BUSINESS ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB: where "word of keystroke" begins

June 12, 1997 -- Web-access to databases and database-enabled Web applications

Transcript of the live chat session that took place Thursday, June 12, 1997. These sessions are normally scheduled for noon-1 PM Eastern Daylight 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 or go to and sign up there.

For transcripts of 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 suggestions 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):

Today's participants


Richard Seltzer -- We're here to talk about business on the World Wide Web.
Please introduce yourselves as you connect.

rob -- hello

Richard Seltzer -- Hi, Rob. Welcome. We plan to focus on Web-access to databases and Web-enabled database applications today.
Do you have any experience with that kind of thing? We want to learn from one another what is possible and what business models you can build around these capabilities.

soulman3 -- HELLO FROM BANGOR , ME

Sudha Jamthe -- Hi Richard: I work with internet and intranets. I have been hearing about many web-enabled databases and would like to see business uses of the same.

David -- hi - David here

Ed Jaros -- Hello from Green Bay, WI - USA

Sudha Jamthe -- Ed: Good to see you.

Janet Nichols -- Hello, I'm Janet Nichols the education coordinator for Web-Net.

john_lee -- Hello. Sorry I got disconnected a minute ago--I'm dialing in from the road and my ISP connection is a bit flaky.

Richard Seltzer -- John -- Sorry about the connection problems. We all face those. Part of the crazy fun pioneering world we're playing in. (Doesn't it get boring when technology is ready for prime time :^) Please tell us about Interwoven and how your customers are using your software.

Jeff -- Hello Richard. Jeff here... Ar you talking about Database
access to the web today?

Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Su, Ed, everybody. Looks like we're close to a quorum. I'm hoping we can learn today about some database-related tools to help make Web sites more dynamic, and also about the business models that can be built around such pages. And business model-wise, I'm also very interested in learning what ISPs are offering as part of their hosting services to make it eassier for little companies to do these kinds of things (looks like a good value-added business). 

Advice for using the Web to increase retail business


Richard Seltzer -- soulman3 -- Interesting question. I presume that you mean that your physical store is in a physical mall. If that is the case, it would make sense to have a Web site that promotes your physical presence -- that gives people good reasons to go to your store, that offers value-added services and that serves as a virtual space for potential customers to interact with one another as well as with experts at your company. You might also want to have Internet-access kiosks in your store and elsewhere in the physical mall to let people easily see and learn about your full range of products (including items that you can't fit on your display shelves).


Sudha Jamthe -- Soulman3: Creating a web site by yourself is easy. But you need to think of getting a consultant's help as maintenance can be time consuming.

Richard Seltzer -- soulman3 -- Whether you should roll your own or go with
a hosted site depends on

If you are a new-comer, it often makes sense to go hosted first, and build a community/audience and experiment with your business model. Then when you are ready to go into "production mode", you might want to set up with your own server. (And even then, you might choose to "co-locate" your server. In other words, your equipment and your hardware sitting at an ISP's site, where there is 24-hour support and where you have a fast link to the Internet). 

"Domain Intelligence" Database

Richard Seltzer -- Jeff -- Good to see that you have connected. I understand that you are about to (or have just) launched a business based around database access. What business model have you settled on? And what tools do you use to make Web-access easy?

Jeff -- Richard, We are using Oracle w/ Perl Scripts to build our databases. The main database is now over 20GB in size. We are using our database to personalize our web site for each user and to selectively allow users to see different options on the page based on who they are (or what domain they are comming in from).

Richard Seltzer -- Jeff -- Yes, we want to talk about Web-access to databases, and all kinds of other related tools and what business models work here. In particular, Jeff, how are you setting up your business? Do you charge by subscription to get to your data? Do you have more than one class of customer? Is security a significant factor? Do you let people look at samples for free or for a trial period? Do you charge by the access (using something like Millicent)? And can you tell folks what kind of data you have for sale and what business factors are most important to you?

Steve Liberace -- Jeff, what kind of personalization and options are available at your site?

Jeff -- John_Lee, My new site (Domain Intelligence Database) will be 100% dynamic and will be customized for each and every user.
On the other hand, I plan on having the Search Engines list me 100s (if NOT 1,000s) of times.

Jeff -- Steve, We track every domain (1.6M or so) connected to the internet. We track what industry their in, # of employees, how their ISP is, which web server they run, the email server they use, are they playing with Java or Active-X yet, etc.
Our customers: Any applications company wanting to reach (snail mail) customers who are building sites that might need their application. Or, ISPs who want to sell a second dedicate line to a company already connected. or corporate companies who what to know which industries are online and what is the average monthly growth by industry.

Steve Liberace -- Jeff, so use it to gather demographic information on your users is an important use of a database? Perhaps this is more generally applicable than charging for information, which is not relevant to all businesses (but we all need to know who's "knocking at the door")


David -- Speaking of Millicent -- how does this work ? ie. if I have a business whereby I do want to have some free access and some access at fees - perhaps varying by level/privilege -- and a rising fee as the user priv. goes up -- how would I set this type of account up with Millicent ? do people register their credit cards with us and then we micro charge them as they use our database ?

Richard Seltzer -- David -- Regarding Millicent -- it's in the pilot stage right now. I understand that the credit card piece is done through "brokers".The Web page with all the details is The business development manager is Stan Hayami

Steve Liberace -- Does Millicent differ from cybercash/cyberbucks? Is it basically the same thing?

Richard Seltzer -- Steve -- Millicent is quite different from those other solutions. The main difference is that you can handle very small transactions -- less than a penny -- with very low cost per transaction. Some of the others work okay at the $1 or even the 25 cent level. But get it down to under a penny and you can provide painless access to info on a database -- get people to try query after query, and eventually the money builds up. Few folks will opt for a subscription fee that looks like substantial bucks -- especially when they haven't really used your database before -- but let them get started, let them think of it like potato chips...

Steve Liberace -- Business on the www: What if someone only uses millicent once? How does it handle the charge? Do credit companies accept a "millicent" charge?

Richard Seltzer -- Steve -- Millicent isn't intended for one-time use. The user sets up an account (like a deposit account) and charges are aggregated against that. Please check the Web page

Getting dynamic pages indexed by search engines

Frank LaRosa -- I use dynamic databases at my site, and i have never had any problem getting the web crawlers to index my content.

Richard Seltzer -- Frank, how do search engines index your content? There is no way that a crawler can get inside a database and no way for a crawler to index dynamic content. The only way I know of is to create duplicate static page versions of your content (like Bob@Cottage was talking about). If you have a way around that, I'd really like to hear about it.

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Richard - You're right about the indexing and also it keeps to one of your principles. Content and not complexity. My clients are the one who profit since thay often sell products or advertiseing in the data they post to the web. i.e. the ITVA sells space in their directory to members, others produce catalogs varying from used cars to computer parts.

Jeff -- Bob, Here is a little trick. If you create dynamic pages, try this: Add a script to your web server that looks at the incomming domain. If the domain is "one of the search engines", then send them to a core dump of your site, but alias the page to your page. That way, the "search engine" will have a big dump of your site. Once a user finds you via the search engine and click on your page, they will go directly to your top level page. We have tried it and it works.

Richard Seltzer -- Jeff -- Sounds like a neat trick, and one that not many folks would know how to implement. Would you help other sites to do that as a service you could charge for?

Frank LaRosa -- Jeff, why do that? Seems to me that the user is better off going to the page that has the desired content.

Ed Jaros -- What about the size of the dump? Some engines only allow a certain amount of data before they ignore.

Richard Seltzer -- Ed and Jeff -- Yes, regarding the amount of data a search engine will take -- Altavista only takes the first 100K of text from a given page.

Steve Liberace -- Regarding the first 100K: is that in addition to the metatag and title, or does that include the information in the metatag and title--I understand that it's in addition to the metatag and title. Also, if you don't have any text, but use metatags (keywords and description), will that do the trick, and how well?

Jeff -- Richard, To get around the Altavista limit, you need to chop up your pages (custom ones for Search Engines) to 75k to reach most of the search engines. In addition, most of the search engines will NOT crawl your entire site (most only crawl down "x" levels.) Altavista for instance will only crawl 12 levels deep. You need to factor these things in when trying to defeat the crawlers (specifically around Dynamic Sites)

Frank LaRosa -- The suggestion about handing the search engine a dump of everything is something I hadn't considered. I suppose that if you want to drive traffic to your home page, that's a good idea. (Another way you could do that is by dynamically redirecting all the click-throughs from the search engine back to your home page). For most of the sites I've done I find it's more valuable for the person searching the search engine to get a link that goes right to the page that has the data they want.

john_lee -- Jeff & Bob, but what if you want a search engine to catalog individual pages within your site? For instance, Slate only has one listing in AltaVista.

Richard Seltzer -- If Slate has only one listing in AltaVista that is probably because the crawler can't get past your home page (blocked by a form or by frames or something of that kind). You should have every page indexed if you really want to drive traffic to your site.

Frank LaRosa -- My web sites generate pages on the fly based on the URL. So a web crawler will see it as just another link that leads to a page. The crawler doesn't know that the page was generated from a database when it was requested.

Steve Liberace -- Frank: but doesn't that mean you won't have an index of the CONTENT of the database and all the wonderful things it has, but merely an index to the page that generates content?

Richard Seltzer -- Steve -- Yes, that's the problem I have with the model that
Frank seems to be suggesting. What is the value of only giving the crawler a page created on the fly. Yes, that one page would be indexed. But what is important for driving traffic to your site is having all of your content indexed. How do you make that happen with your model?

Steve Liberace -- Will the next generation of search engines have provisions for dealing more intelligently (or at least effectively) with forms, databases, etc.?

Richard Seltzer -- Steve -- The version of AltaVista that is sold for use on intranets (inside a firewall) can index databases and a wide variety of file types (there's a tool kit that lets you do all that). But I don't expect to see that kind of indexing happening on the public Internet -- you need to have some ownership and control over the database that you wish to index, and you have to be willing to devote some time to it.

Jeff -- Richard, The AV Intranet Search tools will index a database, but the user must FIRST unload a copy to a flat file (w/ tags) and then run the crawler. You now, you will loose the ability to drill back down into the database (meaning, AV doesn't understand the SQL structure within the database unless you use the AV Developers Tool Kit to teach it this. It is NOT quite as easy as most people think. The good news is that this issue is supposed to be fixed in the next major release.

Jeff -- Richard, It is important to note that most Search Engines can't find content that is located in frames also. Databases aren't the only type of application that need to think of alternative ways to publish your content to Search Engines...

Richard Seltzer -- Jeff -- Yes, the main barriers to search engines are 1) forms (a crawler can't fill out a form) 2) frames (the crawler only sees the frame, not what's inside the frame) 3) databases (same problem as with forms -- a crawler can't submit a query, it's just a dumb robot) 4) dynamic content (different info served at different times to different people). All of that stuff may be good for serving customers who have come to your site. But to get the traffic in the first place you should try to get as much of your content as possible indexed, which may mean creating alternate static versions of your pages.

Steve Liberace -- Richard: is having a no frames tag enough to get around the search engine indexing problem, or do you need a completely different set of HTML pages to do this? Do you see any advantages at all in using frames? I like them myself...should I stop using them?

Richard Seltzer -- Steve -- Personally, I find frames a nuisance -- they cut down on the viewable/usable space on my screen and I often access with the laptop with a very small screen. I'm not sure of the effect of a "no-frames" tag. I suggest experimenting. Do an ADD URL at AltaVista and come back the next day and see what you find.

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- john lee - getting listed in search engines is really controlled by various things. 1. the title of your page 2. META content tags in your pages and probably others I'm not aware of.

Steve Liberace -- Bob@Cottage: the first so many characters/lines of text content are also used to index you in a search engine

Ed Jaros -- Steve - All things considered I find it better to have domain, title, tags, description and text all referencing the main keywords you want to be found under. Holding out can push you lower on the listings.

Richard Seltzer -- Keep in mind that AltaVista indexes the full text of every page. Every word counts. But for ranking of results, the most important elements are 1) HTML title, 2) the first two lines of text, and 3) description and keyword metatags.

Steve Liberace -- At the very least, it would be great if a database page could have some tag that says" this is a database that will cover the following general topics.." Is that possible now, without going to separate static pages? 

Advice -- what to choose as a general purpose database?

David -- if one were going to chose a general purpose -- not terribly difficult to use database -- would the general consensus be to use ORACLE ? I think we could use ACCESS -- but ORACLE seems to be really specialized on Databases whereas MS seems to have it just as "another pretty decent product" in their lineup. It does seem that ORACLE is committed to the WEB as far as being able to have good connectivity in the future (not that MS is ignoring the Web).

Frank LaRosa -- David, I find that for a large number of needs, a simple DBASE or ACCESS file works just fine. I use a stand alone SQL sever only for the big jobs. (I happen to use MS-SQL 6.5, but Oracle is good from what I hear).

David -- Thanks Frank - that makes sense.

Jeff -- Getting a database connected to the web these days is very simple and low-cost. Most of the web servers have simple way to publish dynamic contect. The real cost is still the database itself. If your content is already in Oracle, then you are about two days away from putting it online.

Searchlight Software -- server side scripting and database connectivity

Frank LaRosa -- My company, Searchlight Software, specializes in doing Web sites with dynamic content. We also produce a Windows NT server product called Spinnaker that includes server side scripting and database connectivity.

Richard Seltzer -- Frank -- Please tell us about your company (Searchlight) and its products and how they relate to this discussion.

Frank LaRosa -- For an example of this, see or This assumes your data is organized in a way that can be represented using links. If a fill-in search is the only way to get at your data, then that won't work.

Richard Seltzer -- Frank -- Please tell us more about Searchlight and what you have to offer.

Frank LaRosa -- Take a look at American Singles, This is a site with over 70,000 records from a database online, but they are all able to be indexed by a web crawler because they are all accessible through regular links (rather than forms).

David -- Frank - any idea what database they use to store the 70,000 records?

Frank LaRosa -- David, we're using Microsoft SQL server for the 70,000 record database (my company maintains that site in-house).

Richard Seltzer -- Frank -- do you have some other examples? The model you
are suggesting seems unusual, and I would have to poke around to get a real feel for it.

Frank LaRosa -- I have a personal web site I did using databases, the address is As you browse the site, notice how each URL you click on is actually a command, rather than a reference to an HTML document. Also notice how the pages contain dynamic content that is input by people browsing the site. 

Interwoven -- software for Web site production control

Richard Seltzer -- John Lee -- Good to see that you have connected. Please introduce yourself and tell us something about Interwoven and how your
software can help create dynamic Web pages.

john_lee -- Thanks Richard. Interwoven is developing software for website production control. Our customers include Varian, FedEx, GeoCities. As Director of Business Development, I've seen lots of companies doing interesting things with databases. But I want to clarify--Interwoven's software does not directly provide capabilities for dynamic pages, but provides production control for large teams that are creating these types of websites.

Richard Seltzer -- John -- A colleague of mine, Berthold Langer, speaks very highly of your product. But I'm still unclear as to the unique job that it performs. Could you please explain at greater length? What does it let you do? How does it let you do it? What other software does it work with?

john_lee -- It appears that I can only stay logged on for about 5 minutes at a time--so I'll make this quick! Interwoven develops enterprise software for website production control (content mgmt & process control). Our customers include FedEx, GeoCities, Varian. So as Director of Bus. Dev., I get to see lots of interesting approaches to building dynamic sites and the respectives business models. But I also want to clarify--Interwoven's software does not directly provide capabilities for dynamic pages, but provides production control for large teams that are creating these types of websites. 

Cottage -- off-line database programs that create Web pages

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Hello All - I am Bob Zwick a developer of offline database programs that create web pages. This is not an interactive type database but gives control of what's where when and does not require server software. This allows you to post changing data such as catalogs on "any" web server. Comments Welcome.

Richard Seltzer -- Bob@Cottage -- Can you tell us about some of your customers -- what they are doing with this capability?

Sudha Jamthe -- Bob: Can you pl clarify: Do you develop these software by programming? That you don't need server software looks interesting? How can we use this from an ISP?

Steve Liberace -- Bob@cottage: how can you avoid not using server software with your product?

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Sure Sudha - One client is the ITVA at who uses my programs to maintain a membership directory. Which changes monthly.

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Steve - The only server software that is required is the HTTP server software because the database is converted to HTML indexed pages and copied to the server.

Sudha Jamthe -- Bob: Do you need to customize your programs for different client

Richard Seltzer -- Bob -- I'm very interested in the notion of converting a database to HTML pages and then copying those pages to a server. That is very important if you want the info at your site to be indexed by search engines like AltaVista -- to drive traffic to your site. That's important if your model isn't to sell the contents of the database but rather to use the contents as part of the attraction, value-added of your site.

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Sudha - The way it works is I get the information about how you store your data (databasess) or I can provide you with the databases and the program to handle alll of your information. Then you specify the way you want the WEB pages to look and I deliver the program to maintain your data on your local system. You simply generate the HTML pages as the data changes and FTP them to the ISP or WEB hosting server of your choice. BTW - I also provide WEB Hosting space for clients.

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Sudha - Customization is minimal in my programs. I have to make the program talk to your databases and make the format of your pages the way you want them. 

Business Models

Steve Liberace -- OK, let's get basic: What uses are there for a database on-line? Perhaps this will lead us to discuss business models. Examples: collecting customer info, providing product information, etc.

Steve Liberace -- Perhaps there are two business models (to really simplify): Providing information with your database that the user pays for, and using the database to support your normal activity, which would include providing and collecting information to and from potential customers?

Sudha Jamthe -- Richard: At my work, we've setup an Accesss database and create dynamic pages to post product information, patches and bugs fixes and keep them current. Our customers can visit this special restricted site we've setup and get the latest product patches. We use the access database to validate our customers with password access.

Steve Liberace -- I'm interested in the business model of sites that do dynamic content: what is the price range for getting a dynamic site built, and what criteria are involved (i.e., type of database, size of database, kinds of queries)?

Frank LaRosa -- Steve -- depends on the application. I do database driven sites for as little as $5000 and I have done several in the $50,000 and over range. I can use simple flat file databases (DBASE, Paradox, Access) or stand-alone SQL servers depending on the demands of the job.

Frank LaRosa -- The key to doing a database-driven web site is deciding that you're going to spend more in the short run for something that is going to last you a lot longer than just making up a directory full of HTML files.

Jeff -- Business Models: Free "limited" views to hook people. Subscriber views are based on the number of fields you want access to. (User picks what they want to see and pay for) Millicent (or micropayments) are important, but haven't gotten far enough to implement this yet. Downloads (or views of the database) will cost depending on number of records you choose. User Views: Once a user signs up, the page will only show the options you (or your company "via domain") have payed for. Other options will NOT even show up on the screen. We will also tag people via cookies and add them back into the database to save the current view for the user. This also allows us to store every query ever made by each user.

David -- Richard ( As a market research firm that I was recently associated with -- here is a specific business model which could work - People need to know the Table of Contents of our Work (that is free - it is an outline of what they will get if they buy the content) We would like to sell them the summary paragraphs first (this would be the next level up - and would give them access to alot of the information derived from the work behind the study) this would cost perhaps 500 bucks -- the next level would be the entire contents of the study -- all the supporting data and charts that go into the entire study - this might cost 2,500 bucks -- All kinds of information related businesses can follow some sequence of the above business model. Ie. you are a photo studio -- you want to show people your work and let them have a free glimpse...yet you would want them to pay for various levels of usage and frequency of the photograph -- or any other type of intellectual property....

Maxsol -- "Data Marts" (varying levels of security/services/privileges and fees)

David -- one of the previous attendees to this session - tony [Giroti at Maxsol ]- has a nice database acess tool which allows the non=technical types (like me !) to have access to pretty sophisticated databases (which are web attached on the back-end) via very simple front end query --- you just point and click at the data you want - and it gets the data and returns it to your web query. Very nice application assitant utility here --

Dan Kalikow -- Hi, Dan K. here. Hey David, I just joined Tony Giroti's MaxSol Inc. which makes the cool "database browser for the masses" tool. Tnx for the plug!! (grin)

David -- Sure Dan - you are welcome - very nice looking tool - MaxSol is the company with the database that I was talking about - Glad you joined the company Dan - I think it looks very exciting !!!

Sudha Jamthe -- Congrats Dan

Dan K. -- Whoops, equipment problems here. I may not be on for long, looks like the flakes have hit here too... & thanks for the congrats Sudha!!

David -- I think the whole concept of having varying levels of security/services/privileges and fees associated with each level or service is key for any tool which would allow us to have a Database offered on the web --- I think Lotus Domino has some capabilities in this area - but I am not sure how easy they are to implement -- I would like to see something that would be as easy to use as an Excel Spreadsheet -- ie. check off boxes with options at each level of access --etc.
Does anyone know of something either out there already or underway to accomplish this kind of a function ?

Richard Seltzer -- David -- Sounds like the kind of capability that MaxSol offers. Dan -- can you step in here and clarify please? Millicent is a micropayment system, a way to charge very small sums for access to information (less than a penny, if you want). But the levels of security, etc. would have to come from software (like Maxsol's) that provide the Web-access to the database.

Dan K. -- Yes Richard, David's asking (unless I'm mistaken) for something like a "DataMart" wherein the DBA says "User X can see all of table A, but not the salary field of Table B." DbLive@Web can do this with a simple point-'n-click UI. I was demoing it yesterday at the Mass SW Council's Entrepreneur Forum, and folks loved the concept and its ease of use... I am coming to think that this tool is to databases as browsers were to flat info on the web. In effect it's a DB browser for the masses. (Pardon the sales hype, after all they DID hire me to be an evangelist... (grin))

Dan K. -- Sorry I can't stay online longer. Ciao all. Keep up the great community-building work, Richard! Dan Kalikow, VP Technical Marketing, MaxSol Inc.


Ed Jaros -- My main hesitation about database access would be security.

Jeff -- Richard, Yes, security is VERY important. On average, we have over 50 attempted breakins a week (usually via robots like Satan). Our plan is to use the new AltaVista Firewall because of the new SQL proxy service they have created. This will allow us to limit the SQL commands that go through the firewall and also allow us to screen out most of the hackers "C" classes. (Notice I said "C" class instead of domain -- this way we block their entire site.

Richard Seltzer -- Jeff -- 50 break-ins? I'm impressed. If that many folks want to try that hard to get to your data, it must have some value. Please tell us something about the contents. I believe that some of the folks connected here could take advantage of it.

Jeff -- Richard, Yes, 50 "attempted" breakins is the weekly average. But, when we register a new domain, we tend to see between 500 and 2,000 attemps in the first 30 days. The hackers are getting smarter with robots.

David -- Does anyone else wonder what the hackers are so interested in getting that they take the time to do this kind of activity ? Perhaps there should be some kind of an association of web-masters which will refuse any addresses from which hackers are known to use as they try to enter sites to wreak havoc ? Seems like Security is the biggest issue for everyone to have to deal with on a daily basis ?

Jeff -- Frank, Yes, we have thought of that aleady. The Hackers Breakin Site. Go there and download a common list of ip address to add to your screening engine.

Ed Jaros -- I would think if a hacker is smart enough to do damage he is smart enough to get around any listings he's on as well with aliases.


Richard Seltzer -- All -- Time is passing very quickly. While I've learned some good stuff today, I'm at the same time disappointed because I still have only the foggiest notion of what can be done with the offerings of Interwoven and Searchlight. Any chance that John Lee and Frank LaRosa can join us again?
Also, Jeff, I don't think the folks here understand yet the kind of data that you have making available and how to get to it.

Richard Seltzer -- All -- I'd like to evolve the topic next week more toward the business models and also more toward what can be done at hosted sites. What ISPs are offering these kinds of capabilites as value-added services? What's the going rate? What other related value-added services are available on a hosted basis -- such as setting up a store?

Richard Seltzer -- Other topics I'm considering for the future include -- Internet telephony, how can it be used and why isn't it being used more extensively today? what business models can be build around it? Also (perhaps related to the Millicent questions) what business models work for on-line publishers today? Does the advertising approach work? Or subscriptions? If not, why not and what are the alternatives. Please let me know if these topics interest you.

Steve Liberace -- Business on the www: I think that there was a deliberate attempt to stay away from product info this time and try to focus more on business models: maybe that just doesn't work with the interests of the group?

Richard Seltzer -- Steve -- I think it is good to focus on business models. But there are some instances where we need to know more about what is possible -- what are the capabilities of unique products -- in order to grasp the business models. For me, that's the case today with Interwoven and Searchlight.

Richard Seltzer -- All, as usual I'll do an edited (threaded) version of the transcript and post at my site. Check
Also, please send me email with your followup comments for addition to the transcript. (I just added some more to last week's

Richard Seltzer -- All -- before you leave please post your email addresses and URLs so we can keep in touch (don't presume the software captured that info).

Frank LaRosa -- I'd be happy to join you again. I'm interested in talking about the more abstract benefits of using a database model to create web sites.

Richard Seltzer -- Frank, glad to hear that you can make it next week.
John, what about you? And also Bob@Cottage and Jeff? And others?

john_lee -- Richard, I'm going to check out. Thanks for the invite and good luck with your chat community.

David -- thanks Richard -- this was very interesting - lots of good info here today ! thanks everyone !

David -- david reachable at

Frank LaRosa -- My email is, the home page for Searchlight Software is Thanks.

Jeff -- Richard, Millicent would be a GREAT topic. Also, what ISPs are offering around eCommerce & Database Hosting Services. (Outsourcing your DB and eCommerce Requirements!)

David -- Would love to hear more about Millicent too - perhaps Daya Puls could lead us to someone who is knowledgeable in this area ?

Frank LaRosa -- So long -- please email me if anyone has additional questions.

Steve Liberace -- Steve Liberace is reachable at: Thanks Richard and everyone

Jeff -- Great session... Bye. (

Ed Jaros -- As always I learned a lot. Thanks all and hope to Chat w/ y'all again next week. Internet Telephony for a future session sounds great. ... currently homeless

Richard Seltzer -- Thanks to all for your participation. Hope to "see" you again next week. Please spread the word, check the transcripts and send me email.


Business Models for Publishers -- Millicent

From: "James B. DiGriz" <> Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 12:46:37 -0400

Millicent does look very interesting, although "a quarter a click", or even more, is what we are looking at for stories and articles. I do see a lot of potential for sub-penny transactions however. Stock quotes for instance. Database lookups. That kind of thing.

Ideally this should be implemented so that robots or user agents and other external software could handle the transactions (who needs to stay at a keyboard all day?), and the buyer interface should be indistinguishable from the vendor's or broker's, The only difference would be in the configuration with regard to broker authorization, and what information is sold. This approach has the potential both to address privacy and security concerns and to enforce the proprietary interests of the buyer with respect to personal or business information that might not otherwise be shared.

It might also overcome a lot of computer phobia if users were able to generate income simply by turning that expensive desk ornament on. It might also stimulate a lot of commerce and enterprise that otherwise wouldn't occur, once people realize what a little effort could bring.

If the traditional patronizing corporate paranoid control model does not prevail, that is.


James B. DiGriz http://www.nbccos.com

HTML pre-processors

From: dave rockwell Date: Monday, June 16, 1997 1:45:59 PM

i was looking over the db/web transcripts and it occurred to me that one of the things people like is this idea of modular pages and keeping style separated from content. It is possible to achieve this without resorting to databases through the use of HTMP pre-processors.

The one I use quite extensively in MCS [at Digital Equipment] is htmlpp from simple string substitutions, header-file type constructs and for loops that can act on file lists or text lists makes a very powerful facility, at very low cost (publiclly available), and the result is simple html which is NOT hidden from AltaVista and other full text search engines , which is a big drawback in my view.

Web/DB development is chock full of hidden development costs and buggy as hell.

Just thought I would pass this on...did not get a chance to dive into discussion...

htmlpp is highly reccomended, the developer is very open to ncorporating new ideas (has done so for me and MCS).

David T. Rockwell ( Rocky) "Da Duke of URL", Digital Equiment Corp., Shrewsbury MA,

Internet Telephony

From: Ed Jaros <> Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 07:58:34 -0700

You mentioned Interent phone for a future topic so I thought this would be of interest to you.

Ed Jaros, Your Internet Strategist

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