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 The E-Marketing Digest
 Volume #2,Issue #166
 April 27, 1998
 Gary K. Foote, Moderator

 Put the EMD Member's Button on your website.  Declare your 
 pride in participation while helping to build circulation.

 Table of Contents

 + Ongoing

    "Affiliate Programs"
       - Cynthia (Sunni) Freyer

    "Charging for Information Online"
       - Cynthia (Sunni) Freyer

 + Website Issues

    "Internet Malls
       - John Vinokur
       - George Matyjewicz

 + E-mail Corner

    "?Subject= Tag"
       - George Matyjewicz

 + The Corkboard

       - Phil Doyle

 + Question of the Week

    "Where does the majority of your 
     site traffic come from?


 Moderator's Comments

Hi All,

Happy Monday.  Today's issue is somewhat different in that is
features some longer than average posts on frewe than normal
topics.  One in pareticular, 'Internet Malls', has reached its
end as far as the debate over whether or not they actually work.
Instead, because it is certain they will be around for some time
to come, future posts on this subject should focus on *how* they
work best.


***  FIRST TOPIC - Affiliate Programs  ***

From: "Cynthia (Sunni) Freyer" 
Subject: Affiliate Post

Re: Clay Cook

I noted your post to Gary's E-Marketing digest this morning --
and, to repeat your words -- it came at an opportune time for my
company also.  

We are currently in the process of constructing a web site called
CFNAONLINE for my firm, CFNA, Inc, which provides PR/Marketing
Communications/Business Consulting services.  These service
categories include project work, which involves us also in web
site creation work.

As you already know, creating and managing a site is
labor-intensive -- if it's a site being attended to. Knowing
that, my onus is to assure that the site is more than an
expensive hobby.  It must generate dollars, although we all know
that that won't occur immediately.   To effect that, we intend to
provide content and services online that will assist our target
prospects in achieving their "yearning to become well-known and
desired" (our motto).  

We also will review affiliate programs with an eye toward seeking
out those that our most compatible with the content of our site.
In our estimation, if we are, for example, educating a visitor on
how to increase the visibility of their web site, then it seems
logical that we would also provide them the tools to do so.  If
we don't have those tools ourselves, we want to push them towards
excellent firms that can provide that assistance.   As offline,
we do this and markup those services when they are "sold" to our
clients, it is only reasonable that we will seek the same markup
situation in the online world.  

I see no value in providing a free-for-all of affiliates at our
site.  Nor do we see value in simply posting a link to the
affiliate.  For us to benefit, we must also promote the affiliate
-- and/or the service provided as we do offline. As an aside, it
goes without saying that it will be critical for us to effect
site promotion work ourselves that will draw traffic -- if not,
nobody wins.

And therein lays the problem -- as noted by your post and one
that I, too, have contemplated as an obstacle. 

Our desire is to make the site public when there is sufficient
content, when it has reached a point of development that it will
satisfy and cause repeat visits.  We don't want to make public a
heavily "under construction" or "soon coming" site.   Right from
the get-go, we would like to have a select group of affiliates in
place.  That, for us, is part of being fully prepared.

And yet, as I have envisioned this, I have also envisioned the
position of the affiliate that you speak about. A new site is at
the low traffic stage at the get-go.  What's the benefit to the

I fully understand your statements about the sites that aren't
producing. If I was in your shoes, I would feel the same.  

So what is the solution that's a win-win?  

Af first glance, my reaction is that it's a two-way street.  I've
seen/heard of many who have eventually left the
program because they aren't reaping any benefit.  On the other
hand, we approached and asked for permission to become
an affiliate -- with a difference.  They are set-up to deal
primarily with online stores.  We wanted to push a niche segment
of books through an email newsletter. They agreed to let us do
that.  We provide a review of a book in each issue and all sales
go through Amazon.  From what I've learned, we make more money
from amazon than most using this method -- so we stay on.   Is
there a benefit to us from having use a method of
affiliation that is an anyone can do it? I suppose.  The name
recognition is there, so we don't have to expend energy educating
people on why they can trust a purchase going through that firm.
We can focus on the promotional effort.

So perhaps what I'm thinking is that -- and I'm thinking this out
as I type -- is that those that are succesful in selling you will
continue to do so and those that aren't will eventually drop out.
Wouldn't that be what would happen?   What would be helpful --
and I wish Amazon would do this more aggressively -- is to assist
us in promoting their offerings by giving us the tools to do so.
We won't use their online brief book reviews, for example,
because they are too public.  Instead, I wish they made available
private, good reviews available only for use by their affiliates.
Perhaps you too could consider providing tools that assist your
affiliates in the selling process? 

Anywho, I've rambled on too long.  But those are thoughts -- and
our obstacles -- for you to chew on. Do email me privately if you
would like to bounce this around more.  Surely this is a win-win
for all.

Sunni Freyer

~~~~~~~~C F N A,  I n c ~~~~~~~~
...........  The Online PR Agency ...........
Cynthia (Sunni) Freyer,
1.509.332.3956 Voice.............................509.334.2525 FAX
Online PR/Marketing/Business Management Services

[Moderator's Comments]

Hi Sunni,

Thanks for forwarding the above to me for inclusion in today's
EMD.  You raise a number of issues that can make or break
an affiliate program.  I am beginning to agree with George when
he describes affiliate programs as being kin to banner programs.
Our preference for a win-win program leans more towards a
traditional contractor/sub-contractor relationship where an
affiliate actually handles the point of sale and as much client
contact as is feasible.  As you described above our affiliates
mark our prices upwards to cover their costs and profits. Our
prices are, of course, reduced to affiliates to allow for
reasonable markup.

With a product - effective website design backed by 4+ years and
300+ sites of experience - that can earn an affiliate hundreds of
dollars on each single sale, it doesn't take many sales to make a
living reselling our services.  Instead it takes quality sales,
which take time and effort to produce.  This factor alone knocks
most people out of the running for participating in our affiliate
program.  "Too much effort" they think.  Well, I think that a
banner ad or short review somewhere on someone's affiliate page
will never produce a sale for what I do.

Give me quality over quantity any time.

Your Moderator,

Gary K. Foote

***  NEXT TOPIC - Charging for Information Online  ***

From: "Cynthia (Sunni) Freyer" 
Subject: Re: Charging for Information Online

>Douglas Freake wrote about my post on the
>perception that something snail-mailed carries a higher
>intrinsic value than one e-mailed. He then wrote about
>his plans to release a new newsletter soon, providing a
>web version, an email version and later a print version.
>He also typed about how perhaps we are creating and
>sustaining a consumer attitude where the expectation is
>to provide info. free.  He also said people like to have
>something tangible for their money.

My only one cup of coffee so far response:

The word "'tangible" caught my eye.  Interesting word.
Tangible -- that which is capable of being touched, says
Webster.  But pushing the envelope of thinking on this
a bit farther, are we truly understanding the words of the
consumer -- do they, themselves, understand the feelings
behind their words?  Perhaps what they are seeking instead
is to stay within their comfort zone, as change is always
met with a degree of resistance.  If we buy into that,
then no change would occur.  Are they also perhaps
really wanting something with shelf life? Something
that they can peruse off the computer screen?  Is that
what the printed version delivers -- along with visual
relief of graphics?  

Gary wrote to me privately about considering the use of PDF (for
those not in the acrobat created file).  While I've
been long aware of pdf, I had somehow overlooked it as a
possibility.  (thanks Gary for the reminder) Is it possible, I
wonder, that pdf could be the middle road between the offset
world and online world that would increase the consumers comfort
in parting with dollars?  I don't know.  But given the ability to
click and print out a hard copy that is graphically pleasing,
combined with the savings incurred from no printing/ no mailing
services cost -- perhaps this could be toyed with.

Sunni Freyer

~~~~~~~~C F N A,  I n c ~~~~~~~~
...........  The Online PR Agency ...........
Cynthia (Sunni) Freyer,
1.509.332.3956 Voice.............................509.334.2525 FAX
Online PR/Marketing/Business Management Services

[Moderator's Comments]

Hi Sunni,

Thanks for your post.  Interesting ideas.  Here's my 'spin' on
.pdf files;

There are drawbacks to using .pdf files that have to do with the
process a consumer has to perform to end up with a pleasing hard
copy that I think might preclude their use as publishing delivery
format for the masses.  1) could easily be overcome by soft
technology but presents end-user manipulation, while 2) would
take a hardware solution costing consumers more $$$ for their

1)  The average consumer doesn't know how to download the Acrobat
reader to view .pdf files.  This could be remedied by putting in
place an automatic download if no reader is found locally when
the document is requested for review.  Of course, this assumes
the consumer is online to accomplish the download at the time of
the request.  If not there would be the inevitable 'request to go
online to download the proper reader to complete your request'
message.  Too intimidating for the average user.  So, until Adobe
negotiates their Acrobat .pdf reader into the microsoft package
there is little chance it will become a standard.

2) Assuming all the obstacles noted in #1 above are overcome
there is still the problem of managing a hard copy delivery that
can compete with a mass-printed product.  To solve this problem
consumers would have to own a printer capable of not only
printing out .pdf pages, but of *binding them in the manner of a
magazine*.  Otherwise the end-user has a stack of papers to keep
in order on their desk or coffee table.  Messy.

Your Moderator,

Gary K. Foote

 Website Issues

***  FIRST TOPIC - Internet Malls  ***

Subject: Re: Internet Malls

>how easily can the small Mom & Pop 
>retail websites be found
>searching with a search engine. 
>[snip] Mom & Pop's retail
>sweater site >may be listed 
>below 350 other websites that have
>used "sweaters" in their site meta 
>tags. Do you think the
>consumer wanting to buy a 
>sweater will sit at the computer for
>half an hour and patiently 
>filter down to the Mom & Pop Sweater
>Store. Again, I don't think so!

How much *more* visible will the Mom & Pop Sweater Store be, as
one of several hundred or several thousand listings OF ALL
DIFFERENT TYPES OF BUSINESSES in a cybermall?  You still haven't
replied to my assertion that no one will bother using brainpower
(especially towards the end of a tiring Internet surfing safari!)
to weed through such a list (just on the off-chance of finding
something interesting), then happen to notice a listing for a
sweater store, and exclaim "just what I've been looking for (even
though I didn't realize it until this very second)!".

>This brings me precisely to my point - 
>as the web continues to
>explode as a means for effective 
>retailing, the number of retailing 
>websites will continue to grow, and 
>the possibility for effective 
>search engine positioning is lost. 
>Now that the search engines allow 
>sites to purchase key words, the
>possibility for an effective 
>position is even more remote.

You - and many others - just don't seem to get it!  The web is
not a place for passive marketing ("we'll put it out there, and
see who comes in the 'door'") - it's the perfect place for
*active* marketing! This is the exact opposite of a physical
mall, where many (most?) of the stores depend on foot traffic, so
that they don't have to do anything positive (with the possible
exception of offering lowered prices from time to time) to
attract business.  The operators of such stores in a physical
mall are order-takers, rather than marketers.

In a cybermall (or anywhere in cyberspace, really), all "store"
operators *must* be active marketers, because there are
apparently *hundreds of millions* of websites in the
cyber-universe, and it's really hard to attract attention!  In
other words, your "Mom & Pop Sweater Store" doesn't stand a
snowball's chance in Hell in cyberspace, because all they are
doing, so far, is saying that they sell sweaters - no big deal,
since perhaps tens of thousands of other websites (around the
world!) ALSO offer sweaters.  So far, they have no reason to have
a website at all, since they're not actually doing anything to
*deserve* to receive orders.

Now, if they were to trumpet to the world (either by renaming
their shop or by actively placing ads where they'll do the most
good) that there is a *special reason* for someone to visit their
site - say, because they specialize in cashmere sweaters, or
alpaca sweaters, or any of perhaps hundreds of other U.S.P.'s
("Unique Selling Propositions"; check out almost any marketing
text to find out more about this most important topic) - then
they'll almost inevitably do good business, but at that point,
being located in a cybermall wouldn't do them the slightest
*additional* bit of good!

Can't you see that Mom & Pop could have a *whale* of a selling
time if they would take on a line of some of the more interesting
products listed here (perhaps even arranging to import their
product from China or elsewhere), and then making it clear on the
first page of their website that they've got something *really
special*, which perhaps is quite difficult to obtain from other
stores in the U.S. - which would then make *them* quite easy to
find with a search engine?

What you're saying, in effect, is that if the "Mom & Pop Sweater
Store" has nothing to make it stand out from tens of thousands of
other stores which sell sweaters, then they should locate
themselves in a cybermall to help bring browsers to their door
anyway.  My answer is that (a) it probably won't work in any
case, for reasons based in the very nature of a cybermall, and
therefore (b) they should spend the time, money and energy which
they might invest in searching for the "right" cybermall (a
doomed-to-fail exercise in futility), in instead redefining their
store's very reason for existence into something that will
actively *generate* interest ("Mom & Pop's CASHMERE Sweater
Store"?) and working to broadcast the information that will
almost force qualified buyers into seeking them out at their

Either way, there is no proper reason for the existence of
cybermalls, because they are literally incapable of doing the
slightest bit of good for any cyberstore, except where that
cyberstore has no other reason for browsers to take a look at it.
Websites which can do their own job of attracting attention to
themselves do not have any reason to be in a cybermall, by

Moderator wrote;

>This debate on the value of I-malls had been interesting and
>there have been some valuable gems of information amongst the
>debris of the debate. I'd like to hear more on is suggestions on
>how to optimize an I-mall to increase both general and targeted

Gary, I hate to disagree with our esteemed moderator, but I have
to say that the only legitimate goal is to increase *sales*, not
traffic! And it simply *does not follow* that increased traffic
to a cybermall (as opposed to a physical mall) will automatically
lead to increased sales for stores in that mall.

> Online events:  Lots of offline malls 
>draw traffic by creating
>newsworthy events, like a public 
>appearance by a celebrity, or by 
>holding a blood drive.  An I-mall 
>might hold a chat with a
>celebrity or generate public 
>interest by holding a 'give blood in 
>your local area' drive.  These are just
>examples and might or might not 
>work, but I'd sure like to hear 
>some positive suggestions by others here.

So, say you actually attract people to your cybermall with a
public appearance by a celebrity (forget about the virtual blood
drive!). There is absolutely no evidence that when those browsers
have finished gawking at the celeb that they will then turn their
attention to any of the "stores" in the cybermall.  Unlike a
physical mall, where they are actually going to have to walk by
some of the stores on their way back to the parking lot, in a
cybermall they're only a single, easy click away from checking
out another celebrity somewhere else entirely, or from jumping to
another site they've bookmarked (in Australia, or wherever) - in
fact, it will almost certainly be easier to jump else- where than
to slog through a listing of "stores" in that particular
cybermall, in the slight hope of finding something else
interesting to see or do.

Moderator further wrote;

>> Seriously, the concept of an online 
>> mall works best when it is
>> centered around a common theme, like a 
>> clothing mall, or an auto mall.

Just not so - see below for reasons.

John McCabe wrote;

>I don't have personal proof, but it seems to me that some
>subjects could be covered in a non-competitive way. For example,
>one of my current projects is restructuring my Webtours Travel
>Guide. I'm considering the "mall" approach, allowing only one
>entry for a given market. If you run a fishing camp in Ontario,
>you would be the only one in the mall. Your competition might be
>a fishing camp in the Florida keys. Only one B&B within a
>geographical area (say 50 miles), etc.

Okay, you've got a mall that contains only one fishing camp in
Ontario, one golf course in Florida, one B&B in California, etc.
What makes you think that someone who has come to your cybermall
to look at the website of the Ontario fishing camp is going to
stay around to check out either the golf course or the B&B?  The
demographics just don't match.

Or do you want to set up a cybermall which specializes in
"fishing camps around the world"?  If so, then why should those
fishing camps list with you?  You're back to offering vertical
marketing, and they might just as well count on being found in
Alta Vista's or some other search engine's results for a "fishing
camp" search - which means that their websites could be located
on ANY server, probably for a considerably lower cost than they
would have to pay you to be located in your cybermall!

>One of our clients has been toying 
>with the same concept for some 
>time now.  Building a non-competitive community of closely
>related sites would help any I-mall become a hub for their
>industry.  Good thinking, John .


There is simply no scenario you can set up to attempt to justify
the existence of a cybermall, which cannot be debunked by using
well-established marketing principles which are just as valid
in cyberspace as they are anywhere else.  This entire "debate"
has simply proven again something that is known (and cried over)
by every marketing person who has tried to work in the field of
electronic commerce ... 99%+ of tech-ies out there just don't
have a single marketing bone in their bodies!

(BTW, that's not necessarily a bad thing, as long as those
self-same techies stick to developing the technology, and don't
try to set up marketing goals, or to figure out how to achieve
those goals. When they don't stick to their area of expertise,
abominations like cybermalls are the unfortunate result!)

John Vinokur

[Moderator's Comments]

Hi John,

Thanks again for sharing your experience with us.  There are some
things about internet malls that give them an advantage in search
engines, the most potent being the sheer number of pages
available for indexing.  A site with 300 pages has a better
chance of a good listing than one with only a few pages.

I would also like to point to community websites as a form of
internet mall that has prospered since the early days of the web.
In fact, my first web-based business was a community site for my
own, rife-with-tourist-activities region.  It was a success as a
marketing vehicle for my design services as well as a vehicle for
attracting advertising from both within and from beyond the
region.  Though I sold it in 1995 it is still in successful
operation today.  For those interested the URL is;

You also wrote;

>Or do you want to set up a cybermall which specializes in
>"fishing camps around the world"?  If so, then why should those
>fishing camps list with you?

For the same reasons those fishing camps all advertise in the
same magazines...  because that is where their market is.  A well
constructed internet mall focused on fishing would attract
interested visitors *because* of the volume of material assembled
in one place.  

>There is absolutely no evidence that when those browsers
>have finished gawking at the celeb that they will then 
>turn their attention to any of the "stores" in the cybermall.

That's why a smart i-mall marketer will put the stores in front
of the celebrity 'gawker', perhaps in the form of rotating
banners or scrolling text.  This approach is really not available
in a 'real' mall.

>slog through a listing of "stores"

Not necessary with a good search feature of a well built
navigation bar.

Your Moderator,

Gary K. Foote


From: Rainmaker 
Subject: Re: Internet Malls

John Gerits wrote;

>In essence, it is a numbers game, but unfortunately not so
>simplistic. One does not just want traffic. Just because you can
>generate traffic, potential buyers does not mean I am going to
>benefit. One wants prospects, more qualified. This is found more
>in a community setting where even impulse buying has a better
>chance than in a I-Mall, IMHO.

>I am not an online marketing expert, 
>just giving my thoughts. But
>perhaps don't think like I-Mall as in offline mall, but rather
>develop it as a community setting to pull "loyal" visitors. Do
>so, and you offer more for your merchants.

I agree with you 100% John.  I attended a number of seminars put
on by I-Mall folks, and I asked many of the same questions as
you, and did not get adequate responses.

Let's talk about the advantages of an off-line Mall first.  If I
want to go shopping for a number of items, I would go to a mall
or a downtown area where there are multiple stores and I make a
one stop-shopping trip.  Cool.

When I am on-line, I don't shop the same way.  Rather I know what
I am looking for, go to a search engine and find the product.  

I am an on-line marketing expert, and I do a lot of consulting
with retailers of all sizes -- both on- and off-line.  I also
moderate the E-Tailer's Digest which is strictly for retailers.
I look at marketing from a customers perspective and how they
shop.  How many people do you know go to an I-Mall as they do to
an off-line mall?

IMO, I-Malls benefit the mall owner, not the retailer.  When I
attended the first I-Mall seminar last year, I first contacted 30
tenants in that mall, and asked a simple question: "Are you
making any money?"  Approx half of them answered and said "NO."
They said they were promised a lot of traffic (which the mall
obviously got), but saw none of it.   The last I-Mall seminar I
attended a couple of months ago, they touted "one store for one
product" which is taking focus a little too far.  If you were
selling 10 books, you would have 10 stores.

I guess, to a certain degree I-Malls are like affiliate programs.

George Matyjewicz,  C.M.O.
GAP Enterprises, Ltd.
Moderator of E-Tailer's Digest
Your Resource for Retail on the Net  
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 E-mail Corner

***  FIRST TOPIC - ?Subject= Tag  ***

From: Rainmaker 
Subject: Re: ?Subject= Tag

>Your comments, coupled with those by George in Wednesday's issue
>have me thinking about all the work I have ahead of me,
>converting as many of my filters from ?Subject= to forms based
>triggers.  Looks like I'll be working a bit of overtime this

If you had a site that allowed for configurable, unlimited e-mail
forwarding to a default address you wouldn't have to worry about
it .

Actually, I never used the ?Subject until I took over the
E-Tailer's Digest, which had them in the format.  I changed most
of them to forwarding addresses, and catch them internally using
a filter.

George Matyjewicz            "Rainmaker Extraordinaire"
Managing Partner   
GAP Enterprises, Ltd.
Tel: (201) 939-8533 Ext 821  Fax: (201) 460-3740
Automated Press Releases:
350 Seminars & Trade shows:

 The Corkboard

From: Phil Doyle 
Subject: e-sedative

Based on preliminary results,
informal surveys and observations,
the Internet is a better drug than TV,
a more addictive sedentary sedative,
for a more perfect selling environment.

Phil Doyle, President
Santa Rosa, California, USA
tel: 707-538-5043   fax: 707-579-1197

 Question of the Week

 Where does the majority of your 
 site traffic come from?
    - Search engines
    - Links from other sites
    - Mailinglist participation
    - Newsgroup participation
    - E-mail marketing
    - Other (please explain)

 Please Post Your Responses to:


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