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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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May 09, 1997

NetCards! etc.


How about some Web Cards?

What, you haven't heard of them? Well, neither had I until I got some email from the developer of this new marketing tool.

A Web Card is a 4-color postcard with a picture of your home page and the URL on one side, and a marketing message on the other. You just address them and drop them in the mail.

A great way to stay in touch with prospects and a nice direct mail piece for companies you would like to turn into prospects.

The price starts at a modest $95.00 for 500 4X6 inch cards. Larger quantities are available. Visit Web Cards at

LinkMonster has had a complete make over.

Now you can get much better placement and take advantage of the new search engine Larry Steinberg has installed. LinkMonster is on its way to become a major directory of web sites. Go to and make sure you are listed. It could get you a lot of traffic.

Opportunities Only Search Engine is a new site featuring listings of (surprise) business opportunities only. They're just getting started, so your free listing will not be buried under thousands of others. Worth the time to visit and submit if your site deals with any type of business opportunity. --John Blower

May 08, 1997

Lush Site...?

The eMail said:

"O'Reilly/Songline Launches Site for Serious Web Designers

We have created a lush Web site and email discussion list for serious Web designers. The site includes programs, bug fixes, book excerpts, and industry articles, as well as special deals on our Web design books."

"Recognition at last," I thought.

I immediately zipped off to ia/ to have a gander.

Lush? If this is lush, then my '72 Dodge Dart is a Rolls-Royce!

In fact, the site is a thinly-disguised ad for the O'Reilly series of books (remember them?).

It has a couple of internal links, which lead to puffs for books about "GIF Animation"(yes, well...) and "Shockwave".

Nonetheless, I joined their mailing list. Some other suckers with a sense of what they're about may join it and send over a few hints.

Watch this space. --John Blower

May 07, 1997

PR No-No's

George Matyjewicz reports that:

"Jack Olmsted, Editor-Investigative Digital Journalist, of Future Media Organization asked members of his group to comment on the onslaught of press releases they received before, during and after a couple of trade shows. The goal of the group is to develop a media data base for the public relations community. We thank Jack for allowing us to reference his work.

We summarized the responses of the survey and posted them at our Automated Press Release site. The summary is ranked by the biggest complaint first.

1. Follow up calls/faxes. This seems to be the biggest complaint of the press. After sending them your press release, don't waste their time by calling to see if they got it.

2. Unclear press release. They receive hundreds of press releases daily. If yours is too long or unclear, or does not seem to apply to their publication, it will not be used.

3. Inappropriate material. The PR firm sends a release to a publication without knowing the audience or what the publication is all about.

4. Many calls/e-mails from same PR firm about the same press release. It's bad enough to follow up with a telephone call, but to have many members of the firm call is ridiculous!

5. Blank or meaningless subject line. The subject line should reflect the contents of your release. If you are sending a press release around a trade show, put the show in the subject name. Those who are using Eudora can filter the press release to the proper mailbox.

6. Vaporware. Sending a press release about a new product that is expected to be released in two months, without a URL to look at for downloading. Or a start up company with big expectations and nothing to back them up.

7. Attached files or demos. Don't send a word processing document as an attached file or as a zipped file that the contact needs to download, unzip, read into their word processor, determine the compatibility, print, review, etc., etc., etc. What an imposition!

8. Know your product/service. If you are lucky to speak with the contact, be sure you know your product or service. Don't read a pitch. If you are not conversant in the product, have a technical person available.

9. Be aware of time. If you are on the East Coast of the US., don't call the West Coast at 9:00 AM your time (6:00 AM their time). If you are on the West Coast, don't call the East Coast with a conference call at 4:00 PM your time (7:00 PM their time). If you are lucky enough to speak with the press contact, get to the point, and don't waste their time on the phone.

Also be aware of lead times if your release is time-sensitive.

10. Complete and Short Press Release. Be certain your press release is complete with a contact name, telephone number, fax number, e-mail address, company, product and, if for a trade show, the Booth number. Many companies (some major ones) do not include their reply address. Keep it short and to the point.


The details (raw data) of this survey may be found at Future Media." --John Blower

May 06, 1997

Problem Solving

All design is an exercise in problem solving, and designing for the Web is no different.

At its simplest conceptual level, there are four steps:

  • Understanding the problem;
  • Defining the goals;
  • Planning the steps;
  • and executing a solution.

This may seem self-evident, but a cursory look around the Web will reveal thousands of cases where these truisms have not been addressed or even contemplated.

And, like the simplest of ideas, devising a simple and elegant solution is extremely difficult.

There's an excellent article on "Timeless Principles of Design" by Clement Mok and Vic Zauderer at the consistently interesting Web Review site.

In it the authors examine these four precepts in rigorous terms. Well worth a read, although be warned that it's a huge file with some humungously large graphics. --John Blower

May 05, 1997

Bons Mots.

Writing for the Web involves a lot more than simple syntax, correct spelling (guilty!) and good grammar.

Reading from a page, we retain about 80% of what we read. Read the same from a screen and the percentage drops to about 45%.

This is because of the difference bertween reflected and projected light. As well as a whole bundle of cultural imperatives.

There are a couple of things which arise from this phenomenon as regards writing for the Web.

The first is your background. A white background is not usually a good idea. It's too tough on the eyes. Better to use a very light gray. (Try #F4F4F4.)

The second is layout.

In the '60's in Britain, The Daily Mirror newspaper paid their sub-editors an enormous amount of money. Their mission was to reduce every story to under 1000 words, with no paragraph more than four sentences, no sentence more than eight words, and no word over 3 syllables.

Pretty good advice.

I just failed to follow it.

Antidisestablishmentarianism. --John Blower

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

Check out the Archives....100 Weeks of Back issues including:

Week Ending April 13, 1997
  • Layout
  • JavaDoubler
  • Integration
  • Website Pricing
  • Japan
Week Ending May 04, 1997
  • Spell It Rite
  • Semi Free
  • Da Basix
  • Hi Tech Targets
  • Parade-a-thon
Week Ending April 27, 1997
  • The Edge
  • PR Central
  • Buckets of Blood
  • More Speed
  • New Modems
Week Ending April 20, 1997
  • A Canary
  • Search Tech
  • Free Lunch
  • Jumpin Jehosophat
  • AT&T Survey
Week Ending April 06, 1997
  • Speed
  • JavaDoubler
  • Integration
  • Website Pricing
  • Japan
Week Ending March 30, 1997
  • Germany
  • Banner Ads
  • Reasons to Send PR
  • 20/20 Hindsight
  • UFO Cult: Bad Design
Week Ending March 23, 1997
  • The Other 51%
  • We Wuz Framed
  • Bandwidth
  • Bad Design
  • Sling Shot
Week Ending March 16, 1997
  • Look Ma, No CGI
  • Banner Ads Revisited
  • Submission Wizzard
  • Labels Up to Scratch?
  • WebTV
Week Ending March 09, 1997
  • Cheap PR
  • Hard Copies
  • Ad Innovations
  • Don't Do This
  • Design Targets
Week Ending March 02, 1997
  • Web Balkanization
  • Mini Malls
  • Liars and Statistics
  • Multiple Search
Week Ending February 22, 1997
  • Direct Marketing World
  • Columbo, Not Just Yogurt
  • New HTTP Spec Speeds Net
  • All 4 One Search
Week Ending February 16, 1997
  • Finding Images
  • The Mining Co
  • Search Engine Stuff
  • Denounce
  • Weekend Reading
Week Ending February 09, 1997
  • Webmaster Secrets
  • New Search Engine Services
  • Learning From Others' Mistakes II
  • Learning From Others' Mistakes
  • Weekend Reading
Week Ending February 02, 1997
  • Purpose First
  • Ad Auction
  • 123 Domain Me
  • Publicity
  • Weekend Reading
Week Ending January 26, 1997
  • Drowning In Links
  • Ad Tutorial
  • Internet News
  • Cookies
  • Weekend Reading
Week Ending January 19, 1997
  • Finding Online Marketing Info
  • Microscope
  • Promotion Tools
  • Bad Form Email
  • Weekend Reading
Week Ending January 12, 1997
  • 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