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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
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Getting the Word Out
Regular readers of this column will be aware that we set great store on the value of off-line promotion in traditional media.
Creating an effective press release is both a labor of love and a work of art. And when your priceless words of wisdom hang together to the satisfaction of you and your SO, you are faced with the problem of distributing it.
There are a number of sites which list media outlets, along with snail and eMail addresses. But wading through the mountains of data can ruin a good few days.
Enter PR Web, designed to "serve public relations, corporate communications, and advertising professionals".
But don't let that stop you.
The free service allows visitors "to post press releases, conduct keyword searches of its press release database, post profiles of PR firms that are linked to their Web sites, post by-lined articles that are linked to the authors' Web sites, participate in threaded discussions with other communications professionals, list new Web sites in Internet search engines and indexes, and visit the newest sites on the Internet."
The site also hosts the Press Release Factory.
Select a reason for your Press Release (ranging from a Business Anniversary to Announcing a Website), fill out an easy-to-use form, and your Press Release is composed and distributed.
The price is a mere $20, which, if you value your time as much as we do, is undoubtedly a good investment. --John Blower
Want an Award?
We've always been leery of the value of Web site awards - after all, it all depends on who's doing the awarding, doesn't it?
There's no doubt, however, that the receipt of an established and prestigious award - Magellan or Cool Site of the Day, for example -- will lead to a surge in visitors to your site. Whether or not they return, or, indeed, are the right types of visitors are different matters, of course…
But with the proliferation of awarding sites, submitting your site for consideration can be tedious and time-consuming.
To the rescue come Web Potentials and Biondo Software who recently launched Award-It!, a one-stop registration form to apply to multiple award sites. Included are profiles of the participating award sites and the criteria each uses to judge a submission. There are currently 25 members and more waiting to be installed.
Award-It! presents an easier, less confusing approach to applying for awards. Fill in a form and Award-It! submits your info to all of the participating members.
Award-It! plans to add 200 members within the next 6 months. But not everyone who applies will be accepted. Applicants have their own web sites reviewed to determine whether they've mastered the elements of web design and presentation upon which they will judge others.
Of course, applying for an award doesn't mean you're going to win one... Happy hunting… --John Blower
Inbound links can be significant traffic generators for your site.
A number of issues arise if you wish to request reciprocal links from other site owners.
The first issue is the quality of the link you are requesting. Like it or not, your site will be judged by the look, "feel" and subject matter of the linking site. For example, if you are offering upmarket tours, a link from a 'zine aimed at "geeks" will hardly enhance your image. And, while clever wording may generate traffic, it probably isn't the kind of traffic you want or need.
Look instead for sites which have a thematic and complementary connection to your own. In our example above, a complementary link may be a restaurant or attraction at one of the destinations.
A further issue is where in the "pyramid" your chosen linking page sits. Net traffic cascades down from a few hundred "key sites".
One of the most popular sites on the Web - probably THE most popular - is Netscape's homepage. This is because most Netscape users have it as their default homepage. Traffic from there cascades down to the links on the page and so on down the pyramid, the traffic getting progressively diluted.
It is obviously to your advantage to obtain a link as high up the pyramid as you can. But you'll be in competition with key players and securing a highly placed link is neither easy nor cheap.
Another option is to locate niche leaders in your chosen field. A key niche site will attract a narrow, focussed audience. And, if your site is providing useful, fresh information for this group, it may come to be seen as a group resource.
But remember - reciprocity only works if it garners advantage for both parties. --John Blower
Domain Name Conundrum
Internet users appear to be blissfully unaware of the potential grinding to a halt of the Net when Network Solutions' contract runs out early next year.
As we know, the DNS system is in chaos already and the current proposal on the table - to ad a further seven TLD suffixes - will merely result in further chaos.
The news that another self-appointed international group had collapsed whilst tackling the DNS problem is indicative of the lack of creativity and consultation which is going into this potentially catastrophic event.
The other day, we donned our thinking caps to address the addressing quagmire.
We reasoned that multi-national companies have faced this dilemma many times in the past. Coca-Cola, for example, in France is "Coca-Cola France SA", in Germany, "Coca-Cola Germany Gmbh", in the UK, "Coca-Cola UK PLC" and so on.
So what's wrong with abandoning all the ".com's", ".org's", ".net's" and so forth in favor of universal adoption of the already accepted international country codes?
"interbiznet.com" would simply become "interbiznet.us". Our London office would become "interbiznet.uk". Organizations with branches in several parts of the country could register domains at a further level of distinction. Our California office could be "interbiznet.us.ca", while our East Coast office could register "interbiznet.us.ma".
This even works at an international - or "global", if you prefer - level. After all, all countries are divided into administrative regions: Britain has its counties, Germany its "lande", France its "departments" and so on.
As for administration, there already exists an international body, which seeks to represent all nations. It's called the United Nations.
Hands-on management could be carried out by a sub-committee of the Security Council, which would bring a healthy dose of multi-culturalism to a phall…(oops!) Americo-centric medium.
What's the catch? Too easy? --John Blower
Find and Be Found…
The essence of effective Net use is finding what you want to find and being found easily.
It goes without saying that search engines are essential in this quest. And with the expansion of the Net, both here and overseas, keeping up with what's out there is becoming more of an onerous task.
Beaucoup offers links to over 400 search engines listed by 14 categories from around the world. Both standard and more exotic search engines are listed.
Beaucoup is a super starting place in your search for regional/country engines. The directory is accessible in English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch and Japanese.
If you are after the maximum exposure for your site, you may be interested in a new submission engine, from Vision Computer Services called Global Link Free URL Submission.
Sites are reviewed by a live human - allegedly - before being sent through the process. Sites which do not make the grade (XXX content etc) are declined.
If you're feeling flush, then for a whole $25, your site will be submitted to their entire database of sites once a month for 3 months.
The service also includes a report showing the URL's location on the major search engines. This gives you the chance to improve their meta tags before the next submission comes around.
There is an argument, of course, which holds that it is better to have great placement in a dozen engines and directories than mere placement in 500.
After all, who goes to Search Engine #478? --John Blower
Take a look at the Archives. We've indexed all the past issues with topic pointers.
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