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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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August 7, 1998

Is there a Doctor in the House?

The rush to the Web continues, seemingly unabated. Businesses large and small appear to see a Web presence as an essential as we approach the millennium.

As a result, "Web design" companies are springing up like mushrooms, catering, in many cases, top a perceived need for low-cost site design.

Now, as we all know, site design is an odd mix of technical knowledge, aesthetic sensibility and design skill.

None of which appear to be present at the site of Doc Dempsy Web Designs.

The site is a dreadful mishmash of clashing colors, mismatched fonts, textured backgrounds, scrolling applets and unnecessary animation. Which, of course, is the good Doctor's absolute prerogative.

However, much to our surprise, we found a client list at the site. Which, to us, indicates a woeful lack of forward planning on the part of the clients.

It's a trifle difficult to discern the Doc's charges, but sites appear to be in the $100 - $300 range.

Which strikes us as about $99 to $299 too much.

Remember - you get what you pay for...

--John Blower

August 6, 1998

Fat and Sassy

We have often discussed the notion of "Web bloat" in this column. It's a primary cause of slow network performance and excessive page download times.

The advent of WYSIWYG HTML editors a few years ago allowed pretty much anyone to create a site with absolutely no knowledge of HTML. Unfortunately, proprietary WYSIWYG editors - like Adobe PageMill and MS Front Page - tend to insert large amounts of extraneous code into the pages they produce.

So what? you may ask.

Well, multiply a few thousand million page loads a day by 1K of unnecessary mark-up, and a lot of bandwidth is being consumed to no discernible end.

So what's the solution? Well, in the "old days", we eschewed the use of editors entirely and coded in Notepad or its Mac equivalent, SimpleText.

This was tedious, but kept code to an irreducible minimum.

You, dear readers, can take advantage of Super NoteTab, a "bare bones" HTML editor for a stunning $5. (If you are on a budget, there's a freeware version, Super NoteTab Light.)

Unzipped, the app weighs in at around 2Mb. It's easy to use and includes a dictionary and a thesaurus.

If you're building pages yourself, you'll quickly come to appreciate the virtues of this app - you control the code that goes into your page 100%.

And if you're hiring a designer for your site, ask 'em which editor they use. If they use Super NoteTab (or any of the NoteTab family), there's a good chance that they know what they're doing...

--John Blower

August 5, 1998


In a recent issue of the ClickZ newsletter, Sean Carton, Managing Parter of Carton Donofrio Interactive, lamented that he had "become really bored with the 'net lately".

He expanded this notion by noting that, as the New Medium is increasingly adopted as a means of communication by large corporations, so content has become increasingly bland. It's becoming like network television - the desire not to offend becomes paramount, and the result is a vanilla Web.

We're inclined to agree with Sean. So what is it that inclines us to view the few sites we visit on a regular basis?

Easy. The existence of a defined "Point of View". Sean cites the inestimable Jakob Nielsen, a judgment which we can endorse with enthusiasm. We would also cite RageBoy, and his nemesis David Weinberger.

The point here is that, while we may not always agree with Jakob, Chris or Dave, we know that, when we visit their sites, we are guaranteed to find something thought-provoking (or, in the case of RageBoy, something downright offensive).

Writing for the Web is a vastly different undertaking from writing for print. We suspect the blandness of much Web content is due to a misunderstanding of this basic truth.

So, if you are providing regularly-updated content at your site (of course you are! Aren't you...?), give it a provocative PoV. The result will be a loyal cadre of repeat visitors. we guarantee it...

--John Blower

August 04, 1998

Don't Just Shout - Yell!

Yell is, apparently, the UK Yellow Pages Online. The organization seems to claim some expertise in the New Medium, as it has instituted the "Yell Awards".

These claim to offer recognition to UK websites in a variety of categories.

We tooled off to the award winner for "Most Innovative Website". And found ourselves on the server of the venerable Co-operative Bank, an august institution which has been providing low-cost banking in the UK since time immemorial.

But "innovative"? We don't think so. The homepage takes an age to load (but perhaps that was just our dial-up connection), and features nothing more than an imagemap and what appear to be animated jpg's.

The "Yellow Pages" in the UK are part of British Telecom, which used to be part of the General Post Office until the wholesale privatization occasioned by years of Tory misrule.

Come on England! Getting knocked out of the World Cup by the detestable Argentinians was bad enough. Don't embarrass yourselves further by subscribing to the "Yell' view of the online universe!

--John Blower

August 03, 1998

Nua Ltd

The Irish firm Nua Ltd is an excellent example of how the New Medium imposes new ways of doing business.

This Dublin-based Internet Consultancy and Development firm regularly produces two newsletter. Nua Internet Surveys, published bi-monthly, gathers statistics on worldwide Web usage from a variety of sources, analyzes them and melds them into a coherent whole.

As such, it is an invaluable resource for anyone with a commercial interest in the New Medium.

It saves its subscribers time, inasmuch as they themselves do not have to search for the stats themselves.

The analysis is trenchant. And it's free...

Nua CEO Gerry McGovern also produces a regular newsletter, Nua Thinking, which is, by turns, aggravating and a beacon of sanity in an otherwise insane world.

In any event, Gerry always provides food for thought.

Nua, then, is in the business of providing information, analysis and opinion to its many subscribers. For free.

Which is the nub of the matter. In order to be successful commercially in the New Medium, the only workable business model is one in which you give things away.

Paradoxical? Sure. But it works. As evidence, we would cite the acquisition of a minority sharholding in the company - and a majority shareholding in Nua's Online Community, Local Ireland - by Telecom Eireann .

It's a fair bet that Nua will be around for a long time. --John Blower

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:

Aug 09, 1998
  • NUA
  • Yell
  • POV
  • Fat 'n Sassy
  • Doctor
Aug 02, 1998
  • Browserola
  • Recommend It
  • Web Design
  • Ireland
July 27, 1998
  • Iran 2, US 1
  • What's New?
  • Clutter
  • WebPosition
  • Surveys
July 20, 1998
  • WIIFM (Wiffem)
  • Global Reach
  • New Kid
  • Utility / Futility
July 13, 1998
  • 5 Cs
  • Take No Prisoners
  • Deadly Sites
  • Link Info
  • EGR
  • Great Recruiter
July 06, 1998
  • Web Bloat
  • Utility / Futility
  • Transactional Analysis
  • Site Design Principles
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
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