BUSINESS ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB:

where "word of keystroke" begins

November 20, 1997 -- Bazaars: low-cost store fronts


Transcript of the live chat session that took place Thursday, November 20, 1997. These sessions are normally scheduled for 12 noon-1 PM Eastern Time (GMT -5) 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 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


Introductions

Richard Seltzer -- All -- We're here to talk about Business on the World Wide Web. In particular, today we want to focus on low-cost storefronts on the Web. What are your options today? I'm hoping that the folks from Acunet will tell about their new offering and what can be done with it, and that others will point us to other possibilities. I believe that this is a new world that is about to open -- stores for very tiny businesses, to make the Web the home of bazaars and flea markets, with enormous diversity and choice.

All -- as you connect please introduce yourselves. That will help us get started more quickly.

eugene -- Good afternoon Richard from Eugene Cartright at Acunet

Richard Seltzer -- Hello, Eugene. Will others from Acunet be joining us as well?

eugene -- Otis will be joining soon. Ashu and the others just got back from COMDEX. Ashu is at my side and will be able to answer any questions.

Andy Morrison -- Hello all, Andy Morrison from INS

David C -- hi everybody...David from Groceries To Go

Tom Dadakis -- Hi I'm Tom Dadakis. I've been an internet consultant for since 94 for GE, GE Capital & IBM to drop some names. Currently at JP Morgan as the web manger for their Training group moving their training online. Social collaboration fits into my view of the virtual online classroom.

Dan Jones -- I am currently President of Internet Pro's Network LLC which runs WWW.YOUR-SITE.COM, The SHAREWARE.NETwork and several small information/sales web sites.

Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Dan -- what kinds of information do you provide?

David C -- Some of our corporate clients include I2 Technologies, BizTravel.com and Barrett Communications.

Sudha Jamthe -- Hi Richard


Cyberbazaars from Acunet

Richard Seltzer -- Eugene, Ashu et al. at Acunet -- Can you please give us a quick thumbnail view of what you just announced at Comdex and what you expect to come of it? In particular, I want to know when I'll be able to set up a tiny store (at no or low-cost) at your site, and what it will be like.

Ashu -- Hi, this is Ashu. First, thanks Richard and everyone for inviting Acunet to share some information about our newest ECommerce offering called CyberBazaars CommerceObjects - a Java/CORBA/JDBC based client/server solution suited to retail sales on the web.

Richard Seltzer -- Ashu -- in layman's terms, what do you provide? I realize that you are selling a software package for on-line stores. What's different about your approach? From a business rather than a technology point of view.

Ashu -- Acunet's Press Announcement at COMDEX/Las Vegas was on Tuesday Nov. 18th and we demostrated the product capabilities. The CyberBazaars ObjectServer 1.0 (priced under $1,000 per CPU) product will ship in January 1998. The client software for the shoppers is Java applet and is FREE. For Merchants the Java application will be priced around $39.

Richard Seltzer -- Eugene/Ashu -- What does one get for $1000 or for $39? How would a merchant make use of the Java application? Many small companies today use hosted Web pages. What's the business model for them? How can they take advantage of this?

Otis -- Hello all, I'm Otis from Acunet and will help answer any questions about CyberBazaars CommerceObjects

Richard Seltzer -- Ashu -- when you described your plans to me, what excited me was not the software (the technical details of which I do not understand), but rather the business model. I'm looking forward to your having a site that runs this software and that lets little companies quickly easily and inexpensively start to sell things. Can you tell us about those plans? And is there a URL we can go to today to see it/feel it in action? Or when will the service/hosted piece of this business venture be up and live?

David C -- Eugene/Ashu...does your company do backend database work for the customer, or simply transmit flat data files or emails? For example, in our case, another company provides our store engine, but we manage and operate the database. We run all of our warehouse operations off of our customized database program.

Otis -- David C: CyberBazaars is a very complex product, far ahead of its competition, and works with any ODBC compatible Database (nooo flat files, no CGI, etc. :))

Otis -- Richard: for $1000/CPU one (an ISP for example) gets our ObjectServer product. This product allows the owner of the server to open up a mall and allow merchants to start selling their good/ and services in it.

eugene -- Richard, from the business stand point Acunet's offering is significant enabler (from cost and ease of use perspective) for any web site owner who is interested in selling products or services over the net. Ignoring the underlying technology of CORBA or Java, our solution breaks a price barrier for all online merchants. Most other solutions on the market today are either priced out of reach for most merchants (starting at $25K for Intel/SAP's Pandesic service and well over $200K for OpenMarket solution. While these products provide robust environments but the price premium is prohibitive for wide scale use by low-end merchants. On the other hand low end solutions on the market like ICat or like do not grow in performance and capability as the business requirements grow - and effectively discard most of the time and effort put in at some later point.

Richard Seltzer -- Otis, Eugene, and Ashu -- I understand that part of your offering makes it easy to convert catalogs for on-line use. And, of course, you have the transaction/credit card piece. But what fascinates me is the concept of "bazaars" -- many, hundreds, thousands of very small stores selling in an environment that makes it easy for customers to find what they want and easy for vendors to set up to sell to them. Can you describe that environment and let us know when that will be available?

eugene -- Richard, Acunet will be setting up CyberBazaars offering as a service as well. I expect this service to start in early January as well. As part of this service offering merchants will not have to buy a server, but simply buy $39 software (called SalesBuiler) that allows them to set up store and manage it themselves.

Andy Morrison -- Eugene, how does your product/service address the lack of growth in performance and capability that are found in low-end solutions?

eugene -- Andy: We have been commited to provide the best in term of technology use in CyberBazaars. We are currently using CORBA technology in CyberBazaars that would do the load balancing on the ObjectSever and allow you deploy as many ObjectServer as needed.

Otis -- Andy Morrison: our product uses far superior technology (Java/CORBA/IIOP/JDBC) while similar existing products use CGIs, HTML templates - AND cost more than our solution.

eugene -- Another important fact to note about CyberBazaars scalability and performance issues stems directly from our use of IIOP protocol and bypassing the need of stateless HTTP and CGI programs (our reserach indicates that between the two they are responsible for about 2 orders of magnitude slowness in performance and are very very expensive to scale for large number of transactions.

Richard Seltzer -- Eugene -- talking about scalability, can you put it in business terms rather than technology terms. How many separate stores selling an average of how many products could you run off a single server?

eugene -- Richard, CyberBazaars SalesBuilder is a Java application wich interacts with the remote ObjectServer (or ObjectrServers) and there is no size restrictions other than the fact that each store needs it's own SalesBuilder licensed copy. But given the fact that it's priced at $39, it should appeal to anyone who is interested in selling just about anything on the net. In terms of pricing models such as flat monthly fee or transaction based fee - we are working on the details right now - but will fall into the commodity business models suited for an ISP to offer this service.

Otis -- Richard: Upgrades - yes - the upgrade feature is built into our products (the ObjectServer as well as SalesBuilder), so you won't have to FTP things, etc. If you ever used PointCast you'll know what I'm talking about.

Andy Morrison -- Eugene and Otis, does your product/service superiority also include automatic upgrades for vendors hosted on your servers? I'm not talking about free upgrades but upgrades that allow vendors to take advantage of the rapidly changing Internet technology.

Richard Seltzer -- Otis, et al. -- Are you intending to sell the software to individual retail companies? If so, what size company is the target market? Are you also intending to use this software on your own site to host many very tiny stores that do not need to or want to run their own servers? And are you intending to sell the software to other ISPs for them to set up "bazaar"-like hosted store operations? I thought you had a URL reserved for www.bazaars.com, but that doesn't seem to work anymore. What will the URL be for your hosted store site? And when can we expect to see it?

Otis -- Richard: yes, the owner/maintainer of CyberBazaars ObjectServer can open up an internet mall, and allow merchants (small as well as big) to sell their products on-line. Now, there are similar products that try to do that, but they lack features like: intelligent agents for comparison shopping, auctioning, haggling, etc.

Richard Seltzer -- Eugene -- Please tell us more about what SalesBuilder does. How will the service cost? Is there a charge for the service? And what does it include? How small of a store does this make sense for? And what's the upper limit on size as well? Ashu described this as doing for store-fronts what Geocities does for hosting personal Web pages. To me that sounds like it has enormous potential. Please tell us as much as you can about the business model and how small operations will be able to take advantage of this.

Otis -- Richard: yes, we will provide our own service that uses CyberBazaars early next year. It will consists of many small merchants' stores. The site is not ready for public yet, hence no URL :)

Richard Seltzer -- Otis -- please tell me more about "comparison shopping", "auctioning," "haggling". What do you have in mind? Try to paint a picture of shopping in such a Bazaar (and what will the URL be?) Will I be able to use the same "shopping cart" to go to dozens of small stores and then pay for all the pieces with a single credit card transaction and the software then sorts out who gets what? Or will each store have it's own payment mechanism?

Otis -- Richard: That's right, you can pay only once, even if you go to 100 stores and buy 100 products from different stores. No need to pay separately, the ObjectServer software handles all that for you. As far as comparison shopping: how can you do it today? no easy way at all! But, when you come to an internet mall that runs CyberBazaars you will be able to 1) find exactly what you by saying something like: I want a 21 inch monitor with 16M colors for under $400 - find it for me. If you find more than one you can compare items' prices, even if items are sold through different stores. As a matter of fact, the agents behind the ObjectServer will go to other internet malls to find the product you are looking for, and get information about products from there.

Otis -- Richard: SalesBuilder piece if the $39 piece of software that merchants use to do the following: register themselves as merchants, update their profile, manage their catalog (add/update/remove products, upload images, start auctions, haggling, etc.), view sales reports, change the look and feel of their storefront, etc.

Richard Seltzer -- Acunet -- the comparison shopping clearly becomes more interesting if you have very large numbers of stores in your bazaar. What is your target size?

Otis -- Richard: as I said, the comparison shopping doesn't stop at one internet mall, but it extends to the whole network of internet malls out there that are using our product. Not something you can do today, but you will be able very very soon :)

Richard Seltzer -- Ashu -- put on your visionary hat. In January you will open your hosted store front site. What order of magnitude are you aiming for? How many stores? How many products? Are you hoping to focus on any particular retail niche? or is this wide open to any kind of store from anywhere in the world? Is the cost for everyone just the cost of that Java application? Or do larger stores with reasonably high volume pay a fee based on the amount of business they are doing? What would you like your Bazaar to look like a year from now?

Ashu -- Richard - we vision to open about 100 stores in January 1998 on this web site and will focus on the Retail Merchants (selling flowers, selling books, CDs, travel agents, gift shops, etc.) We already are working with some larger Car dealers and another merchant specializing in Crystals and Lamps. In terms of cost, the pricing is same for everyone but there will be custom design work that some larger customer may want (such as linking the databases to their backend systems and/or supporting web to FAX or web to Paging interfaces). These customizations will not be part of standard pricing. But if you know your Java - you could do it yourself as well.

Richard Seltzer -- Acunet -- what about credit cards? Does the vendor setting up a store at your site have to have a merchant credit card account? What about the small flea-market type operations that don't have such account? Is there any way to enable them to sell over the Web? If so that would open the flood gates. Everybody who wants to do a gararge sale could open up a little store-front site. Do you hope to include that kind of vendor? Or just established regular businesses?

Otis -- Richard: I think for now credit cards are required (we need to veryfy that the person who identifies him/herself as a merchant really is a merchant), but in the future we may start accepting other forms of payment, etc.

Richard Seltzer -- Ashu et al. -- I'm excited by the notion of low-cost store fronts and the opportunities that opens up. Increasingly, I see ISPs and others offering hosted services with a specialized twist. Already I can have my Web pages hosted a one site and run a chat session on another and have a forum at another; now I'll be able to run a store operation somewhere else. Very quickly, without anything fancy, I can set up a modular distributed Web site, with hyperlinks and consistent look-and-feel connecting them, at no cost or very little cost. That's lots of piggybacking opportunities. That lets the little guy do lots of interesting things that seemed far beyond our reach just a year ago.

Richard Seltzer -- Ashu -- So to begin with it sounds like you'll be handpicking the vendors you invite or selecting particular ones from a large number of applicants. How long do expect it will be before you open the doors to the many? -- In particular, when will I be able to set up a store there (e.g., for electronic texts on disk, for books, etc.)? (I have a merchant credit card account).

David C -- Otis, does your company intend to get into the business of developing customized databases for clients, or are you going to leave that up to the customer?

David C -- What is the difference between this product and that offered by Viaweb?

David C -- Acunet: where does the handoff between you and the customer occur? For instance, suppose someone wants to set up an online store, but doesn't know anything about setting up a db...will you do that for the customer, or is it the customer's responsibility to provide you with a db? Also, how does your product differ from Viaweb?

Otis -- David C: Viaweb....I'm not familiar with that product. Would you happen to have the URL for it handy?

Richard Seltzer -- Otis -- check http://www.viaweb.com and also http://www.virtualspin.com Tracy Marks sent a followup message last night suggesting that we look at those. I haven't had a chance to go there yet myself -- but Tracy is always an excellent source.

Richard Seltzer -- Ashu, yes, how easy or complicated is it for the ordinary person with a couple dozen different things to sell to set up a store at your site? Do you have simple templates that anyone could use? Will it be necessary to get/pay for technical help? Or -- if you don't want anything fancy -- can a non-technical person just dive in? If so, how long would it take a non-technical person to have a functional store up and running?

Otis -- David C: you see, with our product a merchant does not need to know anything about any of the following: HTML, CGI, Database stuff (SQL, tables, etcetc). Now, the installation script creates everything for the end user (ObjectServer maintainer/owner) but the DB software has to be provided by the user (ObjectServer owner)

Richard Seltzer -- Otis -- looks like you were typing an answer at the same time I was typing a question :-) So there is an installation script. But do I need a database at all? If I'm only selling a few dozen items, why would I need a database?

Otis -- Richard: yes, but it can be MS Access Database, too, which you probably already have. You won't need to set it up though, you would just need to have it installed on your computer

Richard Seltzer -- Otis -- I'm still confused by the database piece. Yes, I have Access on my PC, though I've never had any reason to use it. Why would I need that to set up a store? And then what happens when I go through the installation script? Do selected files from that database then get automatically loaded to the Web site?

Otis -- Richard: no help is necessary, it takes a merchant less than 30 minutes to: 1) install the software, 2) register as a merchant using the software and 3) put his/her products in the on-line catalog. Also, templates are not necessary, the software is even more user friendly than that :)

Ashu -- Richard, for a non-technical person (but web savvy) we would expect him or her to spend about 15 minutes to 30 minutes reading the User Guide, and then after collecting the relevant information for the store setup (like product images, descriptions, etc.) our goal is to allow the setup in another 30 minutes.

Richard Seltzer -- Otis and Ashu -- that's what I was hoping. Actually, as I was putting together a proposed course outline, dealing with shoestring business on the Web, I thought that one good student assignment would be to set up such a store; following by assignments to then publicize the site etc.

David C -- Otis: I am considering setting up a separate operation that will be built on our experience in running our online store and managing our db...sounds like there may be a fit with your customer base.

Otis -- David C: I'm not sure I understand what the operation would be exactly....can you elaborate a bit more please?

David C -- Otis: my company, Groceries To Go, has an arrangement analogous to what your proposing. We work with another company that provides our online store engine. However, we manage all of the db administration, inventory control, pricing and product updates, support of order picking etc. These are the types of backend functions that online merchants will need as their sales expand.

David C -- Otis: what I'm talking about is the order processing that takes place offline. For example, in our case, we receive data files from our web partner. It is entirely up to us to decide how to use those data files. Done properly, and you have an efficiently run operation. Done improperly, and you have a logistical nightmare. :-)

Eugene -- David : There will be tools available that would allow you to export data from CyberBazaars ObjectServer into your oun DB.

David C -- Otis: The question Richard posed earlier vis a vis Access is exactly where we would come in. Our expertise is in Access db design and VBA programming.

Otis -- David C: oh yes, as a merchant you would still need to/be able to do things such as: inventory tracking, order history, etc. etc. - everything that you as a merchant need to do in the real world you are able to do through our SalesBuilder application

Otis -- David C: if I understand things well then any additional programming or DB design would not be necessary. It is all handled by ObjectServer and installation scripts.

Otis -- David C: we support ICVerify (so you can process Credit Cards any way you wish, as a merchant), CyberCash, and more later

Sudha Jamthe -- Ashu: I am trying to catch up on the earlier messages. You Cyber Bazaar seems very fascinating. Maybe you can stop by at our web-net meeting in Sloan school sometime in future and share this with pur members. I am sure they'd love it.

Ashu -- Sudha, we would definitely like to come to your meeting and share some of the excitement that we felt after roaming the COMDEX floors yesterday and day before. ECommerce market is real, people are ready Richard is asking the same question - When? and we are seeing that most major players including IBM who splashed "Are you ready for ECommerce today?" attracted large crowds in their booths. But unfortunately most vendors displaying their products were either older products relabeled as E-Commerce or low-performance CGI/HTTP, template based solutions.

Sudha Jamthe -- Ashu: maybe you alredy mentioned this. Does Cyber bazaar offer a common interface (like a mall) and common billing for customers visiting various shops on your site?

Otis -- Sudha: yes it does. There is a certain degree of uniformity to this product. While each store may look different (their owners pick colors, fonts, and other setting) there are certain parts that are the same across the mall.

Ashu -- Sudha, From the interface point of view - CyberBazaars offers a common set of views (which could be customized in terms of background/foreground color, text size/font/color, etc.) In terms of payment options, we will support IcVerify and CyberCash to start with and add most other one by one (as our agreements are executed for such partnerships). Given that - it's upto merchant what payment options they will pick and choose for their store.

eugene -- Richard : A merchant does not necessarily have to buy the CyberBazaars ObjectServer. The service should be provided by a third party who already have bought the ObjectServer. That party running the ObjectServer will need to maintain some in house DB. Be aware that maintenance tools will also be available from CyberBazaars software

Richard Seltzer -- Ashu, Otis, etc. -- Even though your hosted site isn't up on the Web yet, do you have a URL we can point people to to get more info (ideally to see and play with a model of what it will be like; at the very least to see related press releases)?

Otis -- Richard: that's correct, what Eugene said. We have to keep ObjectServer and SalesBuilder separate :)

Otis -- Richard: here is a start: http://cyberbazaars.acunet.net/


Groceries to Go

Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, David, from Groceries to Go -- love your service. When will you be delivering to West Roxbury again?

David C -- Hi Richard...I expect our home delivery service will be up and running shortly...in the meantime, our corporate delivery service is starting to take off

Richard Seltzer -- David -- How does corporate delivery work? What corporations do you have signed up? And could you expand your business over time to include more than groceries? If you already are going door-to-door could you become a delivery service for other companies selling over the Web to local customers (does that make sense at all?)

David C -- Our corporate delivery service consists of delivery of groceries, sodas and snack foods to companies for employee consumption. This service is ideally suited for small to medium size high tech companies that don't have full cafeterias onsite, and where employees work long hours.

Richard Seltzer -- David -- So for corporate delivery, do you actually go to a work site every single work day? Or ony one or two days a week?

David C -- Generally, our corporate clients are on a once per week delivery cycle. I should emphasize that in this case, our customer is the corporation, not individual employees.


Piloting students from Web page to Web page -- Contigo, Centra, etc.

Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Tom. I'm also very interested in virtual classrooms and distance education. That's an area that seems on the brink of blossoming. Have you tried http://www.contigo.com? They let you act as pilot and have a distributed audience look at the Web pages you choose as you choose them.

Tom Dadakis -- I will check out contigo. there are several current on the market. Centra is up in your area

Tom Dadakis -- Richard, just when to contigo. We developed a similar product. In fact as I particpate in this chat, I am listening to a presentation. As I wait for the chat screen to refresh, I check out the slides. We are setting a corporate library of presentations. Centra's Symposium allows slides,chats, audio,whiteboard, file sharing (excel,word,etc)in realtime or asychnronous. Place ware is one I have to look at.

Richard Seltzer -- Tom -- what's the name of the product you developed? And what's the URL for learning more about it or getting a demo?

Tom Dadakis -- Richard, we call it Virtual Presentation, but it is homegrown & propietary. they don't want to show it or sell it. Basically it captures the audio of the speaker as they make their powerpoint presentation. We then contect everything in a library so others who were not there could view & hear the presentation.

Sudha Jamthe -- Tom:Centra's Symposium - is it new? Is it something you developed? Or is there a URL to find info about it?

Tom Dadakis -- Sudha, http://www.centra.com we are just considering using it for a pilot

Richard Seltzer -- Tom -- Do you consider Centra as a piece of a distance ed solution? If so, what other kinds of apps do you typically use with it to put together a complete course/experience?

Tom Dadakis -- Richard, Centra allows the instructor to control the discussion of the class by handing over the 'microphone' as opposed to a conference call when two may speak at the same time and drown each other out. It allows pre & post class work areas and as I said you can pull a client like excel onto everyone desktop. then according to who has the mike can write on the spreadsheet. pretty powerful.

Richard Seltzer -- Tom -- Is that software downloadable for trial?

Tom Dadakis -- Centra does not have a trial demo but if you go to their site, they will tell you how to get a demonstration.

Sudha Jamthe -- Tom: Thanks for Centras URL. I'll check it out. I look for new ideas to integrate my work place (BGS Systems) using the web. After the placeware demo, I am looking for such a tool that can allow online meetings with our customers and among our international offices. Please share your experience or research in this area. thanks.

Tom Dadakis -- sudha, isn't a virtual classroom similar to a virtual consultation with an expert. That is why the training area will be an interesting expertmentation for testing collabortation.

Sudha Jamthe -- Tom: At Web-Net, our virtual class rooms are chat rooms just like this one. 


Placeware

Richard Seltzer -- Hi, Sudha, sorry to start another thread, but do you want to quickly summarize feedback from our Placeware experiment? We never got a chance to wrap that up last week because of technical difficulties.

Sudha Jamthe -- Placeware summary: We tried placeware, an new online auditorium from Placeware Inc (of Pala Alta Xerox) in an online meeting on Tues 4th. ALl we needed was the browser and an optional audio client. Richard Spoke about "Social Web" very clearly with audio like the radio. There were 15 attendees. 3 didn't have audio. I got feedback from the folks by email and had a discussion during the last web-net meeting. Everyone just loved it. Dan kalikow of Maxsol and Lynn Lyee, the web-net volunteer who is reviewing placeware jumped in to type Richard's talk for those who didn't have audio. The fun part of the experience was that everyone could speak to others in their row, raise hands to ask questions and listen to Richards clear voice. Everyone agreed this is the way to go, but speed of your machine and dial-up access are limitations. So, it will take off best in an intranet setting.

Tom Dadakis -- Richard, did you save your presentation at placeware. I'm there now but can't determine which presentation is yours.

Richard Seltzer -- Tom -- The presentation should still be there, but I'm not sure what they call it. You could look for "richard" or for the title "social web" or for the date that we did it.

Sudha Jamthe -- Tom: About placeware transcripts. We started recording the transcripts. Except for the audio part, everything got recorded. Placeware folks have promised to get it to us. Will let you know when its ready. 


Wrapup

Richard Seltzer -- All -- next Thursday is Thanksgiving, so we'll skip that week. Hence our next chat session will be Thursday Dec. 4. Would you like us to continue this discussion about low-cost store fronts at that time? If so, I'd really appreciate followup messages with pointers to related information and other alternatives so we can all be better prepared. As an alternative, my next highest priority would be to move on to distance education/training. That seems to be ready to blossom.

Sudha Jamthe -- Richard: Lets continue on this topic and you can wrapup and lead into distance education.

Richard Seltzer -- Thanks to all for joining us. Please join us again on December 4. Please let me know your preferences and send email with all those thoughts you never got a chance to type in. seltzer@samizdat.com

Richard Seltzer -- All -- time is running out. before you leave, please post your email and URL addresses so we can get in touch. As usual, I'll post the transcript in the next day or two. Check http://www.samizdat.com/#chat And please send me email at seltzer@samizdat.com with your followup messages. Please let me know your preferences for future sessions. My personal preference would be to continue this topic on Dec. 4, connect live from Internet World on Dec. 11, and then to move on to distance education/training on December 18 (before taking a Christmas break).

Richard Seltzer -- Ashu, Otis, Eugene, thanks very much for joining us today and explaining your new offering. Would you be available to return on Dec. 4 after folks have had a chance to look at cyberbazaar etc.?

Ashu -- All - thanks for the lively discussion. Looking forward for the next session. Until then, Bye. Ashu

Tom Dadakis -- Richard, you might want to invite Elliot Masie (elliott@masie.com) http://www.masie.com or Tim Kilby (tkilby@ filename.com) http://www.filename.com/wbt/index.html to discuss webbased training

Richard Seltzer -- Tom -- thanks for those suggestions. I'll followup.

Otis -- Otis Gospodnetic - otis@acunet.net talk to you later. Richard - thank you!

Richard Seltzer -- Gospodnetic -- amazing name! Is that Russian for "Lord of the Net"?

Eugene -- All: It has been a pleasure participating in the chat with you. It will be a pleasure to repeat this on Dec 4th. Good bye, Eugene Cartright ecartrig@acunet.net

David C -- Thanks all...cuthbert@gtg.com

Otis -- ALL: also please feel free to visit us in the Digital Booth at the Internet World in NYC on December 11th

Otis -- ALL: thanks, and keep your eyes on http://cyberbazaars.acunet.net/ - the beta of SalesBuilder will be available there soon!

Ashu -- Richard - for the Press Releases and some overview information we invite you to visit http://cyberbazaars.acunet.net

Richard Seltzer -- Otis and Ashu -- thanks for the pointer to cyberbazaars. It really helps if people have something that can touch and feel. (And many folks who connect to our chat run more than one window and can look at examples while chatting).


Followup

Looking for new hosting service

From: Sudha Jamthe <sudha@bgs.com> Date: Thu, 20 Nov 1997 11:41:35 -0500

I've tested our chat room and everything looks fine, the loading speed is also good. So, hopefully everything shd go fine.

I am very disappointed with our hosting service. Digiweb (digiweb.com) has not only failed ot help us with last week's web-net chat access problem, but they've also changed some OS feature that allows automated jobs and hence Coo!a is totally manual now. What I find as unprofessional is that they changed access to cron job which allowed scheduled jobs and didn't bother to tell us. When I call, they are asking me to pay extra $10 per month to have the timed job facility. All this is learning about where the industry is heading. I am wondering how this would affect small businesses on the web if ISP policies and costs change without notice.

I think it all translates to the importance an ISP gives to customer service as such. This raises the question of what is the level of quality in web services today.

In my example, if my ISP doesn't allow me to run timed jobs, the reliability I can offer my customers is taxed unless I pay the extra $$ for it.

Can you share this with your chat list. I'd like to hear other's experience with ISP helping or damaging businesses and of course good examples of hosting services that exist.

Su


Cyberstores

From: Tracy Marks <tmar@tiac.net> Date: Mon, 24 Nov 1997 04:53:30 -0500

I was delighted to read the current transcript about cybershop offerings etc. (though I remain suspicious of java, which crashes my computer and every computer I've ever used). Richard mentioned my suggestions about http://www.viaweb.com/ and http://www.virtualspin.com/ so I'll say a little more here.

The November 18 PC Computing has a feature article reviewing 12 cybershop setups - two of the least expensive ($100 a month or less, including hosting) which are Cartalog at http://www.virtualspin.com and ViaWeb at http://www.viaweb.com (their number one choice).

Just found the article online by the way at http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/e-comm_prod/_intro.htm OR http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/e-comm_prod/_open.htm and the Editor's choice segment on ViaWeb at http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/e-comm_prod/rev12.htm

I've been researching this subject since I'm creating a web site for an antique reproductions store, and need to set up a low-cost cybershop for them without having to get too technical. The results of my research lead me to agree with PC Magazine and choose ViaWeb because it is a full-featured and hosted setup one can easily set up, with secure transactions for a flat $100/month with no extra costs, and the first 10 days free.

I initially considered Cartalog but was put off by its traffic limitations. On package one, which is under $100 a month, one only gets 100mb of traffic a month...and after that, the cost per 100 mb becomes prohibitive. Imagine a site with images of 50 products, and visitors on the average downloading 500kb per visit. After 200 visitors per month, you're in trouble.

Several other related Zdnet articles online:

ALSO..... perusing many html newsgroups recently, in which discussion of designing cybershops has been a topic, these two shopping cart systems have been recommended (though I don't guarantee by disinterested parties: FUTURE CHATS

I will be on a plane to Florida noon Dec 4 and returning noon Dec. 11, so will miss the next chats too...but will stay in touch by transcript....Have much experience taking courses online and some experience teaching so I'm eager for the distance education topic December 18.

GEOCITIES

AND Geocities now has an advertisement web page which one must pass through to access any page on a Geocities site (one can avoid it on home page though by putting a slash after the address). This is very disturbing to those of us with Geocities sites (I do demonstrations from my online class site there) because we have to wait 10 seconds to get to each page ...and because the ad page is such that Internet newbies won't know what's happening and will give up before accessing the site. I think this could be a loss of about 75% of visitors.

And on the page there is nothing but advertisements for Geocities!! This is true for Geoplus sites as well (which I have, and which cost, because they give 10mb of web space and a semi-domain name - e.g. only one word to index page after geocities.com url)... And of course they gave users no choice or warning...

Tracy Marks, M.A. tmar@tiac.net http://www.windweaver.com/ 


ZDU Class Notification

From: Tracy Marks <tmar@tiac.net> Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 19:48:13 -0500

Your group might be interested in two of the computer business classes starting at ZDU soon.....notices just received:

This is to notify you that the ZD University class, "Intro to HTML: Build a Small Business Web Site" is now open for registration to enrolled ZDU students.

Visit ZDU's Business department in the Course Catalog (http://www.zdu.com/zdu/catalog/business.htm) to register for this class. If you are not a current ZDU member....

AND

You have registered for the ZDUniversity online class "Building an Online Community."

Below is important information relating to your class.

1. The class begins on Monday,December 1,1997.

2. Your instructor is Katherine L Prouty.

3. The required textbook for this class is "net.gain: Expanding Markets through Virtual Communities", ISBN 0875847595. If you don't already have the book, please order it now from the ZDU Campus Store.http://www.zdu.com/zdu/store/netgain.htm

Tracy Marks, M.A. tmar@tiac.net http://www.windweaver.com 


Shopping Cart -- Free Demo

From: Tracy Marks <tmar@tiac.net> Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 21:34:57 -0500

Haven't really checked this out, but it's one of the few pieces of mail I did retrieve from my spam box today...Thought you might want to know about it.

Tracy

From: webmaster@cigi.com Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 16:30:19 -0600 (CST)

Thought you may be interested in installing a shopping cart to help better service your customers. If you are interested in seeing how this works or if you would like to find out more about the carts features, you can go to:

http://www.webjunkie.com/cashcart/index.html

It won't cost you anything but some time and your commitment to get started. We do not ask for any payments up front, all we ask is that you meet the following requirements:

1) Your pages must be hosted on a UNIX type server.

2) You are serious about purchasing a Shopping Cart to enhance your website.

Thats it. If you meet the above requirements, and are ready to add a Shopping Cart to your website, contact us today so we can get started on your working demo. This demo will be created from your own online catalog and will be used as your templates. When you are satisfied with the performance of your working demo and are ready to transfer it over to your server, that is when we ask for payment.

PRICES

Shopping Cart Program, Manual, and Tech Support $250.00

Shopping Cart Program, Manual, Installation, Tech Support $425.00

Once we receive payment we will install the Shopping Cart on your server, or provide you with detailed instructions on how to do it yourself; the choice is yours. You will also receive your templates and instructions on how to use them. If you get stuck along the way, we offer tech support via phone or e-mail, for as long as you need it.

Eric Pagan, Webjunkie Productions, http://www.webjunkie.com


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

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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
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