((((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) December 23, 1999
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1. FEATURED ARTICLE: Getting Back to Basics 2. APOLOGIES: Multiple Newsletters 3. NET NEWS: * Mozilla Releases Preview of Web Browser * U.S. Internet Users Now Outnumber the Unwired * Hackers Say They'll Take off New Year's * Innovision Corp. Releases OpenBox Laboratory * Hotjobs Hoax * Juno Helps Junos Around the Globe
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >Submit & Win!
Every Thursday the Update features a new article contributed by our readers through our Open Publishing Initiative. We encourage you to submit your own article ideas. Those that make the cut receive a free copy of Adobe GoLive 4.0 and a cool internet.com T-shirt!
This week, contributor Erich Hugo lays out some strong opinions in his article "Getting Back to Basics" - that e-businesses shouldn't waste their money taking on the world with banner ads, but should instead focus on the basics.
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. FEATURED ARTICLE: Getting Back to Basics
The Internet, the 9th wonder of the world after Don King's hair, has given new meaning to the words: "They speak with forked tongues." The fact of the matter is that despite the hype, banner ads' successes are extremely limited. In a recent study by Cyber Atlas, it was found that a mere 14% of site visitors actually got to a Website via a banner ad. The bulk of Website travelers (60-odd%) stated "TYPED URL DIRECTLY" as their preferred method of going to a site. Watson could figure out without the help of Holmes what "TYPED URL DIRECTLY" is, and that it doesn't involve banner ads.
Furthermore, there is a misleading buzz being created to trap the unwary entrepreneur in magazines-formerly-known-as-intelligent. Mentioning their names could be libelous, so I will merely give a tip: Don't trust the magazines where the graphics exceed the content. With this "cool" lingo that they spin, they catch people by stating that impressions are cardinal to success. This is true if you want to brand your product, but not if you want to make a killing. Impressions are how many times a banner ad gets displayed. What you want and should focus on are "click-throughs," which are barely a fraction of the total number of impressions.
Banner ads aren't worth it. The truth is so obvious, but it is as if we are suffering from a mass psychosis on the scale of the Reverend Moon's cult; we refuse to see it. Why? Well, look at the amount of trendy magazines with pictures of the Nouveau Riche and remember where your advertising money went for your Website. It'll dawn on you, those 300 hits you got from this or that portal, for which you bankrupted your kid's trust fund to pay for banner ad? Well, although you did in the region of $800 in sales as a result, Web magnate Mr. Funny Hairstyle (sculptured for the fashion shoot) on the cover of the magazine just bought himself a new Lamborghini Diablo. Maybe next time the promise of selling your products to the people of Ulan Bator via the Web will not be so promising.
It is the toughest question of all: How do you market your Web site? What is the secret to letting the goose lay one of its golden eggs? The first step in getting where you want to be is to re-evaluate your vision. If the Web site that you built is supposed to be the golden egg, then unless your name is Jerry Yang, you're in for the toughest fight of your life. However, if you see it merely as a means to an end, then there is definitely hope for you. One must always remember that the World Wide Web, for all intents and purposes, does still adhere to many age-old business principles. Have a clear focus of what your product or service will be, know who you want to sell it to, and know how to reach those customers.
It crystallizes and you visualize - The swinging 60's are back and Lava Lamps are going to kill the market all over again. The bandwagon is still in the stable when you saddle your pony and you're off.
The who, what and where. You read, research, scribble and burn the coffee and then you realize your market. So why waste time? Focus on what you know and want. Don't consider selling to the inner- Mongolian Budgie feeders and don't be swayed by the "world is your market" hype. It does not really work and if you think about it, Lava Lamps are not burnable, so they will not have a use for it on the Siberian flatlands. So Lava Lamps are actually for the "20-to-25 year-old with disposable income" niche market. They generally call this breed of people "Students."
Maybe you notice that within a 500-mile radius of your base of operations there are three universities, each with 10,000+ students. Shipping expenses will not be a killer.
>Building Your Website
Don't be fooled, because here and right here the forked tongues come into play. They come in the guise of "those-in-the-know-people" suites. A good Web site should not cost you an arm and a leg. It should not get your husband or wife to leave you. The Web site is just part of the parcel deal, and if it costs you more than your advertising campaign, then you have to reconsider your options. Look around you and you will notice that there are a host of good smaller Internet organizations that want your business, not your soul.
The God principle. How will you get people to stay and then come back to your site? Well, always remember that a paltry 2% of all visitors actually do go back to any given Web site. Furthermore, this or that company often claims that they have this or that amount of subscribers. This isn't the most important number; rather, ask them how active and loyal these subscribers are. A service such as Hotmail for instance, most likely has inflated totals, given the number of people with multiple active and inactive accounts. Two key words when it comes to stickiness: "Value added." It is still the best way to get people to come back. Carmakers offer people the ability to order customized cars, so why can't you send customized Lava Lamps?
Now you have most of the loose ends tied down and you're ready. In your bank account you have put away a specific amount to advertise. You investigate and see that you can afford two rotations on one of the big search engines. Don't do it! This isn't the most effective way for you to use your money. The key word is PRINT. There is no bigger and better way to get your Web site visibility than to have its name and URL appear somewhere on a newspaper page. Even the local church pages are better visibility then 20 seconds on Mr. Funny Haircut's Web site. And much cheaper, for that matter. Why not contact local printers at the three universities and have them print fliers for your business (with the URL, of course)? Then get a couple of students to hand out these wonderful messages on the various campuses. Your return on advertising investment will almost surely be bigger than funding someone else's golden egg. Fliers give new meaning to stickiness and so does billboard advertising.
True, after you have sold your ten thousandth lava lamp, you'll probably want to expand your base of operations. But in the beginning, sell to those who you will be able to suss out. Don't worry about having the Masai warriors interested in your Website.... For now.
About the Author: Erich Hugo is a South African who has worked in South Africa, Russia, North America and Europe on a variety of Internet-related jobs. Currently, he is the Content Manager for NordstrÃ¶m & Ãhman WCJ., subsidiary for Young and Rubicam (Sweden). You can contact Erich at firstname.lastname@example.org, or http://www.wcj.se and http://www.internext.co.za/scifi
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. APOLOGIES: Multiple Newsletters
Unfortuately, some of you loyal readers received multiple copies the Update last week. We won't go into the nitty-gritty of why this occurred, but suffice it to say, we're genuinely sorry if you've been inconvenienced, and we're taking steps to try and keep it from occurring again in the future. If its any consolation, we get more copies of the darned thing than you do.
Thanks for bearing with us - we've got big plans for the new year, including some new expert columnists, so stay tuned.
- Your WebRef Editors, Andy & Eric
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. NET NEWS: Mozilla Releases Preview of Web Browser, U.S. Internet Users Now Outnumber the Unwired, Hackers Say They'll Take off New Year's, Innovision Corp. Releases OpenBox Laboratory, Hotjobs Hoax, Juno Helps Junos Around the Globe
>Mozilla Releases Preview of Web Browser
Struggling to close the gap in the war with Microsoft, Mozilla.org has released a preview of its first full-featured Web browser. Mozilla, founded by Netscape Communications to handle the open source development of the Communicator browser, is referring to the release merely as the M12 build. But after review by Mozilla contributors and other followers, the build may gain "alpha" status. http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-1504904.html CNET.com, 991223
>U.S. Internet Users Now Outnumber the Unwired
A new survey by Zona Research estimates that 90 million adults are Internet users in the U.S., compared with 85.3 million adults who are not online. It is the first time that Zona's Worldwide Internet Tracking Study, which has been conducted quarterly since the spring of 1996, has shown more Internet users than non-users, Zona says in a news release on Tuesday. http://www.cnn.com/1999/TECH/computing/12/23/more.surfers.idg/index.html CNN.com, 991223
>Hackers Say They'll Take off New Year's
Several hacker groups have announced that they'll be following the White House's request to take the New Year's weekend off, and are encouraging others to do the same. Of course, they made their announcements on hacked Web sites. http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2413134,00.html ZDNet.com, 991222
>Innovision Corp. Releases OpenBox Laboratory
XML protocol vendor Innovision Corp. Thursday released OpenBox Laboratory. Accessed from Innovision's Web-based lab, OpenBox is an XML-to-Java Transformation Facility that enables developers to create their own Protocol Specific Object Models (PSOMs), or browse and download existing PSOMs. The laboratory model enables developers to test ideas on key industry topics related to Java and XML. http://www.internetnews.com/wd-news/article/0,1087,10_267071,00.html InternetNews.com, 991223
An Internet job listing lured about a dozen people to interviews at a CBS studio. There was only one problem... no one told CBS. http://www.salon.com/tech/log/1999/12/23/hotjobs/index.html Salon.com, 9912223
>Juno Helps Junos Around the Globe
Imagine the surprise at Illinois-based Juno Lighting when their stock jumped almost 20% for no apparent reason. Of course, the fact that their trading symbol (JUNO) sounds like the name of a well-known ISP couldn't have anything to do with it, could it? http://www.internetnews.com/rumblings/article/0,1087,81_266001,00.html InternetNews.com, 991222
That's it for this week, Happy Holidays!
Andrew King Managing Editor, WebReference.com email@example.com
Eric Cook Assistant Editor, WebReference.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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