BUSINESS ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB

Focus on Intranets -- August 1, 1996


Transcript of the live chat session that took place Thursday, August 1, 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 (reconstructed after the fact):


INTRODUCTIONS

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:02pm -- 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 I do for practically nothing and draws a fair amount of traffic and attention. And I'm also a member of the Boston Computer Society.

The Web is a place where both big companies and the tiniest of operations can thrive.

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 11:59am -- Bruce Platt from Comport Consulting is here!

Warren Agin - Law Solutions (199.3.142.80) - 12:01pm Hello richard and bruce

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:04pm - Welcome, Bruce and Warren. Please introduce yourselves -- your interest in Intranets in particular.

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:05pm -- I'm here to help with some hints, tips, guidelines, and experiences of how people use the Internet and Intranets to get work done. I and my company provide Internet and Intranet solutions to large and small companies.

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:07pm -- By way of introduction, I am the director of product development for a Digital Systems Integrator. One of our speciality areas is in the Internet (Intranets, security, etc.). I can give examples of how real compnaies get things done using these technolgies. I've been in the industry for over 20 years as a user and a vendor and a consultant.

Warren Agin - Law Solutions (199.3.142.80) - 12:07pm I'm a Lawyer running Law Solutions, which provides in-house counsel services to companies, especially those involved in the technology field. My interest in Intranets is mostly academic although for my business I need to stay familiar with the technology and the industry.

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:05pm -- I am working with a company on setting up an intranet, we have all the tools that we need, but now that we've gotten that far, it's becoming harder and harder to convince ourselves that an intranet is going to solve any communication or data management problems....

Alan Kotok (192.58.206.22) - 12:08pm First an introduction: I'm a technical strategist for Digital Equipment's Internet Software Business.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:06pm - I'm a web page designer. My clients want the Internet to help their businesses grow. So, I want to learn as much as I can about what works.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:07pm Kathy -- Are you independent/freelance? Do you have your own Web page?

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:08pm Yes, I am a freelancer. Is it appropriate to give my url?

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:11pm -- Kathy -- Sure, please give your URL. It would be helpful for everyone participating to do that, so we can followup later.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:13pm -- Richard, my url is http://www.netline.net/~kathy/index.html

Drew (208.131.192.21) - 12:16pm -- Hello all! I am transitioning from Internet Business Manager for the University of Mass to an IT position with Harvard. Before that I used to work at Digital (hello Richard!).

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:06pm Some quick housekeeping -- In a chat session like this things can get pretty frantic. It's sometimes difficult to follow the threads of conversation. And there's no time to write down interesting URLs and facts. So last week, I took a copy of the raw transcript and edited it to make the threads clearer and posted it at my own little Web site so anyone could take a look. You can see it at http://www.samizdat.com/chat3.html I plan to do the same today. Barring technical difficulties, I hope to have a transcript up within two hours of when this ends. I'll post it at the same site, naming this one/chat4.html


RATIONALE FOR SETTING UP AN INTRANET

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:06pm Steve -- What size if your company? What problems were originally hoping an intranet would solve?

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:09pm The company is a medium-sized global company that is admittedly behind in the times when it comes to computer technology. As for problems, well, in a company survey, communication seemed to be a big problem and the biggest complaint that everyone has is that they have so much "stuff" stored away that they can't find it when they need it.

Alan Kotok -- Steve, What are you comparing an "intranet" to?

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:10pm -- Intranets -- that's the question, where is the line drawn between data management and client/server applications to just browsing web pages

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:12pm -- Alan -- At the simplest level, I was thinking of focusing on the use of Internet technology inside companies and for secure commerce between companies. That's how I'd define Intranet.

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:14pm -- Could someone please define where the boundaries are in the sense of what an "intranet" is, or at least what my expectations should be

Alan Kotok (192.58.206.22) - 12:14pm Steve (and others)... I see "Intranet" as meaning using all the Internet-style tools (based on TCP/IP) within the confines of an organization. So, maybe it involves chat, maybe a web indexer like AltaVista Search, maybe Internet Mail which works on any platform, and communicates with the outside world, too.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:17pm Alan, Yes, intranet doesn't just mean "Web" -- it includes all the related Internet-style applications that can run inside a company, or securely between trusted partners. This is in contrast to the Public Internet where the audience is unknown and wide open.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:11pm Steve, do you use search engines? Steve, making your web "searchable" would be a big help.

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:12pm Search engines are an option with intranets, our intranet is still in it's primary stages, so search engines are not used on even a small scale.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:15pm Steve -- Sounds like an intranet would be a natural solution. But yes, as Kathy mentioned, an internal search engine -- like AltaVista -- would be very important. With that in mind, you should remember that today's Web search engines do not poke into databases. So to make your info easy to find and use, put as much of it as you can into Web pages -- doesn't have to be anything fancy. I love text -- it's so easy to index and use.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:15pm Steve, have you done training seminars for the folks who will be using the Intranet?

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:16pm -- Some pieces of an intranet are completely private (proprietary information) meant only for members of that company. Other ppublic pieces of what's available on the Internet can be used as part of an Intranet solution. (An example is stock prices, etc.) I think of Building the Intranet to first serve the needs of feeding the proprietary info to only the right people, then adding the publicly available pieces.

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:17pm -- Alright, here's the catch though, at least on our side of the issue, that there are *very* few people that are interested in learning how to make web pages, even if there is Netscape 2.02 Gold, etc. and management isn't really keen on spending a lot of money on something that is going to look good, but do little.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:22pm -- Steve, For a notion of what can be done extremely low-tech and low-cost, check my page http://www.samizdat.com There is no need for fancy graphics and special training. It's no more difficult to do an .html page than to create a page in Word. And converting from Word to .html takes seconds. At my site there's an article on Low-Tech Web page design /lowtech.html Especially for an intranet, you shouldn't waste time, money, and effort on "look and feel" and "branding" -- go for text and utility.

Warren Agin - Law Solutions (199.3.142.80) - 12:19pm -- Steve, some of the tools out there allow you to save wordprocessor files as an HTML webpage, such as Internet Assistant for Word 7.0. This is almost seamless. Thus, you do not have to teach people how to create webpages, simply teach them that they can post any word processor file onto the Intranet and appoint someone to coordinate the process.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:23pm -- Yes, Warren -- I agree entirely. That's what I use -- the Microsoft's Internet Assistant, which is free for downloading.

Alan Kotok (192.58.206.22) - 12:20pm -- Steve, If communication is a priority, then you don't have to craft Web pages. There are applications that use the Web that are pre-built, like our AltaVista Forum. It allows "posting" of files in any format, from text to word processor to HTML.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:20pm -- Steve, a good web page is not necessarily beautiful. It provides information that the user needs. It doesn't have to cost a lot to create useful pages.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:19pm -- Steve -- It's always helpful to begin with content and audience. What's the information and who needs to get it? You probably already have lots of content in various forms scattered around your company. Making that information accessible and findable by everyone within the company, quickly and easily can be a tremendous value. But start with the content rather than the hardware.

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:22pm -- Richard -- yes, content is something that we really need to narrow down on a large level, what does everyone think of using intranets as a form of communication and file storage. Though I'm studying in the US, I'm working in France, and there is some time lag and some convincing that needs to be worked on.

Drew (208.131.192.21) - 12:22pm -- Good web design is a combo of visually appealing (to catch people) and valuable content to keep them.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:25pm -- Drew -- I probably lean more on the side of content -- especially for an intranet. Remember, no one sees the "visually appealing" stuff until they get there. And the second time they see it, it's more of a nuisance (waiting for it to download) than it is a help. Go for content. Keep it clean and crisp, but don't waste money hiring designers if your main intend is to deliver content.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:23pm -- I would always sacrifice the "visual" for content.

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:24pm -- I echo the simple is better sentiment! Most people I work with want "flash" for the outside world, and simple for the inside world. The inside users don't need fancy, they need something that works. Plus, they don't need to waste bandwidth on clickable bitmaps, fancy graphics, etc.

Drew (208.131.192.21) - 12:24pm -- I agree, Kathy. It is the content that is key.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:25pm -- People forget about the many people who have only text access.

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:24pm -- But how do you let people know when there is something new and more importantly, how do you organize all the links and data, it seems to me that the internet/intranet can be a place to get very lost very quickly.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:26pm -- Steve, you build a site that is "bookmarkable". And the URL-Minder service is a great tool.

Alan Kotok (192.58.206.22) - 12:27pm -- Steve, Again, I'd suggest looking into some of the "collaboration" products. Ours, at least, has a way of checking what's new. You do have to check the "front page", but new postings will be indicated.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:27pm -- Steve -- Two ways to let people know what's new -- 1) email ticklers to those who have indicated interest or who are your primary audience (on an intranet there is no such thing as "spamming") 2) implement an internal indexing/search engine (like AltaVista) so the complete content of yourintranet can be readily found with full-text search, and make that the primarily first jumping off point for employees using your intranet.


HOW INTRANETS ARE USED

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:12pm -- For reference -- Last week, Heidi pointed us to a couple of on-going Forums on this subject. You might want to check them out: Intranet Soundings Forum at: http://www.brill.com/intranet/ijx/ Intranet Exchange at: http://www.innergy.com/ix/index.html.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:09pm Bruce -- I'd be very interested in hearing about examples. I have a rough feel that there are three different pieces of this Intranet stuff -- the telecomm/infrastructure the IS solution and the department (which is the content provider). My rough feel is that not many companies have gotten to the department level yet -- they are mostly getting set up, converting old info to a new format or making it accessible from a browser, providing access to databases etc. Do you have any examples of companies that are far enough along for real departmental solutions?

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:13pm -- I agree with your breaking things up into these 3 segments. People seem to get interested because they see the 'net as a way of reducing their telecomm infrastructure costs. They quickly move to then look at what the information is they want to get to people over the medium. Here's an example. We use our own intranet to distribute information to our remote sales and support people, things like configuration examples, and so forth. Another is a distribution company we have worked with who wants their sales people to have the most up to date info on what is selling well, delivery times, promotions, stock availability, etc.

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:27pm -- Intranet implementation usually follows several stages if it's to be successful: 1. Setting goals 2. Design 3. Re-design 4. Pilot 5. train a small group 6. Gather feedback 7. Fix up what's wrong, 8 Roll-out and train The most important part is to give people information they need to get their jobs done, and save time.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:28pm -- Excellent point, Bruce. A good website should incorporate all of the items you have listed.

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:20pm -- Steve, I have worked with a company who wanted to do someting as simple as make the contents of e-mail messages available to a wider audience than just the sender and the receiver. In other words, they managers and users felt that the content could be valuable for everyone. That's an example of what I call enhancing simple information.

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:25pm -- Bruce -- could you expand on what you mentioned about people wanting to post e-mails to a larger group, that is something that I think a lot of people are looking for.

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:29pm -- Sure, This company is a manufacturer with sites all over the world. A lot of their e-mail has to do with stock status, order placement, etc. They realized that even though individual people do most of these transacations via mail to other individuals. The ability to have the information available to a wider audience is useful. That way, if plaid shirts are going to be long in delivery, each sales person can get that information from seeing a message that wasn't addressed to them. This is where the search capabilities of text based info that Alan and Richard discussed come in.


CONTROL & MONITORING APPLICATIONS?

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:29pm -- Any unique uses of an Intranet? Anything other than just delivering information? For instance, Is anybody using the Web for process control, environmental monitoring or building security? If so are you using CUSeeMe and QuickCam or what approach are you taking?

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:35pm -- Richard in answer to your question about process control, etc. Most people seem to shy away from that with good reason. I'd advise them to do it on a completely provite (no connection to the internet) network, where all routing is done inside the enterprise, but not outside those bounds. I get uncomfortable with the speed of response once you get to the Internet routers. With that in mind, Your examples, while nice, are out of the realm o f Intranet for me, since Intranet to me means private audience accessed via public Internet as well as private network. On the other hand. The clothing people I mentioned earlier are lookin at sending gifs and jpegs of closth patterns to their sales people. Sort of a clothing-cam

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:41pm -- Bruce -- There are many instances -- such as environmental control -- where it would be very desirable to have monitoring and control kinds of info readily available to all over the WEb. (If I were in the EPA, I'd mandate it. There'd be video of every nuclear reactor in the world available over the Web for anyone who wishes to take a look at.

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:43pm -- Richard, I agree that it's be nice to see the environmental things happen. I'm just very leery of real time control via in Internet becuase of the routing paths and delays. Someof that is my background. Real-time to me means under a millisecond (+ or - 2) :-)

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:46pm -- Bruce -- I agree about real-time control. But monitoring -- seeing that someone is breaking into a building or that a transformer is on fire, or that liquid is leaking from a vat or that a nuclear reactor is melting down -- I'm curious why folks aren't doing that with Web-based video.

Alan Kotok (192.58.206.22) - 12:52pm -- On the subject of using "Intranet" for "real time", "critical" applications... There are two separate aspects to consider: (1) are the tools right? (2) does the network design support the performance. If (1) is "yes", then one might want to have a separate TCP/IP network for the time-critical traffic, so it doesn't get bogged down when individuals decide to download big pictures from the web.


WHAT'S THE PAYBACK? CONVINCING MANAGEMENT OF THE VALUE OF INTRANET/INTERNET

Drew (208.131.192.21) - 12:19pm -- So how do you measure the value of an Internet Presence to Management?

Drew (208.131.192.21) - 12:28pm -- How do you sell management on the need to build an Internet Presence?

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:29pm -- Many of my clients needed help in determining goals for their websites.

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:29pm -- Right Drew, that's one of my biggest questions, since I still wonder if the intranet is a big fad, something that is nice to have, or whether it is something you can't live without

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:31pm -- Drew, I would point out the benefits of providing information that is usually provided by a receptionist or a customer service rep.

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:32pm -- Kathy -- question is though, hard to convince managers that the intranet is more than just a toy, it's something that is going to improve productivity.

Alan Kotok (192.58.206.22) - 12:33pm -- All: There seems to be some confusion between an "Internet Presence" and using an Intranet. These are clearly different. A good example of anIntranet application that we use is our "Employee Locator". It's a web application that allows you to find any employee's phone, Email address (and just click to send a message) and other optional data. We no longer print internal phone directories.

Drew (208.131.192.21) - 12:33pm -- In simple implimentations that works, Kathy, but when you are discussing the merits of building an Intranet, then not only $s are the question, but security.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:34pm -- Drew, the easiest way to sell management is to show them what the competition is doing. 1) give them a quick Web tour 2) show them an AltaVista search for their own name, versus the same kind of search for the names of their counterparts at the competition. 3) in the case of a university, you might also focus on what others are doing to use the Web to link to alums, contributors, etc. and to promote their academic "stars." Many very small schools today have a very large presence on the Internet and are carving out globally recognized niches for themselves. The well-established Ivies can't presume that they will remain pre-eminent. Reputations can be made and lost very rapidly in this new environment. And the best students and grad students and professors will want to be where they will be best connected (not just where the best, biggest traditional library is).

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:34pm -- Steve, instant (practically) communication is always a benefit. Email is the most powerful tool of the Internet, even though my bread and butter is web pages.

Warren Agin - Law Solutions (199.3.142.80) - 12:34pm -- All the other things you don't have to print and constantly update. Employee manuals, policy manuals of all kinds, instruction manuals, resource lists, vendor lists, etc.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:39pm -- Warren, I'm glad you mentioned manuals and such. If companies would only look at the cost they could avoid. Not only cost, but natural resources that could be preserved.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:36pm -- I think the value of the Internet is mis-directed. It is a communications tool....not an advertising tool. Having a great website is important, but the real power is in being able to deliver a message, exactly where it is needed.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:39pm -- Kathy -- yes, communication. Amen.

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:38pm -- I'd have to agree with Kathy on that last one -- need to watch out too that you are delivering a message to the user, hopefully, not a lapful that they have to dig thru.

Drew (208.131.192.21) - 12:37pm -- Yes, all your suggestions are valuable. But sometimes it still comes down to money. How will this investment in building and maintaining a web server or an intranet pay off? How can I measure ROI?

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:37pm -- Email I presume is essential -- more essential than telephone and FAX. Beyond that, I believe there is tremendous payback from having all your info easy to find by anyone. Beyond that, the interactive applications like forums can be a far less expensive and more useful approach than 800 numbers for providing support and answers of all kinds.

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:40pm -- Sometimes payback is easy to measure. I have a client who was speeding over $350K per year sending faxes. Their payback for mail, transmitting graphics files, marketing reports, and so on was payed back quite quickly given they only needed a server and a firewall , an internet connection, and training, and design support.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:42pm -- Bruce, that's a perfect example!

Bob Duran (198.80.25.2) - 12:41pm -- Measure ROI? I don't think you can do that accurately yet. Why not? Because we're just beginning to see the possibilities for using intranets. We don't know what we can do with the silly things yet. (Picture this conversation in about 1982 where the subject is desktop PCs. Who could've known where PCs and computers would go in 10 years? But where would a company be without them?) Intranets will be the same way.

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:41pm Bruce -- now the payback must keep in mind the cost of establishing all this computer equipment and training people. Often people would rather do it the old way, unless they are absolutely convinced that the new way is much better.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:43pm -- Measuring ROI for a university could be difficult. Maybe you need to think in terms of what is of value to the university, rather than translating it all to dollars.

Drew (208.131.192.21) - 12:42pm -- I think that Internet Presence (be they email, web servers, or Intranets) are a paradigm shift - a new way of thinking and doing things and as such cannot be quantified. Comments?

Jan (192.208.46.249) - 12:43pm -- Kathy, delivering a message goes to one, two, maybe 100 people. Big deal. I went to a presentation recently by one of the Netscape people which really opened up my eyes to the potential of the Internet as a marketing tool. A small Mom&Pop shop can create a Web page and, done right, get 100s of thousands of orders of whatever they are selling in the first day of business. Suddenly they are competing with much bigger stores in a very real way.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:44pm -- Jan, I don't think it's that easy.

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:44pm -- Drew -- I think you and I are in the same pessimistic boat here. I think the best thing to do is to evaluate your company's need for an intranet, whether it be in the form of web pages, e-mail, shared folders on a server, etc.

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:50pm -- Steve, re your comment about being in the same pessimistic boat. You're comment is right on. The key is decide how the information you have or the information you need to get to people can be delivered the simplest, cheapest way possbile. Not all Intranets need large sevrers and disk farms. We run our Intranet stuff for our employees off a very old already paid for box that cost about $7000 four years ago. Today I could do it on a $3500 box with sevral hundred dollars of software and not much time using tools like Webforum. But the key is to decide what you need to get to people!

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:47pm -- Steve, Drew -- It would be best if you could arrange to see a demo of how a large company uses its Intranet. Seeing is believing.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:45pm -- It's important that we don't exaggerate the Web.

Jan (192.208.46.249) - 12:46pm -- Kathy, I didn't say it was easy. But the potential is there, if done correctly.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:48pm -- Jan, what would you suggest as "correct"?

Jan (192.208.46.249) - 12:49pm -- Kathy, I haven't done it myself, so I can't answer your question. But the presentation by the Netscape folks was interesting. These comments apply more to the Internet than the Intranet, however.

Warren Agin - Law Solutions (199.3.142.80) - 12:47pm -- I think while an Intranet can be useful to a small company, it probably has the greatest value to a large company because it helps overcome many of the communication and dissemination problems such companies really face, as well as allowing them to easily coordinate over multiple platforms. An Internet can allow a major corporation to communicate more like a small corporation.

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:50pm -- Warren -- well put about sizing of a company, it is important to keep an eye on how well the company can handle a big change to intranets, and even more importantly, how big that change is. Compared to the technology, I would say our company is still carving stone tablets


WHAT PRODUCTS DO YOU USE?

CJSnyder-snyderinfo (199.3.134.192) - 12:38pm -- Richard & All: What are you using for intranets? LotusNotes? Microsoft's NT Server? What do you like and why?

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:39pm -- CJSnyder -- we're using NT servers, which is working very nicely, and I'm testing Microsoft's Internet Information Server to publish HTML

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:41pm -- Cj Snyder, The best tool I have seen is what Alan has referred to, Digital's Altavista Webforum.

Alan Kotok (192.58.206.22) - 12:45pm -- CJSnyder: We're a large company and use lots of different systems: some UNIX, some NT servers. We use quite a number of Netscape web servers running on our machines. For Email, the "IT" people are pushing Microsoft Exchange, while may people run against POP servers using Netscape or Eudora as mail clients. The great thing about this stuff is that it all plays together. In the old days, every application relied on a dedicated client, or was just a dumb terminal interface. Now every system can be a "rich"client.

CJSnyder-snyderinfo (199.3.134.192) - 12:49pm -- All: Anybody using Visual Source Safe by Microsoft to manage intranet sites? (Thanks, Alan, for info!)


SOURCES OF REVENUE

Todd (192.208.46.249) - 12:41pm -- Hello. I'm interesting in finding a WWW business oportunity that I could work on in very limited free time. I'm wondering much money could be made in posting pages of interest and selling ad space on them? How time consuming and profitable is page design for individuals and small businesses?

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:43pm -- Welcome Todd....it's moving pretty fast. Hang in with us!

Warren Agin - Law Solutions (199.3.142.80) - 12:41pm -- Todd, I make $150 a month selling advertising space on what originally started as a bookmark. Not a lot of money, but is more than covers my connect charges.

Todd (192.208.46.249) - 12:47pm -- Warren -- How did you find your sponsor? (or they find you)

Warren Agin - Law Solutions (199.3.142.80) - 12:49pm -- Todd, I used a relevant listserver to locate the sponsor. But first I had to establish a track record demonstrating that my site could attract visitors. My site was up for about a year before I considered looking for sponsors.

CJSnyder-snyderinfo (199.3.134.192) - 12:47pm -- Todd: Welcome to the world of web design and a new way of communication! (I'll be glad to tell you more via email: cjsnyder@snyderinfo.com) See our Boston Computer Society site www.bcs.org/Groups/isig/ Back to intranets..


PRICE?

John (204.71.247.63) - 12:57pm I am trying to convince the company to implment an Intranet, I have gotten past, (I think) the hurdle of why they should have one, now I am being asked for a price off the top of my head. My research reveals that thehardware is about $5,000.00 and the supporting software is about another $5,000.00 am I in the ball park, any specifications with costs anyone might have???

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:58pm -- Hmmm, John. It is pricey.

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:58pm -- John, As I indicated, the costs can vary. Give me a call or write, 201-236-0505 x 108 or bbp@comport.com

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:59pm -- Are you sure your company needs its own server?

John (204.71.247.63) - 1:03pm -- We need the whole magilla


WRAPPING UP, TALKING ABOUT NEXT WEEK

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:49pm -- Time is nearing a close. Let's all share email and URLs before signing off. And also please express your interests for next week. Seems to me that we've just barely scratched the surface of this one, and I'm hoping you'll all be back next Thurs.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:50pm -- My email is seltzer@samizdat.com If you are like me, you have half a dozen extra things that there will be no time to say here and now. Please send those thoughts to me by email and I'll incorporate them in a threaded transcription of this session which I hope to post at my Web site in about two hours. http://www.samizdat.com/chat4.html will have it all.

Warren Agin - Law Solutions (199.3.142.80) - 12:49pm -- agin@tiac.net www.tiac.net/users/agin/

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:50pm -- I would love to hear ideas on how to promote businesses on the Web. It does not happen automatically.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:51pm -- I have worked hard at promoting some of my clients' sites. It is not "a piece of cake".

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:52pm -- Kathy -- re: promoting Web sites, see my article on the subject http://www.samizdat.com/public.html That's a start, but of course things are changing fast and there's much more to be said. Thanks.

CJSnyder-snyderinfo (199.3.134.192) - 12:52pm -- Email: cjsnyder@snyderinfo.com URL: www.bcs.org/Groups/isig Next week's topic: More intranets? Choosing the software?

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:52pm -- My email is bbp@comport.com (or bruce@comport.com). I'd be happy to correspond with anyone in this session.

Cavan (204.215.138.105) - 12:52pm -- Wow - here I am talking to real people on the web - at last. For a while, it looked like the only news was generated by Navigator and Explorer. It's nice to see what others have to say.

Steve Rish (204.240.140.6) - 12:52pm -- All: it's been interesting arguing about intranets for the past hour, hope to chat some more next week. Would love to hear from anyone: Steve Rish usdowlh5@ibmmail.com

Drew (208.131.192.21) - 12:52pm -- I can be reached at drew@umassp.edu or dhammond@hbs.edu

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:53pm -- Do we have any "success stories" here?

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:54pm -- Intranets that changed a company?

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:56pm -- Kathy, The examples I used are from real life. My clients would have to be asked if they would server as references. Write me. They are happy.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:56pm -- Kathy -- thanks for the good suggestions.

Todd (192.208.46.249) - 12:53pm -- tsm@bc.cybernex.net - home page under construction - interested in moonlighting business opportunities on the Web, especially publishing

John (204.71.247.63) - 12:54pm -- Am I too late to join in today??

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:55pm -- John, you're not too late. I'd be happy to continue.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:55pm -- John, just ending, please come next week same time. Send email seltzer@samizdat.com with your interests and check today's transcript (in about two hours)http://www.samizdat.com/chat4.html

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:54pm -- Thanks everyone. And please send followup email. And check the transcript -- I try to insert some sort of order, finding threads. Good stuff can go by unnoticed in this frantic medium. Also the transcript is the best place to pick up the email addresses and URLs.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:56pm - Thanks to all. Hope you'll all be back next week. And please spread the word.

Kathy (205.160.7.131) - 12:56pm -- Excellent session, Richard. Thank you.

Bruce B. Platt (204.252.11.25) - 12:57pm -- Richard, Thanks again for a great session

Drew (208.131.192.21) - 12:57pm -- Thanks to everyone for some ideas. Will try to tune in next week.

Richard Seltzer (199.3.129.189) - 12:58pm -- Signing off now. Thanks again.


Followup Discussion

From: Nancy Enright <Nancy_Enright.IDEA@mailgw.idea.com> Date: 1 Aug 96 13:48:58 EDT

I enjoyed monitoring your "Business on the Web" chat today. Someone asked for success stories, so I will share mine - small thought it may be. I have a vacation rental in Maine. For the last year, I have had a web page on Vacation-Inc.Com, which contains rentals, tours and accommodations. My web URL is http://www.vacation-inc.com/rentals/enright.html

The web site was free for the first year because the owner of site needed existing customers to attract new customers, so he offered a handful of us a free 1 year subscription. I jumped at the opportunity.

During the first 6 months, I did not receive one inquiry. But suddenly starting at the beginning of January, I started getting inquiries. I have had 67 inquiries ( I keep a log) in 30 weeks which averages over 2 inquiries a week.

I do a lot of follow up work. I spend time answering questions by email and I send a big package of information with brochures and more pictures about our house and the surrounding area. I have filled our vacation rental up through September 28 (still working on October) primarily from the web site, and have referred a lot of people to other renters in the area because I am full. And, I have 4 weeks spoken for in 1997! ( I had no idea that people planned this far in advance.)

Needless to say, when my free year ended in June, I was more than happy to pay the roughly $10 per month cost to keep the page!

I hope to attend next week's chat also.

Nancy Enright

From: Nancy Enright <Nancy_Enright.IDEA@idea.com> Date: 1 Aug 96 16:44:26 EDT

I have only seen a fraction of all of the information on your site. I feel like I have found a gold mine. I learned about your chat from the BCS PC Report. And the reminder service is great. I would have missed the live chat had I not received that reminder.

I am a software engineer with a tiny side business of my vacation rental in Maine. I eventually want to move to Lubec, Maine, where our house is, but I first have to figure out how to make a living up there. Most software companies want you to be on site for development work. I see that changing - but I cannot tell how fast. I am just trying to inhale all of the information about Internet businesses and trends that I can, which is why your page and chat are so valuable.

I saw in one of your previous chats a short discussion of the possible effect of the web on geographical neighborhoods. The Lubec, Maine region is a perfect example of an area that could benefit. Lubec is the eastern most town in the US, 6 hours from Boston and caught in a time warp. The economy of the entire county is slow. A new commercial web site has been developed for the Passamaquoddy Bay coastal region which includes parts of New Brunswick, Canada and the Down East coast (i.e., the northeastern Maine coast east of Acadia) at http://www.nemaine.com/ . The scenery is incredibly beautiful, but very few people know about that part of the world. This new web site's Local Links with the "Quoddy Loop Tour Guide" and the Lubec Chamber of Commerce pages, should help boost tourism to the area and help offset the lost fishing jobs.

Nancy Enright


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.

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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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