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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 20, 1998


Discussions about the Internet often revolve around bandwidth, faster modem speeds, the latest "killer app" and other, largely peripheral technologies.

Forget about 'em. The Internet is about relationships: individual to individual, individual to organization, organization to organization.

Ask yourself why someone would visit your site. They probably want information of one sort or another. And if they can't find it at your site, they may mail you.

Your visitor will expect a prompt response, rendered in a friendly, knowledgeable and welcoming manner. They will expect accurate information - not a hard sell.

If the information your visitor requests is not immediately available, they will expect an immediate response telling them that and a follow-up with the requested information within twenty-four hours.

If this doesn't happen, your organization will be perceived as slow and unresponsive. And it will doubtless be perceived the same in terms of the delivery of your product or service.

This is the essence of doing business on the Internet.

It seems to us that far too many organizations do not, as yet, understand this basic principle. It often appears that they have a site "because they should" - they don't actually believe in the medium. The Internet component of their sales and marketing effort is seen as peripheral.

Too many sites are static, rarely updated, full of excessive graphics, and make no attempt to interact with their visitors.

The Internet is about building and consolidating relationships. In the Digital Age, we need to remind ourselves from time to time that it is this base which underlies the whole superstructure. --John Blower

August 19, 1998

Cheap is Dear

In a recent issue of ClickZ newsletter Rob Frankel, Principal of ad agency Frankel-Anderson propounded the decidedly retro notion of the Web as the Great Level Playing Field.

It sounds like Rob has been smoking the same stuff as the usually intelligently readable Gerry McGovern of Nua Limited, whose recent piece is a hymn to the notion that all information on the Web is - or should be - free.

Frankel propounds the absurd notions that "for next to nothing, our websites can look as big and as powerful as Coca-Cola's…" , and that "nobody charges you for access".

Last time we looked at our bank statements, we noticed a few items called "computer equipment leasing" and "charges to ISPs". And those items are just the tip of the iceberg, and take no account of site architecture, design and maintenance, not to mention the amount of time we spend using and contributing to the Web as a whole.

"Time is money"…or has that notion taken the same hike as Frankel's and McGovern's sensibilities?

Anyone who has been involved in the New Medium for any length of time will have realized that the Web consumes time, money and content voraciously. Our columnists, for example, do actually have to buy groceries and pay rent. And we're happy to pay them for their words of wisdom.

And someone has to pay us. And that's you, gentle reader.

There is a sense in which each and every one of us pays for the "free" information available on the Web, be it through an extra penny on a box of detergent or through access to Northern Light's "Special Collection" documents.

In fact, the Web is like any other business medium. It's dominated by a few big players (ever heard of Microsoft, Rob?). Which is not to say that, through astute marketing, a small organization can't carve out a small but profitable niche for themselves.

"Information wants to be free", whines McGovern.

Yeah, sure. So do Mercedes Benzes. But the people who produce both information and Mercs like to get paid… --John Blower

August 18, 1998

It's Local!

In line with the trend towards "localization" of W3 content comes the ComputerJobs Store.

This clean and well-designed site is solely focused on information technology jobs in particular geographic regions

The company does this through regional Web sites called "ComputerJobs Stores." These online job "stores" contain employment, job opportunity and informative career content specifically geared toward information technology professionals.

There are ComputerJobs Stores in Atlanta, Chicago, Texas and the Carolinas. Each "store" has the same basic layout with the same corporate logo, but is distinguished by being color-coded.

What we like about the site - apart, of course, from its exemplary design - is that the content is locally-oriented. For example, clicking on the "Career Help" button in the Texas "store" leads to a link to "Texas User Groups", a list of groups providing discussion and education for computing professionals.

The site is refreshingly gimmick-free and is a snap to navigate.

--John Blower

August 17, 1998

Dodgy Data?

In a recent edition of his newsletter, Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch waxed lyrical and enthusiastic about a gizmo called Alexa.

Alexa is a stand alone application which sits on your desktop. It displays who owns the site you are currently visiting and how well it is rated, in terms of overall traffic.

The ownership information is pulled from InterNIC records, so only .com, .org, .edu and .net sites are reported. Efforts are being made to expand this to international registries. Traffic data is determined by analyzing requests found from key Internet caches.

Click next to the window, you're shown even more information in a drop down box. The site ownership data is expanded, to provide a street address and phone number, if listed. You're also shown how Alexa users have voted for the site, plus a Yahoo Internet Life review rating and a RSAC rating, if either is available.

To get a sample without installing the application, simply enter:


where you replace SITE with the web address of the site. Don't include the http://, and keep in mind that at the moment, sites may be listed with or without www.

Which we duly did.

Unfortunately, the data for interbiznet.com proclaimed that the site was last updated in July 1997. Worse yet, data on one associate's site displayed an out-of-date address, while data on another incorrectly attributed ownership of the domain to an organization in Green Bay, WI...

Obviously, the type of data Alexa is trying to collect are extremely interesting and would be a boon to marketers. But if the data is incorrect, then it's worse than useless.

--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 16, 1998
  • Branding
  • What's That Tag?
  • Design Practices
  • Web '98
  • Standards
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