Re: MecklerWeb, Etc.

Ramin Firoozye (
Thu, 27 Oct 1994 13:02:37 +0100

Jeremy Allaire writes:
> My own assessment is that if commercial sponsorship does not very soon
> become a major part of Internet services, we will see little progress, both
> in terms of content delivered and quality of service. The ability to
> provide value-added advertising and company information within clearly
> defined vertical markets is both viable from both a commercial/advertiser
> perspective and from the end-user's perspective as well.

The concept of advertising as a multicast "push" activity has been questioned
by many. Most experiments seem to suggest that a unicast "pull" approach,
initiated by the user is both more valuable and potentially more useful
(the user is already, in sales-speak, "motivated"). However, this type of
advertising implies the availability of tools and resources to point a user
at the proper place for such material and the flexiblity to present the
information in the way a user is capable of receiving. Putting everything
onto WWW when the majority of users do not have the bandwidth to view
the color graphics is downright silly. Potential advertisers have to match
the message to the medium the same way they produce different material for
television broadcast, print media, direct mail, and point-of-sale.

As for broadly distributed information, publishing efforts should take
note of services like Newsbytes, where end-users are not directly
billed by the service. Access providers like this one (netcom) subscribe
to such a service and pass it on to the users as an "added" free service.
Of course, the basic monthly access fee to netcom is what is paying
for this, but the users do not have to make a choice as to whether they
get a service and pay for it. It's just there if they want it.

With the proliferation of internet access providers, such a model becomes
more attractive, because it encourages the access provider to offer new
services to make its product more attractive to the increasingly discerning
consumer. One other advantage for the access provider offering the service
to their client-base is that activities like authentication and billing are
already being done by the access provider in order to give the users access.

Efforts like MecklerMedia and others like it are like direct mailing:
they try to directly connect to the end-user and only a small percentage
of potential users will respond back. Direct mailers also have to be backed
up by a lot of extra "infrastructure" like 800 numbers, customer service,
etc... in order to work. All of this infrastructure, of course, is not
directly revenue producing either. Offering magazines that you can get
for $3 in print form is also pretty silly.

Instead, MecklerMedia could become an information provider subscribed to
by the likes of netcom. In this approach, MecklerMedia is more like a
production studio. It is responsible for production of the material.
Netcom would be your local TV station. It would buy the material from
MecklerMedia and offer it to its "viewers." Netcom would then reap the
rewards of offering such unique and hopefully useful content to its
subscribers. Other access providers (stations) are free to purchase
Meckler's products as well, but if they don't they may potentially pay
for it in lost customers. Meckler's role, other than producing the
content, would be to advertise its benefits (in other media)
to help generate interest.... etc... I would also make access providers
like netcom would also carry the "global index" for Meckler's material.
This would allow netcom's users to find information quickly. Meckler's
servers would then be accessed only to obtain information specifically
requested by an end-user.

P.S. I never though I would use the words consumer, point-of-sale, and
Internet in the same breath, but it sure seems to be heading that way,
isn't it (:-)


Ramin Firoozye' 
rp&A Inc. - San Francisco, California
Internet: rpa@netcom.COM - CIS: 70751,252