages...

Of course, some site designers seem to think that everyone views the world through a 21" monitor. One of them is Andromedia, who "make ARIA, the industry's only live, easy, turnkey and scaleable website tracking software!" (their exclamation).

It sounded way kewl (despite my having to scroll right for about half a mile). And it is. This software tracks everything for you - names, addresses, SS#'s, the works.

Great if you have a large corporate site, and your department needs to justify its demands for an ever-increasing Web budget.

Aria Bronze, which covers sites with 1K-25K/day has a suggested retail price of a tad under $7,000 - which, in the realm of things is not so much for a comprehensive site visitor tracking program.

Oh, yeah - I liked the name "Andromedia". Kinda catchy. Reminded me of something, but I couldn't pin down quite what... --John Blower

March 17, 1997

Bandwidth: Either Get More, or Use Less

Getting more bandwidth isn't realistically on anyone's agenda any time soon. But preserving what we've got should be on everyone's.

The Bandwidth Conservation Society has heaps of handy hints on how to slim down your page so as to minimize download time.

I first came across this site about a year ago, and, it being a part-time labor of love for its creators, updates are irregular to say the least. Nonetheless, some of the points it makes - like "Do all my images need to be 8 bits/pixel?" - remain valid. Full of practical examples and hands-on advice, this is a useful resource for page designers.

Dot Com, Org, Net etc....

Got those Domain Name Blues? The proposal by IAHC to introduce another SEVEN top level domains is, IMHO, a recipe for fattening the legal profession while pauperizing the rest of us.

There's an alternative. can make your company name your domain name, without any annoying suffixes. Douglas Rushkoff says "...What had been a fairly limited range of .coms and .edus now becomes as diverse as language itself, transforming a limited resource into an inexhaustible one."

You need to download some software and fiddle with your TCP settings, but Internic is cooperating, and, if enough people participate, this could spell an end to those "Domain Name Blues". -- John Blower

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

Check out the Archives....75 Weeks of Back issues including:

Week Ending March 23, 1997 Including:
  • The Other 51%
  • We Wuz Framed
  • Bandwidth
  • Bad Design
  • Sling Shot
Week Ending March 16, 1997 Including:
  • Look Ma, No CGI
  • Banner Ads Revisited
  • Submission Wizzard
  • Labels Up to Scratch?
  • WebTV
Week Ending March 09, 1997 Including:
  • Cheap PR
  • Hard Copies
  • Ad Innovations
  • Don't Do This
  • Design Targets
Week Ending March 02, 1997 Including:
  • Web Balkanization
  • Mini Malls
  • Liars and Statistics
  • Multiple Search
Week Ending February 22, 1997 Including:
  • Direct Marketing World
  • Columbo, Not Just Yogurt
  • New HTTP Spec Speeds Net
  • All 4 One Search
Week Ending February 16, 1997 Including:
  • Finding Images
  • The Mining Co
  • Search Engine Stuff
  • Denounce
  • Weekend Reading
Week Ending February 09, 1997 Including:
  • Webmaster Secrets
  • New Search Engine Services
  • Learning From Others' Mistakes II
  • Learning From Others' Mistakes
  • Weekend Reading
Week Ending February 02, 1997 Including:
  • Purpose First
  • Ad Auction
  • 123 Domain Me
  • Publicity
  • Weekend Reading
Week Ending January 26, 1997 Including:
  • Drowning In Links
  • Ad Tutorial
  • Internet News
  • Cookies
  • Weekend Reading
Week Ending January 19, 1997 Including:
  • Finding Online Marketing Info
  • Microscope
  • Promotion Tools
  • Bad Form Email
  • Weekend Reading
Week Ending January 12, 1997 Including:
  • Ad Placement
  • Oooops
  • Odd Bedfellows
  • Advertising Advice
  • Weekend Reading
Complete Indexed Archives(19 months of marketing and design) Complete Indexed Archives(19 months of marketing and design)

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