The Internet is Not Everything to Everyone

Dec 5 22:00 2001 Todd Rockwell Print This Article

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When the webmaster's full-time attention is on publications on the Internet,
and all full-time efforts are to increase public distribution of data posted
in these publications,Guest Posting it is difficult not to over-concentrate. I believe
most webmasters are aware of the existence of obsolescent post office mail
advertising, or snail mail, but I do not believe much advertising effort is
currently being channeled into anything except Internet related sources.
Even magazines are now ezines and "personal contact" means e-mail. We still
see individuals, sometimes dressed in weird costumes, standing alongside the
road in a downtown area, waving a sign about a grand opening, or grand
closing, or special car wash, or some such. But I have never seen anyone
standing alongside the road waving a sign advertising a new website. "That
isn't the way Internet sites are promoted". But why not? There is no law
stating physical business sites must be promoted physically, and cyberspace
sites promoted only in cyberspace.

Many, many people now have an electronic door that can be knocked on via
email or notices in search engines or bannered in popular programs or on
popular sites. But those same people still have a physical presence that can
be reached. The excitement of all the new "dot.coms" is subsiding, but not
necessarily the products they presented to an eager public. While many of
the flood of e-businesses were little more than electronic pyramid letters,
the online sales of durable goods has not decreased substantially with the
expiration of the many get-rich-quick schemes. Like the days of the
California Gold Rush many dot.coms did not pan out - but many e-businesses
became online catalogs of what people had formerly driven their cars to a
store to view, and satisfied customers of such catalogs are not going to
readily relinquish the convenience of online shopping. However,
non-satisfied customers of online shopping, and those yet to test the World
of Internet shopping, are not likely to learn about it from the Internet.
Literally millions of people have been hearing about the wonders and
convenience of the Internet - but the only place they can find out about
the Internet is from the Internet. And there is a lot of garbage on that
Internet, as well as useful websites. The Internet is not really a very good
atmosphere for presenting legitimate offers and products of value - unless
the customer already knows their value and knows the location where they can
be found. Separating the wheat from the chaff on the Internet requires
someone well versed in Internet procedure. It is truly a "boot-strap"
operation for someone to learn anything very useful from the Internet until
they have already learned quite a bit from that Internet. Everywhere the
uninitiated turn in cyberspace they encounter more confusion and deception.

Constructing and presenting useful e-business websites for skilled users is
not going to reach or impress millions of potential customers who are not,
and probably never will be, skilled users of browsers, email programs, and
the Internet in general. However, these same users can read the signs being
waved alongside the road, and follow the directions of pitchmen and women on
TV. This does not mean that webmasters need put on a chicken suit and dance
along sidewalks waving a sign promoting their website. In fact just such a
sign is not like providing the customer with a street address. Practically
everyone can find a location with a street address. But a large number of
people interested in whatever the sign might address, still have not the
knowledge or sufficient interest in the Internet to be able to find a URL
that may be shown them. The URL could be in a regular magazine or newspaper,
or shown on TV or listed on a radio show, and still be in a mysterious,
unattainable location for many, many people.

This leads to an unavoidable conclusion. Many products presented on the
Internet are not available to a large proportion of the population. And the
only way to make these products available to them is with person-to-person
contact. Tell a friend about a desirable product and show them how to reach
it online. Convince others to tell a friend about a desirable product and
show them how to reach it online. This cannot be done online. No amount of
website information and instructions will have a noticeable effect. The
product catalogs need to be online but the information on how to reach them
cannot be presented only online. The webmaster needs to physically meet the
public and not depend on achieving success by just sitting at the computer
and becoming proficient in programming.

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Todd Rockwell
Todd Rockwell

Todd Rockwell, webmaster for Arts & Crafts
online. Visit this site at

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