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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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Hungry in Hungary…
The mail was from Erik Arokszallasi was intriguing:
Our subcontractor prices:
Website development, custom graphic design: 8 USD/hour
JAVA, CGI programming: 12 USD/hour
Traditional Website promotion: 100 USD/100 Search Engine submittings(sic)
Special Website promotion: 130 USD (focusing in the 8 main SE's. Includes re-editing of the index page to 8 separate html sites along the requirements of the SE's. Our experience has taught us that to be on top of just a single Search Engine is far better than being in the middle of the pack of even a 1000 SE's)
Our associates are professionals with many years experience. Some of our programmers are professors at the worldwide known(sic) Technical University of Budapest.…"
Our experience of using offshore contractors is, well, mixed. And a glance at Erik's site left something to be desired on the design front…
Nonetheless, if you're on a tight budget, these hungry Hungarians may well be worth checking out. --John Blower
Online chat -- considered by some as the medium of perverts and wackos -- could be a killer application for business, according to a report by Internet researcher Jupiter Communications.
In the report, "Revenue Prospects For Online Chat," New York-based Jupiter distinguishes between two types of chat -- social and service-oriented. Many sites have added social chat to spur user interest and generate traffic at their sites and to develop a sense of community, the report said.
However, Jupiter said that the audience for social chat will grow only slightly, with less than a third of the online population using this medium regularly in five years.
"Sites that use chat as a primary content offering will have limited market potential since they lack either the traffic of the aggregator sites or the affinity group audiences of niche-oriented sites," the report said.
The real growth market, according to Jupiter, will be service-oriented "publisher-to-user" communication. This type of interaction would allow, for example, customers to have a real-time chat with company employees such as customer service representatives. Using online chat mechanisms in this kind of forum would allow companies to deal efficiently with clients, aiding in areas such as client relationships, marketing, and sales.
As these company-to-customer applications become more common, the report added, outsourcing chat will become a growing business. Hiring an outside company to administer a chat site will be a good way for companies that don't need serious back-end integration, the report said. --John Blower
A domain name has the potential to be a valuable business asset.
But suppose you, as a small business, happen to own a name which is subsequently claimed by a behemoth? You will probably be in receipt of threatening legal letters in an attempt to force you to relinquish rights to the name.
Resistance may well pay off, as a small British company recently discovered.
Lawyers for Prince Plc., a small British computer training company that holds the rights to Prince.com, said they had successfully held off an attempt by the giant U.S.-based sporting equipment maker Prince Sports Group to seize the disputed Internet domain name.
Ron Dreben, a U.S.-based lawyer representing Prince Plc., said he saw papers filed by Prince Sports Group.
"It is my understanding that they have withdrawn," Dreben said.
Prince Sports Group was not available for comment.
If the case had been tried, it might have set a legal precedent as to whether trademark owners should have priority in cases where two namesakes are fighting over ownership of an Internet domain name.
In January, Prince Sports Group sent a letter demanding the rights to the Prince.com domain name -- even thoughthe London-based Prince Plc. had been awarded the domain name in February 1995 by Network Solutions.
Prince Sports Group followed up with a writ in the U.S.courts against both Prince Plc. and Network Solutions in July 1997, claiming rightful ownership of the Prince.com domain name on the basis of its trademarks.
Prince Sports Group said that it was the rightful owner of Prince.com, even though the British computer services company had acquired the domain name first. Prince Sports Group said it had registered British and federal U.S. trademarks on the Prince name.
However, the American sporting goods company withdrew the action last week before the issue could be decided by a judge, according to a statement issued by the British computer services company.
All well and good. But at what price? --John Blower
Small Office/Home Office
The structural change in the economy we are currently experiencing has given rise to an explosion in the number of small businesses. This new business sector is known as Small Office/Home Office - or SOHO. This sector is the fastest-growing in the economy, and will continue to be for the forseeable future.
There are two aspects to be aware of with this phenomenon. The first is if you are a SOHO business yourself. The second is if you are a corporation attempting to sell into this market.
If the former, there is an excellent online resource in Business@Home. This journal runs the gamut of issues affecting small businesses, with a number of regular sections including one on Marketing, which includes an index to previous articles.
You can alsosubscribe to the magazine for $9.98/year.
Consultant Jeff Berner has written a number of books and booklets on working from home. This former San Francisco Chronicle columnist also works with companies attempting to sell into this dynamic market. --John Blower
If you have your own domain name, a site of more than (say) 20 pages, and have been on the Web for more than (say) a year, congratulations! You're a pioneer.
Estimates vary, but it seems fairly safe to assume that, worldwide, the Internet has between 30 and 40 million users. The number of domain names is around 1.5-1.8 million.
Minuscule in terms of a world population of about 6 billion.
The current model of doing business on the Web seems to be that of selling one's product or service to others, both on and off the Web, using our sites as showcases for what we sell.
If we restrict our customer base to those with Web access, we are reaching only a tiny proportion of our universe of customers.
As a pioneer, you may wish to consider an alternative business model.
That of forming strategic alliances or partnerships with other individuals and organizations at approximately the same level of "web sophistication" as you.
There is a sense in which one can see the Web as a pyramid. Those at the top have considerable web "savvy" and are relatively few in number. The bottom of the pyramid is constantly expanding as newcomers get on.
Think about the unique set of skills, knowledge and abilities you have. Now consider which areas of skill, knowledge and ability are complementary to your own.
For example, if you have training expertise, consider an area of knowledge you don't know about. Ally your training expertise to an intimate knowledge of (say) widgets. What you have is the potential to sell "Web Use for Widget Manufacturers" to unsophisticated widget dealers.
Not quite the cutthroat, competitive model we're used to.
But probably far more effective. And everyone's a winner... --John Blower
Take a look at the Archives. We've indexed all the past issues with topic pointers.
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