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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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February 06, 1998


Every week, we get several hundred notifications of new sites on the Web from a variety of sources.

The number we take the time out to visit? Half-a-dozen at most.

What's up with us? Jaded? Maybe.

Perhaps we need a new pair of eyes to re-open our half-lidded pupils.

We equipped our intern - a charming 21 year-old, just out of a relatively obscure college in the North-West, who we had employed as a favor to her wealthy mother - with a laptop and an account and said to her "Tell us what's new and exciting out there."

Back came the answer: "Not a lot".

Admittedly, the typical "come-on" is hardly exciting. Take a look at this one for example:

4. NEW YORK, NY-Blue Dingo Digital announced the assignment of the Outback Steakhouse Restaurants Web Site.

What's wrong with this? And why did Monika (our intern) find it as unappetizing as we did?

Easy. It's poorly written. Unless you're a serious Australian carnivore, what possible interest could this release have for you?

However, had the copy read:

"A herd of herbivores hang out just outside Sydney, Australia. Why? Click here to find out..."

we might all have been at least tempted...

The good people at were doing their client no favors whatsoever by releasing such a poorly-written release. And, of course, we assume that it was a mere oversight which omitted the apostrophe from "Restaurants"...

Get real. If you're crafting a press release, "craft" it! It's your first chance to get the great public interested in your site. Copy needs to be compelling and intriguing.

Let's face it, we're not all budding Shakespeares. If you know your imitations, hire a pro.

You know it makes sense...

--John Blower

February 05, 1998

Area Code 209

For an outfit based in "the Modesto/Fresno area", Zero1 is mighty pretentious.

As far as we're concerned, "Fresno" is a blip on I5 with no radio stations worth mentioning. However.

This site not only sticks its "Mission Statement" on Page One (we're not quite sure how we got there, but it's delightfully inarticulate), but also has the temerity to take over one's browser so that one is unable to navigate further without the implied permission of the "yoof" who run this site.

We find ourselves believing that Gerry McGovern is either a raving lunatic or a beacon of sanity in an otherwise insane world.

His most recent screed is one we find ourselves in agreement with. It predicts that the Web will get "back to basics".

Zero1 should subscribe.

--John Blower

February 04, 1998

Interactive eMail

If you communicate on a regular basis with your constituency via eMail, you know that the mail is being received, but there's no real way of determining whether the "call to action" to visit your site has been acted upon.

Interactive Direct Mail (i-mail), from MLS Computer Services is a program that lets you track responses from mailing list recipients by creating an interactive, personalized web page for each recipient. The page can verify and retrieve data while presenting your operation to the visitor in a "sophisticated and dynamic manner".

Each addressee in a mailing is assigned a unique web site address. A copy of the mailed data is loaded into the i-mail WWW server. When the addressees visit their web pages, the system accesses their record and presents the personalized page. The nature and content of the site is designed by the business and can be made to update with each subsequent visit. This "Visit Tracking" will also monitor how frequently the site is visited.

Data verification can be achieved by simply inviting individuals to review their name and address as it appears on the site, and make corrections if necessary. In addition, more information can be retrieved through online forms, surveys, and questionnaires. The page can also be designed to "capture" the visitor's email address so that a follow-up email can be sent at a later date.

Links on the page provide convenient gateways to the business' own web site, as well as to any other.

You can sign up for a demo of this service at the MLSC site. There is no information as to the cost of the service.

--John Blower

February 03, 1998

Tenagra Awards

This week marks the opening of nominations for the 4th annual Tenagra Awards for Internet Marketing Excellence.

The Tenagra Awards are the Internet marketing industry's oldest peer-review awards program. Selected by a panel of leading Internet marketing experts, each year the awards spotlight the top achievements and innovations in the fields of Internet marketing, public relations, advertising and business success.

The Tenagra Corporation created these awards to strengthen the credibility and enhance the visibility of the Internet marketing industry. These awards provide specific examples of significant success stories within the industry.

Awards will be given in five categories:

  • CATEGORY 1: Successful Internet Business Model
  • CATEGORY 2: Online Public Relations Success
  • CATEGORY 3: Online Advertising Success
  • CATEGORY 4: Publication Focused on Internet Marketing
  • CATEGORY 5: Individual Contribution to Internet Marketing

The deadline for nominations is March 3, 1998. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Ad:tech Chicago Conference, May 6-8, 1998.

This year's Nominating and Review Committee members are:

Brad Aronson, president, i-Frontier (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Kim M. Bayne, president, wolfBayne Communications (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Alfred R. Bredenberg, principal, COPYWRITER.COM (Cornwall, Connecticut)
Glenn Fleishman, conference chair, Web Advertising '98/New York (Seattle, Washington)
Mark Grimes, president, e/y/e/s/c/r/e/a/m interactive (Portland, Oregon)
Richard Hoy, vice president of marketing, The Tenagra Corporation (Houston, Texas)
Clifford R. Kurtzman, Ph.D., president and CEO, The Tenagra Corporation (Houston, Texas)
Steve O'Keefe; president, Internet Publicity Services (Port Townsend, Washington)
Jim Sterne, president, Target Marketing (Santa Barbara, California)
Danny Sullivan, President, Calafia Consulting (London, England)
Eric Ward, principle, The Ward Group (Knoxville, Tennessee)
Kristin Zhivago, editor, Marketing Technology (Jamestown, Rhode Island)

Complete information on the awards and how to apply is available at:

--John Blower

Feb 02, 1998

Organizing your Linen Closet

We were wondering just the other day how, with the change of season, we would store our festive linens until the next season of good cheer.

Fortunately, the television happened to be tuned to Martha Stewart Living. Martha (who some believe to be an anally-retentive lunatic) gave an admirable exposition on the storage of table and bathroom linens in a dedicated closet.

We resolved henceforth to religiously iron our towels, sheets and lace curtains and store them as instructed...

Martha referred to her website several times during the course of her counsel. So we pointed our browser in her direction to take a gander.

The site is "Best Viewed with IE 4.0". Not a good sign. Fortunately we had it on tap, so we quit Netscape, fired up IE and wended our way back...As if!

More importantly, the site bears all the hallmarks of content having been imported wholesale from printed material. Text is excessively wordy - particularly the Introduction, which includes a link to Internet 101, Martha's guide to "getting online". Which is, of course, only accessible through the site...

The "splash page" rambles on for ages, and provides no obvious onward link, which could be very confusing for naive users. It would make a spiffing introductory page for a magazine, however.

Navigation in general is a mite confusing, and includes a link to Martha's Meeting Place. Which will be open "early next year". Presumably in 1999.

This last is particularly odd. Martha seems to be using a traditional print media model for her site. Yet we doubt she would include a page entitled "Readers' Letters" comprising simply the rubrick "We have no letters at this point, but buy next month's magazine, which may, with any luck, have some".

The lesson here is that the New Medium simply ain't the old one. It requires a different sense and sensiblity, imposes different constraints and opens up new opportunities.

Martha can find me by clicking on 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:

Feb 02, 1998
  • Link Info
  • Recruiting Design
  • Were They Thinking?
Jan 26, 1998
  • What's In It 4 Me
  • Global Reach
  • Deadly Sites
  • Accomodating Design
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)

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