BUSINESS ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB

July 11, 1996


Transcript of the live chat session that took place Thursday, July 11, 1996.

These sessions are scheduled for noon-1 PM US Eastern Time (GMT -4) every Thursday.

These sessions are hosted by Richard Seltzer. If you would like to receive email reminders of our chat sessions, simply send a blank email message to businessonthewebchats-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/businessonthewebchats and sign up there.

For transcripts of other previous sessions and a list of future topics, click here.

For an article on how to make "business chat" work (based on this experience), click here.

Since the chat itself happens at a rapid pace, it's often difficult to note interesting facts in particular URLs as they appear on-line. Here's a place to take a more leisurely look. I've rearranged some of the pieces to try to capture the various threads of discussion (which sometimes get lost in the rush of live chat).

Please send email with your follow-on questions and comments, and suggions for topics we should focus on in future sessions. So long as the volume of email responses is manageable, I'll post the most pertinent ones here for all to see.


Threads --

Follow-on Discussion --

INTRODUCTIONS

Moderator - , 12:01pm : To day's chat is about businesses on the web. Who does business, what it's like, how it changes the nature of business, etc. Last week's chat was the first one in this series and it was really good!

Richard Seltzer - , 12:07pm : We're here to share experiences about doing business on the Internet -- particularly the World Wide Web. What works? What doesn't work? Why? What are the trends that matter? How can you/should you adapt to the Internet culture and environment?

I work for the Internet Business Group at Digital Equipment in Littleton, MA. In that capacity, I end up talking to people from large companies about how they can use the Web for business. I also have my own personal Web page -- which is content rich and no frills -- which costs me practically nothing and draws a fair amount of traffic and attention. The Web is a place where both big companies and the tiniest of operations can thrive. (I'm also a member of the Boston Computer Society.)

Richard Seltzer - , 12:08pm : At our first session, two weeks ago, some people expressed interest in on-line discussions about business on the Web. I mentioned that the excellent, long-standing mailing list known as "internet-marketing" had just died and that others were trying to fill the gap. I've compiled a preliminary list of such mailing lists and also of Web-based discussions and have posted it, together with pointers to other Internet-business resources, at my Web site at http://www.samizdat.com/news17.html#market

VID - , 12:07pm : First tim'er. Glad to be here. Hi Richard, Good afternoon.

Richard Seltzer - , 12:09pm : Hi, VID. Where are you? What's your main interest with regard to business on the Web?

VID - , 12:11pm : VID's in Boston. R.E.I.C. company as well. First & Foremost, "Reaching" People.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - , 12:15pm : VID -- Your message was a bit cryptic. What's your business and do you use the Web for it?

*HOT* Sunshine - , 12:08pm : Can we have your web page address, Richard?

Richard Seltzer - , 12:09pm : Hi, HOT Sunshine. My Web page is at http://www.samizdat.com/ Are you doing business in the Web today? What kinds of things are you doing?

*HOT* Sunshine - , 12:15pm : I "surf" the web quite a bit looking for ideas and interesting places to retrieve info. I am trying to get a home page together for my department for where I work. We have our own information system within our company. But I would like this page to be the most efficient and effective. Not too many frills, just enough though!

Richard Seltzer - , 12:17pm : Hot Sunshine -- I also keep a no-frills page at work, for folks on Digital's intranet. Take a look at that article of mine for the details on how to do it.

*HOT* Sunshine - , 12:19pm : Thanks, Richard. I will.

Flying Amber - , 12:09pm : Richard, where do clients seem to be coming from? Are there vast, untapped markets that you have a secret lock on?

Richard Seltzer - , 12:11pm : Flying Amber -- Clients are out there. The problem is letting them know that you're out there. I always suggest starting with contents -- lots of good, useful, free stuff at your Web site. Promote that it's there through listservs and newsgroups (discretely and appropriately). That's how you build an audience, which eventually becomes a set of customers'

Flying Amber - , 12:11pm : We're college students spending our summer getting money from unsuspecting people who want to get on the Web.

PK - , 12:10pm : There really doesn't seem to *BE* any business on the Internet. Or has someone seen something I haven't?

Richard Seltzer - , 12:13pm : PK -- There's plenty of business on the Web. But typically it isn't traditional business. The folks who are most successful are the ones who are finding unique ways to take advantage of this new medium, who aren't just mimicking what they did before. That's why a chat session like this makes sense -- to share experiences.

VID - , 12:13pm : Good point!

shudog - , 12:10pm : I work for a high tech public relations firm and I am very interested in the topic today

Richard Seltzer - , 12:14pm : Shudog -- Do you have a Web site? Or are you thinking of setting one up? -- One quick piece of advice: focus on content and forget graphics and fancy do-dads. Provide value, not glitz. It's far cheaper and far more effective than what many companies are trying today.

VID - , 12:16pm : Another Good point Richard. I think Filling a Site with graphx Just rends visitors Dis-interested.

Richard Seltzer - , 12:16pm : By the way, if anyone's interested in pointers on how to create Web pages yourself, quickly and cheaply -- as easy as creating Word Documents -- I just posted a how-to article about that at my site http://www.samizdat.com/lotech.html

shudog - , 12:16pm : I work for Lois Paul & Partners and we do have a web site

Richard Seltzer - , 12:19pm : shudog -- What's your URL? And what's the goal of your site? And do you feel that it's accomplishing what you intended?

shudog - , 12:21pm :http://www.lpp.com/! We have client listings and fun things to do in Boston and all different things. It is a pretty big site!! We also have an office in Foster City, CA.

Richard Seltzer - , 12:22pm : shudog -- thanks, I'll take a look at your site. Do your clients typically have their own Web sites? Or is one of your goals to provide some Web visibility for your clients?

shudog - , 12:23pm : They all have their own web sites. Our clients include Lotus, Shiva, Tivoli, FTP, SYBASE, etc...

utopian - , 12:16pm : I think two benefits of doing business on the web are that the web creates a "level" playing field, enabling the two-person shop to appear as large and as sophistocated as the $220m company. Secondly, the web provides a direct marketing channel that can facilitate an ongoing, interactive and immediate relationship between vendor and customer.

Richard Seltzer - , 12:18pm : Utopian -- I couldn't have said it better myself. Welcome!

*Sparkly* - , 12:16pm : I can buy or sell stock now on the web *feeling smart*

Richard Seltzer - , 12:20pm : Sparkly -- Do you mean that using the Web gives you the info you need to invest intelligently? Or do you actually buy and sell stock on-line?

*Sparkly* - , 12:19pm : I can even do grocerie shopping from my PC.

*HOT* Sunshine - , 12:20pm : *Sparkly*: Can you order me a pizza? I'm hungry!

*Sparkly* - , 12:22pm : Sunshine *smile*, what kind?.......Richard, both. Through Schwab

Richard Seltzer - , 12:21pm : Sparkly -- Grocery shopping? Interesting. I had heard of that as something for the future, but didn't know it was already active and successful. What's the store and what's the URL? What part of the country are you in?

*Sparkly* - , 12:22pm : Richard, I live in Mass. You have to get the software from them (shaws)

VID - , 12:21pm : Richard -> Newsgroups DO attract people, but, how often Need I post? R.E.I.C. manages Portfolios. P or B. I do Find, though, the Net is a great way for people to "open-up" about their own financial sit's and "let down" their vail, sort of speak, "Behind" the net.

Tennessee - , 12:22pm : Good afternoon from East Tennessee.

PK - , 12:22pm : Just curious: I'm way outside Boston, coming through proxies, gateways, firewalls, and looooong wires. Is this a Boston-only event?

Richard Seltzer - , 12:23pm : PK -- No, this isn't a Boston-only event. All are welcome. (But probably the publicity to let people know this is happening is more effective in Boston.)

*Sparkly* - , 12:23pm : PK, open forum *smile*....hi Tenn *hugs*!

dazed - , 12:24pm : hello

*Sparkly* - , 12:24pm : EMC.

Tennessee - , 12:24pm : Interesting. Very. I have been "lurking."

Richard Seltzer - , 12:25pm : Tennessee -- Welcome. How did hear about this? And do you hope to learn?

Tennessee - , 12:26pm : I am always open to learning. I am a long-time regular here!

Tennessee - , 12:24pm : Who is Mr. Seltzer if I may ask?

Richard Seltzer - , 12:26pm : I work in the Internet Business Group at Digital Equipment. I also have my own little Web site. I posted an identifier at the beginning. You might want to scroll back and have a look.

Tennessee - , 12:27pm : Thanks. Like Digital. Use AltaVista much. Will do. I'll just listen along...

Tennessee - , 12:32pm : Richard. Got an e-mail? Open to receiving occasional mail?

Richard Seltzer - , 12:33pm : Tennessee -- my email address at Digital is richard.seltzer@ljo.dec.com at home I'm at seltzer@samizdat.com either will do. And I welcome your messages.

Tennessee - , 12:33pm : I am at http://members.tripod.com/~Hall/index.html cvhall@usit.net


Banking/E-commerce thread

PK - , 12:27pm : We're all bozos on this bus (or am I the only one old enough to remember that?) In my experience there just isn't much business being *DONE* on the net except for marketing presence. Certainly not here in Europe. In the USA you should remember that elsewhere we haven't the same cowboy spirit (and security regulations) found in the US. I could tell you stories ...

Richard Seltzer - , 12:29pm : PK -- Where in Europe are you? And please share your stories. Remember business on the Web isn't just external to the public. It also includes use of the Web internally -- intranet -- which is already booming.

PK - , 12:33pm : Well, let me pose a question. I spent several days last week consulting to the computer/network staff of the central bank (= Federal Reserve) of a country on the good-food side of the Atlantic. Here's the question: how can they -- or can they at all -- use the net for their own goals in the near future? Put another way: what do you (Americans) want, over the net, from the Federal Reserve? For your business? Personally?

Tennessee - , 12:35pm : PK: In partial response, I try to follow the thinking/actions of Greenspan and Company. Would like to see some of their philosophy re management of the economy on the Web for public consumption!

Richard Seltzer - , 12:36pm : PK -- That's a big question. Short-term, I like doing banking on the Web -- transferring funds and paying bills and just knowing how much is in my account and what checks have cleared. Long term, there is an opportunity to reinvent banking and redefine money. Money is really just information. And the Web is great for moving that around. I'm also looking forward to microcommerce -- less-than-a- penny transactions. Digital has a project called Millicent that's aimed in that direction.

VID - , 12:38pm : Richard -> DID YOU KNOW: BayBank, (Soon to be BANKBOSTON) has on-line banking Via HOMELINK?

PK - , 12:39pm : Richard, regulations here in France won't let me do business securely (in my opinion, which is rather harsh).

Tennessee - , 12:39pm : Richard: One of my banks here in Tennessee, First Tennessee headquartered at Memphis, is going to on-line banking. Thought you might like to know...

utopian - , 12:40pm : Richard, do you have any ideas on an appropriate e-commerce business model that large retailers might pursue on the web.

[in the rush of things, the above question did not get answered]

Follow-on discussion after the chat


MISCELLANEOUS

*Sparkly* - , 12:27pm : I Also like these sites http://www3.switchboard.com/bin/cgiqa.dll?and http://s16.bigyellow.com/ ..very helpful

Richard Seltzer- , 12:31pm : Sparkly -- By switchboard, do you mean the site with white pages and yellow pages listings for the US? The URL you typed looked more complicated than the one I'm used to using.


DESIGNING EFFECTIVE WEB SITES/NON-VALUE OF GRAPHICS

ADJ - , 12:36pm : Richard, can you offer some general advice about designing an effective Web site which would set our company apart from our competitors? Also any advise about appealing to a wholesale and retail market on the same site?

Richard Seltzer - , 12:39pm : ADJ -- I would focus on content -- just provide the words/ information that your audience wants and needs. Keep it simple. Make it useful. The more content the better. And, if possible cover a whole territory -- a whole set of products and interests -- rather than just what you happen to have for sale today. Try to get your audience involved, talking to you and to other visitors at your site, and learn from then what direction to grow your site and to expand your business.

ADJ - , 12:46pm : Richard, how often do you update your site? Also, when marketing products/services, how important are graphics/photo's verses verbiage?

Richard Seltzer - , 12:56pm : Regarding graphics -- a picture is only worth 1000 words if it says something. Always ask -- what does the picture say? If it's just decoration, forget it. See you next week.

ADJ - , 12:51pm : tom mfg mgr: Do you limit graphics because of the download time, or is your product not visual in nature?

tom mfg mgr - , 12:59pm : adj- primarily because of the download time. we make the gif files optional ALL THE TIME. This woks well with industrial products/distributors. There is probably a higher graphic ration with consumers (i.e. fly fishing). What business are you in? tom

Tennessee - , 12:53pm : SOME graphics are essential, but should not be overdone. I just shopped for a new fly rod on the internet. Found it too!

Tennessee - , 1:00pm : Believe that Tom mfg mgr has the right approach to graphics. Optional.


USE OF WEB FOR LOCAL BUSINESS/COMMUNITY

Flying Amber - , 12:27pm : I've been interested in neighborhood sites that have name recognition outside of the WWW, such as the North End.

Flying Amber - , 12:28pm : The overall site attraction helps the "little guys" who are located in the area, but who wouldn't be able to stand on their own with a site.

Bob @ the Cottage - , 12:38pm : Richard, Do you see use of the internet as a viable LOCAL community as well as global ?

Richard Seltzer - , 12:43pm : Bob @Cottage -- Yes, local as well as global. You can provide the local context that people in your area need to better navigate and make use of global information resources. You also then have the option of tying on-line events together with live ones.

Bob @ the Cottage - , 12:45pm : That's just what I wanted to hear. I see too much concentration on Global business when there is use and opportunity in a local or regional market also. http://cottagemicro.com

Pat O' - , 12:29pm : Richard, I'm a big fan of yours! I've gotten a lot of extremely useful information from your site!

Richard Seltzer - , 12:32pm : Pat O' -- Thanks for the vote of support. Where are you located and what's your business?


Manufacturing

tom mfg mgr - , 12:41pm : Any new Mfg Applications from third parties?

anonymous - , 12:42pm : Tom - have you checked out Industry.Net http://www.industry.net?

tom mfg mgr - , 12:45pm : Yes I tried Industry Net, but they are a mall for industrial companies, not software, I was wondering if your chatters know of any or if Digital has any new developments.

anonymous - , 12:50pm : Tom - go to the Online Marketplace at industry.Net and do a Search for "manufacturing software" - you'll get a list of vendors

Richard Seltzer - , 12:52pm : anonymous -- thanks for the industry.net pointer. I haven't looked at that site for over a year, from back before they made the plunge and put all their info on the Web. (They started as a business kind of AoL with subscriber only stuff).

Richard Seltzer - , 12:51pm : tom mfg mgr -- I'm very interested in manufacturing applications, but need to learn more about what is actually being done, especially on the intranet site -- using internal Web sites to share information, track inventory, etc. Are you familiar with that side of it? Are there any good Web-based implementations of manufacturing software? Maybe I'll check with my wife who works for a company that's in the mfg. software business (Interactive Group).


Wrapping Up, Talking about Next Week

shudog - , 12:28pm : When is the next Chat and are you looking for companies to come on the chat line and share views about the internet!!!

shudog - , 12:34pm : Richard I have to go soon but when is the next chat line!!

Richard Seltzer - , 12:37pm : shudog -- I'll be on again next Thursday -- same time. And we plan to do this every Thursday. Hope to see you again.

shudog - , 12:37pm : Last Question! What is next weeks topic?

Richard Seltzer - , 12:41pm : Shudog -- Regarding next week -- I'd welcome suggestions for a focus. Send me email richard.seltzer@ljo.dec.com Last time and this time have been largely wide open. But if you have questions you'd like addressed, send me email in between, and I'll try to come armed with some answers and/or bring some other folks/experts on to help answer them.

Tennessee - , 12:38pm : This is great. This is what we should be seeing on the internet. You will see me again!

Tennessee - , 12:41pm : PK: Decent internet security is coming. A few government hurdles to be crossed first...

shudog - , 12:42pm : Thanks Richard!! It has been great!!

Tennessee - , 12:42pm : Richard: How about including internet security as an opener. It is of great concern to all. I will not bank by internet until I feel secure!

Tennessee - , 12:44pm : Believe that Netscape is also working on security Richard...

Richard Seltzer - , 12:44pm : Tennessee -- Okay, Internet security might be a good topic. I'll try to get some of my colleagues at Digital who focus on that to join in.

Tennessee - , 12:45pm : Security is prime. No feeling of security...no business on the web!

Pat O' - , 12:39pm : I'd like to discuss INTRAnets: what do you see happening? What are the trends?

Richard Seltzer - , 12:47pm : Pat O' -- Yes, intranets would be an excellent topic. That's where we really need to share. Anybody can surf or use an AltaVista (http://altavista.digital.com to see what's on the public Web. But the private side (behind firewalls) is invisible, except for the company we happen to work for and except for the articles we see in magazines (which I'm very skeptical of -- because they sound like PR, rather than reality). To make a discussion of that kind work, we'd need some folks willing to sign up beforehand to talk about their intranet experience. Anyone will to do that? send me email richard.seltzer@ljo.dec.com

Richard Seltzer - , 12:48pm : Bob @Cottage -- This is happening too fast for me to jot down URLs. Those of you who have sites you'd like us to look at, send me email, and I'll make a page at my site pointing to them, as a starting point for possible discussion next time. Does that make sense to you?

Tennessee - , 12:49pm : Richard. Your 12:48 post. Makes great good sense!

Tennessee - , 12:50pm : I intend to tell The Globe, today, that this is their finest scheduled chat.

tom mfg mgr - , 12:48pm : Our site is updated everytime there is a change in prices or products. Graphics are kept to a minimum.

tom mfg mgr - , 12:51pm :

Richard, Good chat - I'll tell your boss if you let me know who he/she is.

Richard Seltzer - , 12:54pm : Everybody -- as time is running out, I see the real need to build some continuity. Please send email. And include suggestions. We need to be able to look back at what was said before (including URLs) and also to post some related background info. I could do that through my site. But I need to hear from you what would be most valuable for you. richard.seltzer@ljo.dec.com

Bob @ the Cottage - , 12:55pm : I think that a page that is 90% graphics and pointers is a waste of time and bandwidth. Strategically placed smaller graphics with more textual information is much more appealing.

Tennessee - , 12:55pm : Right now, before you go, Thank You, Thank Digital, and thank The Globe for this session.

Richard Seltzer - , 12:55pm : Thanks everyone. Hope to see you again next Thursday, same time. And please help spread the word.

Moderator - , 12:57pm : Richard: Thank you for joining us! For everyone out there - Richard will be back next week, and every Thursday from Noon - 1 p.m.

Tennessee - , 12:57pm : Boston.com. You know me, and I'll tell you right now this one is your best one. More of this kind of thing please!



Follow-up questions and answers (received by email after the chat)


How to make a site findable

From: McCrory@gnn.com 11-JUL-1996 13:17:52.18

Enjoyed the chat but I was unable to ask what would be an effective strategy to insure that your site is selected by the search engines. Is there a central registration system? How do I use keywords that the engines recognize?

I would greatly appreciate an answer.

Reply -- The sites that are simply directories let you register -- that's often the only way they know you exist. (Yahoo works that way). Check my article on "How to Publicize Your Web Site over the Internet" for advice of that kind http://www.samizdat.com/public.html

For real search engines, like AltaVista, the best advice is to:

I could ramble on, but those are the most important points. (I just wrote a chapter about these issues for my book The AltaVista Revolution, to be published soon by McGraw-Hill and Digital.)

I hope this helps.

Richard Seltzer, Marketing Consultant, Internet Business Group, Digital Equipment, richard.seltzer@ljo.dec.com


On-Line Banking

viriled@tiac.net 11-JUL-1996 13:26:35.01

Hi Richard, you were probably too busy during chat to respond, or even take notice. (I certainly would be trying to keep up the discussion, let alone read everybody's text)

Anyway. Regarding your mention about banking via Computer. Are you aware of Baybank's Homelink. For that matter Bank of Boston's on-line banking software as well. (Who knows what's in store after they merge becoming BankBoston)

I am a user of Homelink. (It's new as of this year)

(They Commissioned the same firm that Runs "Direct Access" for Citibank. I'm using Direct Access, as well, since it's inception in 1982.)

If you would like to Discuss this further, I'd be More than Happy To.

It's ABSOLUTELY more Convenient.............

David A. Weiss viriled@tiac.net, http://www.tiac.net/users/viriled/

REPLY -- Thanks very much for the info. Right now I use the Digital Credit Union, which has dial-in on-line banking, but isn't yet on the Internet. I'm very interested in learning about what else is available today. Yes, the chat was frantic, but I had a lot of fun doing it. I hope it proved helpful.

Richard Seltzer, Marketing Consultant, Internet Business Group, Digital Equipment seltzer@samizdat.com


Previous transcripts and schedule of upcoming chats -- www.samizdat.com/chat.html

To connect to the chat room, go to www.samizdat.com/chat-intro.html

The full text of Richard Seltzer's books The Social Web, Take Charge of Your Web Site, Shop Online the Lazy Way, and The Way of the Web, plus more than a hundred related articles are available on CD ROM My Internet: a Personal View of Internet Business Opportunities.

Web Business Boot Camp: Hands-on Internet lessons for manager, entrepreneurs, and professionals by Richard Seltzer (Wiley, 2002). No-nonsense guide targets activities that anyone can perform to achieve online business
success. Reviews.

a library for the price of a book.

This site is Published by B&R Samizdat Express, 33 Gould St., West Roxbury, MA 02132. (617) 469-2269. seltzer@samizdat.com


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