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

January 23, 1998

The Lenox

The Lenox Hotel is a rather smart hotel in Boston. Their website is a model of good design and architecture.

Let's take a look at why - the principles upon which the site is built are instructive and worthy of note:


All the pages on the site feature the tastefully restrained logotype in the same position. Once the homepage has loaded the logotype, all other renditions are loaded from cache, which increases speed.

The same holds true of the sidebar and the link images.


Navigation is a snap, due to the image links at the top of the page, which are repeated at the bottom as textual links.

The labels themselves are self-explanatory and descriptive - there can be no doubt about where you are or where you are going.


Within the site there are numerous images. They have all been reduced, and with few exceptions, serve to illuminate and enhance the text.

They are placed in such a way that they load as the reader is perusing the text, thereby not detracting from the function of the site, which is, primarily, to inform.


The copy itself is lean whilst being informative. Paragraphs are, on the whole, short and to the point. The language is easily comprehensible and compelling.

All in all, a site which does precisely what it intends to do - which is to ring that 800 number.

--John Blower

January 22, 1998

How to Create a Deadly Website

Creating a super site is simple. All you have to do is go to a decent book shop and pick up any of numerous titles which will give you step-by-step instruction on how to do it.

(You don't even need to fire up the car - just point your browser to Amazon, and an even greater choice awaits you.)

What's really difficult, however (and something no book will instruct you in), is how to put together a site which is guaranteed to send visitors to their bookmark file within seconds of hitting your site.

So, as we start a new year, dear readers, here, for easy reference, are a few pointers on how to deter visitors from ever penetrating the really interesting stuff at your site.

Remember, your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to:

  • Drive away users;
  • Obfuscate what your company does;
  • Look like a rank amateur.

Drive Away Users

A good start is to present users with a long registration form before allowing them entry to the site. The form should ask questions like income, number of siblings, pre-existing medical conditions etc. Ideally, users should require a password which will be eMailed to them.

Include some background music in an obscure audio format which requires users to download a plug-in, quit, install, re-boot etc.

Use plenty of proprietary tags, and include lots of "Best Viewed with....." graphics;

The "homepage", when finally reached, should feature a huge graphic in millions of colors. Anything under 100k is inadequate. ALT tags should be omitted, as should "H=" and "W=" tags.


This is more difficult than it sounds, requiring as it does the use of complex, industry-specific jargon (liberally spiced with words like "awesome" and the prefix "cyber-"), the grammar of which should include an unnecessarily large number of dependent clauses, which are preferably provided by the Research & Development Department in conjunction with the Director of Marketing, all of which tend to upend the existing paradigm , but only within the context of an aggressively post-modernist organization, despite the need to explore and develop an evolutionary (as opposed to revolutionary) business model which takes into account the restrictions of the New Medium.

Don't forget a "Mission Statement", "Our Goals", and "Our Vision". And the obligatory statement from the Chief Executive along with an unflattering image (see above).

Never include any contact information. Unless it's on level 8 of your site.

Look Like an Amateur

Needless Capitalization Is a Good Start, But Don't Forget; the Unnecessary punctuation And. Particularly Not The exclamation Points!!!!!!!!!

Bad spelling is more difficult than it appears, but homonyms usually escape spell-checking. "Its" and "it's" are good ones as are "they're" and "their".

Be reckless! With the degradation of written American, it can actually be quite difficult to come up with prose which is riddled with spelling errors which doesn't look OK to the average user.

Adverbs are fertile ground. "We do it good and quick" is the kind of thing we have in mind. But don't, under any circumstances, use the word "hopefully". Chances are, in attempting improper usage, you will stumble upon the correct usage.

Use frames in profusion, no less than five per page. If frames are beyond you, use tables - the bigger the better!

And remember - never, ever integrate your web efforts with any of your other publicity of promotional material....

--John Blower

January 21, 1998

What's In It For Me?

We recently found ourselves at the homepage of Zenith Media Germany (don't ask us how....).

In fact, when we got there, we wondered why we'd bothered. We'd been distracted by a telephone call, and, on returning to the screen, were somewhat bewildered as to what could have brought us there.

You see, the homepage has seven large buttons on it, labeled as follows:


  • About Ourselves
  • How We See Ourselves
  • Our Philosophy
  • Our Strengths
  • Our Working Principles
  • Our Vow; and
  • Contact Zenith

We wondered what this had to do with us.

After all, once the initial excitement of indiscriminate surfing wears off (after about six months in our experience), users tend to use the Web to find specific information, goods or services.

Bluntly, no matter how how attractive your site, revolutionary your business model, unique your product(s) or service(s), if your homepage doesn't state, in no uncertain terms, what you can do for the user, it is simply not fulfilling its function.

There's simply no time or space for convoluted "Mission Statements" or words of wisdom from the guy with the big stock options.

Your homepage should answer the user's question, whether or not they are framing it consciously:

"What's in it for me?"

Oh yes, Zenith Media is "an independent media agency and a 100 % subsidiary of CORDIANT PLC, London".

But what do they do?

--John Blower

January 20, 1998

Global Reach

According to Global Promote, 1997 saw the number of Web users whose first language is not English grow from 10 million to 30 million. This is about one-third of the world's entire online population.

Indeed, Europe's total population of 525 million includes around 17 million people online whose native language is not English (of which around 6-7 million are on the Web), and it is growing at some 15% per month.

Asia is clearly the largest Internet user growth area. Although many of these users learn English in school, they prefer to surf the Web and find information in their native languages. A recent analysis of the server logs of ShopUSA, a Japanese and English language shopping site, revealed that nearly 99% of the visitors from .jp domains (Japan) immediately clicked the link to the Japanese language version of the site.

So how to communicate with all these people? The "English Method" of communicating with non-English speakers - enunciate very clearly and raise one's voice - is, fortunately, not an option.

Which is where Global Promote comes in. They combine translation of Web pages with Web site promotion in all languages that are appropriate for online marketing.

Through "a unique network of highly skilled Internet marketing specialists throughout Europe and Asias, a client's Web site will be localized and heavily promoted in the countries chosen".

Global Promote uses the following techniques to build Website traffic:

  • Referencing the Web address in local language indexes
  • Online and offline public relations: press releases for the Web site in each language desired, to the press available in that language
  • Making mention of the new site's address in the Newsgroups, mailing lists and newsletters published online in the target language(s)
  • Strategic linking to other sites of complementary subject matter
  • Banners: targeted placement of banners on popular Web sites in every country or on sites having a similar subject to the client's site

Whilst we see "localization" as a trend to follow in the coming year, we also like the notion of inclusiveness on a global scale that sites like Global Promote seek to foster. --John Blower

LinkExchange Member

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

Check out the Archives....160 Weeks of Back issues including:

Jan 19, 1998
  • It's Local
  • Dodgy Data
  • Elementary?
  • Novices
Jan 12, 1998
  • Communities
  • Is It Worth It?
  • Luncheon Meat
  • Web Rings
  • Marketing With Titles
Jan 05, 1998
  • Holiday Greetings
  • Website Garage
  • AArgh!
  • Year End Forecasts
Dec 21, 1997
  • Surveys
  • Communications Arts
  • Daily Brief
  • Click Trade
Dec 14, 1997
  • Whose Eyeballs?
  • NPR
  • Cool Tools
  • Hamsters?
Dec 07, 1997
  • Color Of Money
  • Resources
  • Search Engine Tuneup
  • Nice Makeover
  • European Design
Nov 30, 1997
  • Site Design
  • Statistics
  • Semi Free
  • Thanksgiving
  • Visitors
Nov 23, 1997
  • Easy Shopping
  • Great Content Wins
  • "Skinny" Graphics
  • Site Design
  • Net Mailer
Complete Indexed Archives(36 months of marketing and design) Complete Indexed Archives(36 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