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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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Week Ending July 6, 1998

Gone Fishin'

John Blower is actually quite busy watching the World Cup. After nearly a year of intense road delivery of IBN seminars amd daily reporting, he's kicking his feet up in new digs. We'll run some of his best stuff from the archives in his absence.

Or, as the sign on the physicist's door said


--John Sumser

July 02, 1998

Good Site Design Practices

In a newsgroup to which we subscribe,, we came across these principles of good site design, thoughtfully compiled by Tobias C. Brown, with assistance from Alan J. Flavell, Sue Jordon, and Susan Lesch.

"1. Write for multiple Web browsers to provide easy access to the widest possible audience.

The World Wide Web is a multi-platform, non-browser specific medium. It should not matter whether people browse your web pages using Netscape Navigator 4.02, AOL Browser 3.0, Lynx 2.7, or NetPhonic's Web-On-Call.

Each browser ought to render your informational web pages without problems. If a Web page is designed properly, blind individuals using text-to-voice or Braille web browsers can easily access and review your work.

2. Condense textual content to fit the time and attention constraints of today's busy Web users. Take a look at Thoughts on Web Style,

3. Use small (byte-wise) graphics so graphics load more quickly in graphics-capable browsers.

It is not advisable to use GIFs for everything. It's of the first importance to make the right choice between JPEG and a palette-based format. Avoid blindly choosing GIF and then trying to rescue yourself from the resulting problems.

JPEG image compression Frequently Asked Questions

4. When using graphics, provide textual alternatives for image disabled or text-only web browsers and indexing agents.

Use of ALT texts in IMGs .

5. Run Web pages through a validator to test their compliance with HTML standards.

Modify pages until they validate, because compliant pages have a better chance of being rendered by various Web browsers, as the writer intends.

However, if you intend something that is impractical with HTML, it will be no less impractical for being syntactically valid.

Work with the strengths of HTML rather than trying to batter it into a WYSIWYG page design system.

Kinder-Gentler Validation

WebTechs Validation

What You See Is Not What Others Get on the Web

6. Run pages through Lynx View or Lynx-me or, best of all, view them using a browser like Lynx, to see how the "text-only" world sees your documents. Make documents Lynx-friendly.

7. Spell check your documents.

8. Establish a routine to help you locate and fix broken internal and external Web site links.

Doctor HTML

8. If your web site URL or eMail address will change occasionally, consider using a service that provides eMail forwarding and URL redirection.

9. Submit your Web site address to an appropriate newsgroup for a critical peer review.

10. Promote your Web site by adding your URL to search engines and directories. To ensure that people can easily find your Web site, it may be necessary to modify your pages to take best advantage of current search technologies."

Thank you Tobias et al.

July 1, 1998

Transactional Analysis

We all had copies of the book "Games People Play" by Eric Berne MD in the '60's and '70's. It analyzed human interaction in terms of three ego states - Adult, Parent and Child.

It seems to us, a lot of the time, that many site owners are stuck in the Child ego state when it comes to Web business - "Gimme, gimme, gimme!".

We have long believed that doing business on the Web is about incremental transactions. Gerry McGovern (of Nua Ltd), for example, writes a regular newsletter. We find his views by turns infuriating, aggravating, thought-provoking and eminently sensible.

The point being that Gerry, no matter what he says, offers us value in the form of food for thought.

At some point in the future, we would expect him to ask his large and loyal readership for something - a referral, for example. This we would expect - it's the nature of the transaction.

The Web is an excellent medium for facilitating this type of long-term, incremental, transactional relationship.

It's astonishing to us how many site operators simply don't understand this.

--John Blower

June 30, 1998

Web Bloat

The notion of "bloatware" is not new, our chum the Gorilla from Redmond being the primary offender in this respect.

But it seems to us that the phenomenon is increasingly infecting the Web, in the form of large, unwieldy sites which take an age to load. Like this page from Artura Design & Development , which sports several nice, fat juicy images each of which weighs in at a hefty 100k+. As suppliers of "innovative web design", they really should know better...

"Web bloat" is attributable to four factors:

  • Unnecessary markup
  • Image files being larger than necessary
  • Multiple copies of the same image within a site
  • Space (and time) consuming bells and whistles

(You can find an admirable e xposition on this topic at Phundria, "Scotland's first online lampoon magazine".)

So what? you may ask. We've all got fast modems, local unlimited calls and unlimited Web access, haven't we?

Apart from the general requirement for a site operator to be user-centric in both the provision of information and the design and architecture of their site(s), in the UK, for example, all calls are metered.

Indeed, some UK service providers are now placing restrictions on outbound bandwidth consumed by their non commercial customers. If you exceed the limit on some sites, you're told either to shut down or go commercial. On other providers, you get shut down for a day.

While we expect the UK telecom model to emulate the US one, in the shorter-term, most non-US telecoms meter all calls. And as the Web reaches saturation in the US (the rate of increase has already started to slow), so more and more people from "the Rest of the World" will be looking at your handiwork...

--John Blower

June 29, 1998



Peapod is one of a growing army of "home-oriented" service organizations (which seem to be particularly prevalent in the Boston area).

Essentially, the company contracts with local supermarkets, receives your order online, and delivers the goods to your door. This is the kind of service for which the Web is tailor made - you can place your order at any time of the day or night, specify brands and so forth.

Convenience is the name of the game, which makes this type of operation a boon for working parents, those with irregular schedules, or simply those (like us) who can't bear the thought of actually going to the supermarket.

Of course, one pays a premium for this kind of service, so we would ask ourselves whether or not Peapod will survive once the current rosy economic picture loses its lustre...

Interestingly enough, we found the Peapod site through a promotional floppy.


On the face of it, one would have thought that accountants would have recognized the utilitarian function of the Web and have been in the forefront of using it.

After all, for most of us here in the US, the need to communicate with an accountant is but once a year. And, in general, such information as needs to be conveyed doesn't need a face-to-face.

We picked - at random - a firm based in California. Their site was an execise in futility - it looks as if they have a site "because they should".

Instead of offering up-to-the-minute tax hints, a ready-reckoner and the invitation to receive files via FTP on a secure server, we have nothing more than a rather amateurish online brochure.

The company would have spent its money better by concentrating on traditional advertising and promotion, offering FTP to its existing client base and slowly establishing a web presence through regular, timely updates of information.

Utility is the key to successful exploitation of the New Medium.

--John Blower

LinkExchange Member

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

Check out the Archives....180 Weeks of Back Issues including:

June 29, 1998
  • Gone Fishin'
  • Search Tech
  • Mediocrity
  • Creating Deadly Sites
  • The Lenox
June 22, 1998
  • Want An Award?
  • Offline Promotion
  • It's Local
  • SOHO
  • Deep Throat
June 15, 1998
  • WebTV Design
  • Communities
  • Lifetime Value
  • Too Good To Be True
June 08, 1998
  • Logos
  • SearchZ
  • Gadget Gurl
  • Good Site Design
June 01, 1998
  • The Monkey Scratches
  • The Gorilla Speaks
  • Net Medic
  • WebTV?
May 25, 1998
  • European Design
  • Boys Of Summer
  • Relationships
  • Cheap is Dear
May 18, 1998
  • WinJobs
  • GifWizard
  • Tao of Design
  • Parry
May 11, 1998
  • Nice Niche
  • Scribes
  • Simple
  • Reveries
May 04, 1998
  • Tags
  • Trademarks
  • No War
  • Contentious
  • Sales Ambassador
April 27, 1998
  • George Lois
  • Dallas
  • Newsgroup Marketing
  • Pay 4 What You Get
  • Taking AIIM
April 20, 1998
  • Pragmatists
  • Asps
  • Bad Job Site
  • ClickZ Plus
  • Intellisys
April 13, 1998
  • Spring Break
  • Coming Of Age
  • Weblinks Co.
April 6, 1998
  • Pragmatists
  • Asps
  • Bad Job Site
  • ClickZ Plus
  • Intellisys
March 30, 1998
  • GIF Wizard
  • Intellectual Property
  • Job Corner
  • Technorealism
  • Surf Incentives
March 23, 1998
  • A Solution?
  • Lost In Space
  • Taxes
  • Guild, Schmild
  • WinJobs
March 16, 1998
  • Local Markets
  • DevShed
  • Hold That Thought
  • Peapod
  • Web Bloat
March 09, 1998
  • Tags
  • Trademark Domain
  • Transactional Analysis
  • Smart Art
Complete Indexed Archives(49 months of marketing and design) Complete Indexed Archives(49 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