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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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All material on
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© 1995. 1996. 1997 by IBN



Click OK to receive our occasional Newsletter

November 21, 1997

Mass Mailing

It seems that a day doesn't pass that our collective eMail boxes are not groaning under the weight of crude exhortations for us to join the growing legion of "spammers".

We have no real problem with the concept of communicating with large numbers of people simultaneously via eMail. After all, it is the flexibility and the "instant" nature of eMail communication which has resulted in its stupendous growth over the past few years.

However, there is a Grand Canyon of difference between "spamming" a couple of million innocents and communicating with large numbers of people with whom one has already established a relationship.

Which is why we like NetMailer. This is a database-driven "send" engine, which is dependent upon a pre-existing relationship between sender and recipient.

In essence, it allows you to customize messages across sub-sets of your eMail contacts database, and avoids the introduction of a string of "cc:'s" in the header of each mail.

The NetMailer site is full of detailed information about this handy little app, and we were heartened to notice a forceful piece about the need to use it responsibly.

NetMailer costs a tad under $50, and is available from most software retailers.

-- John Blower

November 20, 1997

Web Page Design for Designers

Web Page Design for Designers is an excellent resource written and designed by Joe Gillespie and sponsored by Pixel Productions.

It offers web site design information and advice to those who are already familiar with HTML.

This site's main focus is on how to obtain an optimal design that is sensitive to both multiple platforms and screen sizes. Issues discussed include web page size, fonts, graphics and color palettes, and navigation.

Users can download tools such as a web page ruler, color palettes, and more. Web Page Design for Designers also contains a well-rounded listing of other resources.

We liked the way in to the site. The graphically-challenged might like the side door...--John Blower

November 19, 1997

Skinny Graphics

One of the most onerous aspects of most websites is the use of "fat" graphics.

You know the ones - they take ages to download, and rarely add anything to the page's message. Indeed, their inclusion seems to be based on the proposition "I can - therefore I will".

Of course, there's a knack to making "skinny" graphics. It requires a knowledge of graphics formats, the legendary 256 colors and how many bits per pixel you can get away with without a grotesque diminution in quality (it's usually fewer than you think...)

There's also the question of whether the images you want to use are strictly necessary....

If you don't know how to make "skinny" graphics (or simply have neither the time nor inclination), Site Speed may well be checking out.

It's a little application - modestly priced at $19 - which compresses images by trimming the "fat", whilst retaining quality suitable for the medium. The whole package includes:

  • An easy-to-use image compressor
  • Special Tips and Tricks to speed up your site through proper design
  • An onboard FTP utility to quickly upload your fast downloading images back to your site

The site includes some demonstrations of the utility at work, which we found quite impressive, although we thought some of the designs themselves left something to be desired... --John Blower

November 18, 1997


Christopher Wilkes, under the nom-de-plume (or perhaps that should be nom-de-guerre) RageBoy, is the producer, editor, features writer, cook and chief bottlewasher for EGR. Which stands for Entropy Gradient Reversals...

There are a number of things we like about this site. The first is the quality and insight of RageBoy's rants about the new medium. We like his style.

His article for msn, Secrets of Shameless Self-Promotion, is full of commonsensical and effective tips and tricks as to how to promote your site.

And we found The Power of Stupidity - Part Two by Giancarlo Livraghi (whose background includes an impressive career in conventional advertising, and who happens to be one of the founders, and the first chairman, of ALCEI - Electronic Frontiers Italy) an intriguing philosophical treatise.

But what we liked best of all was the fact that the site breaks all the rules of conventionally "good" site design and architecture. Mixed fonts and colors, animation, an endlessly scrolling homepage, screeds of unbroken text and so on and so forth.

And yet we continued to wade through it.


Simple. Great content.

We'll be back to this one time and time again. In fact, we've become the 1,718th subscriber...--John Blower

November 17, 1997

Easy Shopping

Software Development Associates "develops, publishes and markets Internet commerce products designed for non-technical users."

They're latest product out of the trap is called "Easy-Catalog". It's aimed at Web storefront proprietors who want a professional looking "store", but perhaps don't have the budget to hire a professional for a custom site, or have the time or expertise to do it themselves.

The concept is quite simple. Easy-Catalog is based on a "shop" model. The on-line catalog represents a business' "shop". Shops have one or more departments where products are displayed. The application generates a "shop page", a number of "department" pages and a further number of individual "product" pages.

In essence, it's a series of templates where you fill in the gaps with the appropriate images and text, and voila! - a ready-made website!

Regular readers will be aware that we are firmly of the opinion that, in the New Medium, "Content is King". We are fearful that the addition of an app such as Easy-Catalog, in untutored and unsophisticated hands, will simply add to the garbage with which the Web is cluttered.

Perhaps the answer is to hire a couple of specialists -- a copywriter and an image specialist perhaps -- to work with you and the application.

Easy-Catalog has quite a complicated pricing structure covering a range of options. The most basic level, comprising the app, 30 days of maintenance and unlimited Internet technical support costs $349.

The site is easy to navigate and admirably upfront about what you get and how much it costs.

But we wish they'd get rid of all those annoying non-breaking spaces...-- 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 16, 1997
  • Another Email Tool
  • Using Print
  • Free Site TuneUp
  • Oh, Dear
November 09, 1997
  • OLAF
  • Whose Advantage?
  • Close - No Cigar
  • Curioser and Curioser
  • Is Anybody There?
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)

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