60-Second Window

One is the loneliest number

Fred Showker
...abandoned along the e-zone I-way

Here's something to think about next time someone says 'web page.' First, who here today can tell me why shopping malls were invented? OK, you, in the third row. You're right, because small businesses gain more benefits from being located in high traffic areas than off somewhere by themselves.

I'm in the mall finishing up on my holiday shopping and all around me are throngs of people digging in their wallets like there's no tomorrow; the sounds of cash registers ring all around me. I pick up the December 18 issue of Newsweek with "1995 the year of cyberspace" plastered on the cover and I think about an experience I had with a prospective web client. Why did all the hype cause him to forget his most basic understanding of marketing and merchandising.

I ran across his post on AOL the other day proclaiming a prideful invitation to come and see his new 'site' - he put up by himself - at http://www.digi.net/~docmen/hod/arka-dude/~one-way/directory.html/ When I visited, it was scarcely more than a list of links of other places to go on the net... and the counter said "Since May 27, this page has been visited by162 visitors." Now, I sit in this mall and wonder what would have happened had he opened his internet site along with others, at the same location.

The internet is filling up with thousands upon thousands of new 'sites' (an estimated 10,000 per week), just like this one. Good, intelligent, successful people suddenly engulfed by the rising fires of web-frenzy - compelled by media hype to have a presence. And like this person, there are millions of individuals chasing a dream and not finding it. Not being found, because they're forsaken out along some lonely, deserted electronic highway. One is indeed a lonely number.

My partner Barrie Selack has the best analogy I've heard: "A page on the internet is like a billboard. The only people who will see it are those who drive by it. Then, only a percentage of those will actually 'see' it. You can tell lots of people about it, but very few will be motivated to get in their cars to go drive by it." These billboards are just like lonely soles, scattered all along the highways of the e-zone.

Now consider: if you were setting up a web site where would you want to be?


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60 Second Window is a syndicated column by Fred Showker which appears in many Macintosh User Group Newsletters around the world, and other computer, graphic arts related publications. 60Second Window is copyright 1986 - 1995, All Rights Reserved.

Fred Showker, nationally recognized designer author and speaker, is a 25-year veteran of the graphics industry, with his own firm Showker Graphic Arts & Design. He's an associate editor for the Home & School Mac.
You can see Fred in action at any of his Design & Graphics workshops around the country sponsored by Dynamic Graphics Educational Foundation, InHouse Graphics, PrintFest and others. You can chat with him directly on most any service...
just key in SHOWKER and the service designation for America OnLine (@AOL.com) where he is "AFA Shwkr", a forum assistant in the User Group Forum (UGF), or in eWorld (@eWorld.com) where he hosts the DT&G Design & Publishing forum!
Product names listed are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Contents Copyright (c) 1995, Fred Showker. Reproduction or reuse of parts or all of this manuscript without prior written permission is expressly forbidden.