Here’s something for the one-man department to think about. I always wondered who would tell my favorite discussion group that I was dead. My company is probably more concerned with making sure I have other things accessible. The article does link to a “Dead man’s switch” program.

Lycos News | Dead Men Tell No Passwords

Wishful waiting won’t work

Editorial from Test & Measurement World 6/2002 by Jon Titus struck a chord with me today. Thought I should share it with you:

The economic boom of the 90s has gone, and those who wait for business to “come back” to the level we experienced in the past decade might as well wait for Elvis to reappear at Graceland. Sorry, folks, but it just won’t happen, No miracle .will occur to make the economy better. What we have now is the new economy.

I fear, though, many people will do little but hope business picks up. These people hesitate to spend money, start new projects, and boost their own enterprises. Instead, they whine about business and complain about the economy. But just as the stock market leaves “market timers” behind, so does the economy. We can’t wait for someone else’s first move to signal the time to recharge our businesses. We must listen to customers to find out how their businesses have changed, and we must accurately-and honestly-gauge our strengths and weaknesses. We have to forget about the past and take advantage of the business climate that exists now. Wishing and waiting won’t strengthen the economy. No matter what the economic situation-boom or bust-we always can exploit weaknesses in competitors’ positions, capitalize on our strengths, start projects that show promise, cut dead-end efforts, and take other actions that improve our businesses.

In many areas, business stinks, but that can’t stop you from moving forward. The people who do something first or get someplace first make history. Who remembers the second developer of the microprocessor or the integrated circuit? And who will remember the companies that got a late start in the next economic growth cycle? Now’s the time to decide if you want people to remember you as a winner or a whiner.

SherpaBlog has an interesting commentary about offering print catalogs that only duplicate your web content. Basic summation: people who request catalogs convert to sales at higher rates. Anne doesn’t site any sources, but it seems obvious.

The interesting question is why I spend $20K (or more) on my main catalog and $35 a month on my company’s website? Hmmm.

Shop-bots for B2B?

For my “etailing” class at GVSU, I had to investigate shop-bots, including B2B application. Here is the B2B version. You can also see the whole assignment.

At the office this morning we had a discussion about bots for our industry. Some b2b bots are just simple vendor directories and others are more extensive comparison tools. The discussion centered on whether we should be listed at these sites and why.

We came to the conclusion that sites with comparison tools (, attempt to make our product a commodity (not desirable). And as a larger player in our industry, our presence would legitimize such a service (also not desirable). The new directory service ( tries to promote each vendor, which is more reasonable to us, but the prices they are charging are very high to little additional value. Their rate, $400 a month translating to $2 a click-thru, is basically assuring high visibility due to their ranking on the search engines.

Marketing “Mystery Meat”

Just got this email (marked with a high priority exclamation mark, no less). Geez!!!

Good Day:

My name is Kristin Burton and I represent Racar International located in Anderson, Indiana.

I am attaching a flash presentation so that you may become more familiar with what our company can do for you. You may also visit our website at

After reviewing the presentation please contact me so we can set-up a face to face meeting.

Thank you for your time and I hope that we can become wonderful business partners.

Best Regards,

Kristin Burton

Office Manager

Racar International

765-644-4727 Office Phone

And what is it that they do?

Web advertising

Okay, I don’t advertise with banners or pop-ups, but I certainly suffer them like everyone else. This explains the current trend of pop-ups and how they affect site-owners running them.

Wired 10.06: View

This is a hysterical “Daily Sucker” from Web Sites that Suck!


Very rare for me to laugh out loud at my PC!. This was my fave:





Well, at least he understands that viewers need *alternate navigation paths*.

Old school or new school

Got another call from GlobalSpec to get listed at their site. I’ve told her repeatedly that their service comes after we consider our future with Thomas Register and their big green books. I’m not too excited about TR, but I need some convincing that something else will be better. Since the web has started I’ve seen various web services come and go. I’ve only been happy with Google and Overture advertising because you are paying for what you are getting, and you are in control.

I am currently trying out on a per click basis. The activity is higher than I would expect. GlobalSpec’s flat fee makes it a harder decision to make and/or justify. Still, B2B websites need a killer-app (think viral) to pull people like me in.

Trade publication directories antiquated

Took care of responding to two “free directory listing” requests from two publications. Neither show any real attempt at streamlining the process. One from Laurin Publishing has a whole thick booklet to go through and manually check-off each category you want your company listed under. At least my sign-up form was pre-filled out making my job easier.

The other request came via email and I responded to it in the same way. The email came from the publication’s adminstrative assistant as a Word attachment. They can’t even rip a PDF for a broadcast email, even though I get regular professional snail-mailings from them. I had to then manually type in my responses in a normal email, as the Word file wasn’t set-up to fill-in the blanks. I could have ripped a quick Frontpage form to do what they want in 15 minutes. It would save all the answers in a table ready for import into their database. Geez!

Received mailing from a local direct-mail house offering a seminar on their services, with guest speaker from the Post Office. Our tax dollars at work for someone else, I guess. No URL on the oversize postcard. That’s a pet peeve of mine–no URL, no interest from me.