Find out more
About IBN



8 Corners of ECommerce

Register to receive
e-mail when
this page changes.

Email address

Hall Of Fame
8 Corners of ECommerce

Types of Links

Red Herring
H C I Readlist
Webstyle guide
The Pilot
Daily Webnews
I A Daily
Professor Pete
Ad Tutorial
Advert World
WebMaster Mag
HT Marcom
A1 Index
Submit It


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


All material on this
website is the
property of IBN
(The Internet Business Network)
You may download
a copy for personal
use. Redistribution
without permission
is strictly
All material on
this site is
© 1995. 1996. 1997 by IBN



Click OK to receive our occasional Newsletter

November 7, 1997

Whose Advantage?

Advantage Enterprises of Portage, MI claim to provide "effective solutions for your Internet Marketing needs". All well and good.

What's wrong with this picture, and why wouldn't we give them any money?

Well, the problem starts with the URL. Respectable as AOL may be in some circles, we're afraid it just doesn't cut the mustard with us. Having an AOL address is on a par with having no eMail signature in terms of inspiring credibility, as far as we are concerned.

If an entrepreneur can't be bothered to shell out a mere $100 for his/her own domain name, we have to ask ourselves how serious they are...

Advantage's site features vaguely worded text which alludes to many thousands of dollars accruing to the innocent who sign up for their "service". Which remains undefined.

The Web is about one-to-one marketing. Advantage, it seems, is importing the methodolgy of broadcast marketing and promotion into the New Medium. Its approach is along the lines of late-night ads for juicers onlyavailable from a PO Box in West Virginia.

We have no inclination to find out whether or not Advantage can deliver on its vaguely-stated promises.

What we do know is that the lessons inherent in the design and approach of the site are ones from which we can all learn. --John Blower

November 6, 1997


OLAF - the Online Advertising Forum - is a great resource for anyone even peripherally involved in Web commerce.

The site has ten distinct areas, ranging from News (covering both new and traditional media), to pointers to what constitutes good creative work on the Web.

We were rather taken with the tone of The Rant (if not all of the content), a regular column by Tom Hespos.

The site is somewhat annoyingly framed, so we can't give you URLs to any of the individual sections.

But having said that, we must applaud the overall concept and execution of the design.

All "pages" are restricted to two frames, with the smaller running the width of the window along the bottom, and acting as a constant navigation bar. This frame configuration is pretty much the only one with aesthetic and practical utility, in our humble collective opinion.

The logo - a kind of "bullseye" with an eccentric center - is muted on the first page, but is boldly rendered on the rest of the site. Graphics are, on the whole, unobtrusive and fast-loading.

Check out OLAF - both for the marketing resources and the site itself.

--John Blower

November 5, 1997

Is Anybody There?

An associate was recently idly thumbing through the Sunday Classifieds when a job caught his eye. We were mildly surprised to see him scanning the job ads, as we know him to be temperamentally and ideologically unsuited for regular employment...

Nonetheless, noting that the advertisement offered the opportunity to apply for the position via eMail, he spent a couple of hours tinkering with his resume and sent it off in the body of a mail.

That was three days ago. He has not yet received any acknowledgement that his mail has been received, let alone been contacted further in regard to his application.

He's now not so sure that he even wants to interview for the position for which he is so eminently suited...

For a recruiter to so aggressively solicit candidates both on- and off-line and then not to respond within 24 hours is unforgivable, and can seriously harm the recruiter's reputation in the market-place. This premise holds for any category of goods or services which request input from a potential customer.

It's not even as if it's that difficult!

If you are using Eudora Pro, it's the matter of a few minute's work to set up an auto-responder through the Filters menu.

People who use the Web expect a rapid response when they respond to a request for information, not unreasonably, in our opinion.

Setting up a simple auto-response should be an essential element of your marketing strategy in the New Medium.

In the eyes of our associate, PDG's credibility has been irreparably harmed. And remember, a dissatisfied customer (or potential candidate) will tell ten times as many people as a satisfied one...--John Blower

November 4, 1997

Curioser and Curioser...

Our item yesterday about Traffic Magic prompted a mail from Terry Lewis of Lewis Publishing, who also expressed doubt about the veracity of the claims made by Traffic Magic.

Terry kindly pointed us to, which yielded precious little hard information.

Apparently, if you give the folks at IncBase Digital Corp. between $300 and $800 a month (plus $100 "set-up fee"), they will increase the number of "hits" your site receives by between 20 and 80,000. A month.

So how do they do it? Well, the page whose file name is "faq.html" answers no questions, frequently asked or otherwise. It certainly doesn't stoop so low as to answer a simple (and presumably "frequently asked) question like "How does it work?".

It does, however, describe the report that you, lucky subscriber, will receive each and every month.

It contains gems such as:


  • Top Referring Sites
  • Top Referring URL's, and the delightful
  • "General Statistics" ("Corporal Punishment"'s CO?)

Which are pretty much the kinds of numbers we get from our current server. At considerably less than $800/month.

The "homepage" contains the following "explanation":

"It works on our server where we install a mirror page of your web site's first page. This page will then forward all the traffic to your web site. We record all the visitors and log each event in your log file. There is no need to change your existing setup, and your existing traffic is not effected by Traffic Magic. In other words, Traffic Magic adds additional traffic to your existing one."

Which we don't find very helpful at all in explaining how this miraculous increase in site traffic will be achieved. In fact, the word "useless" is the one that springs to our collective mind....

Now, if anyone is going to raid our corporate wallet for $800 a month (plus, of course, the "set-up fee"), we think we're entitled to a far fuller explanation of the process than the one we quote above, in order that our boffins can assess it.

So how about an explanation, Traffic Magic? We'll publish it in full without any editing. --John Blower


November 03, 1997

Nice Try - But No Cigar

The pick-up line was all but irresistible:

"With our new technology 'Traffic Magic' we guarantee to multiply ten- or even hundredfold the number of visitors you get, or your money back!"

Terrific! Who wouldn't want to increase traffic at a stroke?

We duly fired off an eMail requesting further information as invited, saying we were interested and asking how this marvellous device worked. Which seemed quite reasonable, as we are sure you will agree.

The response was perplexing to say the least:

"The technology behind Traffic Magic took seven months to develop. The tests and software to implement it cost us a fortune. At this time we are not going to sell the know-how or license it in any manner. We have enough capasity [sic] to offer the service to a group of qualified and prosperous companies."

That wasn't quite the response we were looking for, and certainly didn't answer the simple question "How does it work?"

It got worse:

"My concern is that probably 80,000 hits is not an attractive objective for you. Let me ask you what kind of traffic would be worth while for you? Maybe we could offer you a customized version of our service..."

We don't think so. We'd like to know exactly what it is that we're buying.

We did a search in HotBot for IncBase Digital Corp., from whom the original mail apparently originated.

Zip. Nada.

Perhaps IncBase Digital Corp. would care to provide us with the names of a few satisfied customers.

And a signature file that included a URL and phone and fax numbers would help allay our suspicions...--John Blower

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

Check out the Archives....130 Weeks of Back issues including:

November 02, 1997
  • Narrowcast
  • Chatter
  • SOHO
  • Whose Domain?
  • Hungry in Hungary
October 26, 1997
  • Cheap Is Dear
  • Relationships
  • H=1 W=1
  • Relevant Measurement
  • Breach Of Security
October 19, 1997
  • Java Jangle
  • Clean Your Db
  • Caching In
  • Careful With Those Digits
  • World Wide Local
October 12, 1997
  • Buckets o' Blood
  • Index Your Site
  • Links and Traffic
  • View From Above
October 05, 1997
  • An Eye Out
  • Get A Grip
  • Wanna Be A Web Boss?
  • Bits 'n Pieces
  • Net Mechanic
September 28, 1997
  • Using Email
  • Sigs
  • Dot Not
  • Fulcrum
September 21, 1997
  • Using Email
  • Sigs
  • Dot Not
  • Fulcrum
September 14, 1997
  • Getting The Word Out
  • Want an Award?
  • Linking
  • Domain Name Conundrum
  • Find and Be Found
September 07, 1997
  • Wrinklies Online
  • Search Engine Blues
  • Sex Sells
  • Standards Guide
  • 7 Laws of Online Ads
August 31, 1997
  • Press Releases
  • Design Criteria
  • Online Seminars
  • Internet Myths
  • Narrowcast
August 24, 1997
  • 7 Cs of Successful Websites
  • Whisper It Not Aloud
  • Relationships
  • Real Call
  • More Email
August 17, 1997
  • PIU
  • Another Search Engine
  • SOHO
  • Dancing with the Gorilla
  • Deep Throat
August 10, 1997
  • Internet USA
  • Nation of Spammers
  • Lifetime Values
  • ENode
  • Tovarich
August 03, 1997
  • Too Good To Be True
  • Who's Pushing Whom
  • A Recent Poll
  • Sidebars
Complete Indexed Archives(32 months of marketing and design) Complete Indexed Archives(32 months of marketing and design)

Contacting Us
Call, fax, write, email. We'd love to talk about your project.

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