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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
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"...As Long as They Spell your URL Right..."
So Luann gets to go to the dance with Aaron Hill. A body blow to geeks everywhere.
I was stunned at the results of Greg Evans' contest, as reported in the "Luann" comic strip in the SF Chronicle of April 19.
I mean, what could the voters have been thinking? (Much the same as the ones who voted for John Major in the last UK election, I suspect...)
There was a URL printed in the strip. Readers were invited to visit the Luann website to check out comments by voters.
Naturally, I immediately logged on to vent my spleen.
Wrong URL. The printed URL, http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/Luann/contest got me a "Not Found" error message.
This is inexcusable. URL's are case-sensitive. Someone, somewhere didn't get it.
Moral: If your URL appears in print, double-check both the spelling and the case usage.
Finding a "Not Found" error message will not only lose you a visitor to your site, but will pretty much guarantee that they won't come back. --John Blower
We received an eMail from Digital ShowBiz of Penzance in England a few days ago.
It alerted us to a couple of "semi-free programs to search for leads, watch your competition, discover PR disasters in the making and "keep an eye on things"."
My antennae went up. "Semi"-free? As one with an interest in language, I was intrigued. I mean, something's either free or it isn't. It's a bit like describing someone as "semi-follically-challenged". (Hey! I'm in California...).
Anyway, I trolled off to the site to take a look.
In essence, these two applications are:
To be fair, the licences are modestly priced at between $89 and $129.
Do they work? Well, like so many other applications, they're not available for the Mac, so I can't say...
Check out the download section of this rather wordy site to see what other products, as well as the two mentioned here, are available. --John Blower
Back to Basics
"As the Director of Research and Marketing for Image Nine, a Web design and marketing firm in NYC, I do all the online marketing for us and for our clients. I start with the search engines and directories.
For each client, I seek out specialized directories and jump sites (sites or pages that include multiple links to sites about a specific topic) that will accept a listing (most are free). I personally submit the URL to each one to maximize the impact. You can use professional services such as Submit It! ; they will submit your site to a number of sites for a fee (and they offer a limited submission to 15 sites for free). This can be very effective and a great time-saver, but if you feel that your site can't be accurately described in 10 words or less, you might want to do it yourself or hire a firm that does custom submissions by hand. It's more expensive, but specialty sites may require it.
After you've gotten yourself listed in the major directories, consider using an advanced linking strategy, including reciprocal links (you link to me, I link to you). Look for relevant discussion groups, forums and news groups where you can post ****non-commercial**** messages (don't spam or post a blatant commercial message - offer something of value for free and only post to groups that welcome such messages).
Contributing to digests is good, too - post a response to inquiries or sponsor a few issues. If your site is particularly newsworthy or has a great feature that no one else is doing, send out a press release (several worthwhile services have been mentioned in I-Advertising.
And of course, there's always paid advertising. (There are also numerous award sites, so if you go this route be selective in who you submit to - choose ones that have credibiity and aren't part of somebody's "kewl" home page).
That, in a nutshell, is how you can get your name out there on the 'Net (don't forget offline marketing as well - that's a whole 'nuther ballgame!) If you don't have the time to do it all yourself, or if you're not well-versed in the idiosyncrasies of Internet marketing, consider outsourcing to a professional or firm that has experience doing so, such as Image Nine. If you want to do it yourself, I strongly encourage you to read "Publicity on the Internet" by Steve O'Keefe - absolutely the best, practical book I've read on promoting yourself on the Web. Tons of useful advice, with just enough theory to help you make sense of why you have to use caution in your approach and execution. I also just picked up a new marketing book, "Online Marketing Handbook" by Daniel S. Janal. Haven't read it yet but it looks like a winner.
I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to drop me an email!" --John Blower
Mentor Marketing Services of San Jose, California , claims that its "database is the most comprehensive collection of major and important information technology vendor companies in the world."
By its own admission, the company tracks only high technology companies, and being based in Silicon Valley, is ideally placed to track this fast-moving sector.
Essentially, Mentor rents out mailing lists compiled from its extensive database. Prices ($110/thousand for a one-time rental) are quoted up-front on their homepage.
The company also has a page dedicated to "Secrets of Searching the Web & Promoting Your Website", whch seems to be largely a promotion for their proprietary search engine, Eureka! Still, it looks to be extremely comprehensive, and, without having followed all of the multitude of links, I'm sure there are some nuggets there.
In addition to Eureka!, Mentor also produces a piece of software called Linkscan, which scans your site for broken and inoperable links. You can download an evaluation copy at the site.
A word of warning. The site is sprawling and difficult to navigate (for which there really is no excuse); it's very "wordy" and some of the "design features" (like the "rainbow.gif" separators) are positively antediluvian.
Still, if your market is High Tech, this site is worth a visit. --John Blower
Join the Parade
Web Link Express has devised an offline supplement for online businesses. It comprises a 13 week rotation plan that places advertising for their service in PARADE and USA WEEKEND and will hit all 50 states.
Their website lists their advertisers by category. The category listings are alphabetical. Each listing has a 4-digit code that a visitor to the Web Link Express website enters to be taken to the corresponding website.
This supposedly removes the difficulty of remembering a web address. The user can alternately scroll down to select a company by name from the category lists.
They should have no difficulty with server response time as they have contracted with UUNET Technologies of Fairfax, VA, the same people who are the 'official' access provider to the Microsoft Network(TM).
Web Link Express is prepared to provide the number of impressions that are 'linked to each advertiser through our website'... in other words, they will give you a way of tracking your own from- their-website-to-yours CPM.
This is all Phase One of their plan. Here's Phase Two, quoted from their materials...
"As Phase One completes, Phase Two will begin. The directories expand as more clients participate in existing categories and new categories are established. As demand dictates, the directories expand into a multi-page center spread and maintain the same proven regional rotation as in Phase One."
They also reserve the right to limit advertisers to three listings to 'assure diversity' in their directories.
What do you think? Would you pay $4k to advertise your site in Web Link Express? --John Blower
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