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Showing posts from June, 2005

Backflip: A Dot-Com Survivor Story

Hundreds (at least) of Web-based businesses were launched in the late 90's with a business model of giving away a cool tool or service while earning revenue through advertising. While a few of these have survived intact -- and a few more survived by radically changing their business models -- most have disappeared.

One interesting survivor is Backflip.com. This is an online bookmark service, which I have found very useful in doing research, particularly for collaborative research projects. Like the Bookmarks or Favorites feature in your browser, Backflip lets you note Web pages for later revisiting and categorize them into folders and subfolders. Beyond what your browser can do, however, Backflip lets you 1) access your bookmarks from any computer, 2) keep your bookmarks (selectively) private, make them public, or share them with a defined group, and 3) search within your Backflipped pages. Here is the company's story.

Backflip was started in 1999 by Netscape veterans Tim Hickma…

Briefly: The MIT Blogging Survey, Blog Submission

A group at MIT is conducting a survey of bloggers. I just completed it, takes about 10 minutes. It's an intriguing set of questions, and it will be interesting to see the results when posted in early July. The larger the sample they receive, the better their results will be, so if you've got a few minutes to devote to the study of blogging, click the image.



I also submitted this blog to Popdex, the Web site popularity index (probably dangerous in my case), as well as to Bloguniverse and Blogarama. I hope to make the Top 1 Billion list someday.

Search Popdex:

What Tone Does Your Web Site Set?

Your Web site is often one of the first places where your prospects will form an impression of your company. What you say on your home page is critical, but how you say it is equally important. Your home page should clearly communicate three things:

- What your company does

- Why you’re the best (i.e. why I should want to do business with you)

- What you’d like me – a visitor to your site – to do next (e.g. call you, email you, read something, buy something, search for something, download something, etc.)

Your home page, and your site, also set a tone. Is it friendly and inviting, making me want to take the next step? Or is it in some way off-putting, giving me a less than ideal impression of your company?

We’ve all seen examples of sites that set a poor tone; cheesy, pompous, confusing, or just plain bland. Setting just the right tone to reflect the personality for your company that you’d like to convey (for example, professional yet pleasant) is challenging – but valuable, if done well.

I…

Selecting an Advertising Agency

How do you select the best marketing agency for your needs? Two new pages recently added to WebMarketCentral address this issue: "How to Choose an Ad Agency (Marketing Agency)" and "How to Write an Ad Agency RFP." Selecting an agency is a common enough practice that I had assumed there would be a wealth of advice on the Web pertaining to this, but when I googled phrases such as "choosing an advertising agency," "selection process for an ad agency," and "how to write an advertising agency RFP" I was surprised at how little (of value) I could find. So, drawing on a small amount of research and a large amount of experience, I put these pages up on the site.

That said, I did find a few pieces of interest. RFPs seem to be a highly controversial topic, with some authors detailing how to create the perfect RFP while others recommend not using one at all. In "How to Find, Evaluate & Hire an Adertising Agency" from agencyfinder.com…

New Beginnings

I'm just about finished reading "Rough Edges: My Unlikely Road From Welfare To Washington" by Jim Rogan, the incredible story of how Rogan rose from an extremely tough start in life - unwed mother on welfare, alcoholic step-father - to become a two-term Congressman from California and later Undersecretary of Commerce and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office in the Bush administration. Regardless of your political leanings (this book is heavy on the autobiography, light on the politics), Rogan's story is compelling and highly entertaining. This isn't a book for the prudish - many of the characters in Rogan's early life used rather raw language at times, and he quotes them accordingly - but if you can handle that, the book is by turns very funny, tragic, and inspiring.

I thought of this book when putting together my portal site for Web marketers, WebMarketCentral.com, because of two key lessons I took from it. One, that life throws all of us…