Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.

 
The Works of Marketing with Ray INDEX

May 28, 2002• Volume 1 Issue 51

Favorite Sites

My favorite WebMaster has a collection of favorite web sites.

Bill Blinn is a grand fellow. Late in the 1980's we met at a New York DMA direct mail event. Over the next few years we stayed in "light" touch. Until late in 1994 when he first chased me with the thought I needed a web site. Soon we were working together - still today.

Bill has a collection of favorite web sites. Recently he spoke about them in an article he wrote. I asked permission to "steal" some ideas from him, mix with mine, and share them with you. Bill enhanced his message - mixed with his sense of humor and mid-west work ethic, and here is what I learned.

Switchboard.com meshes people and phone numbers together. Companies and telephone numbers, too. If you have the number Switchboard will give you the name. If you have the name they'll give you the number. If there is not a match (for any number of reasons ... out of service, changed, unlisted and such) they'll tell you so. You may find it by paying your telephone company a fee (I recall when information was personal and free! ... today it is neither).

For fun and to test the system I put my phone number in. And then I put my company name in. Next my name. This is what happened;

... with just my business phone number, almost immediately my complete business address popped up. Good.

... with my company name the same thing happened - a correct mailing address appeared, including the phone number.

What was not good about either of these is the map option offered - the map was wrong. Had us on the wrong street.

... what did not work is putting my name and finding my phone number. Tried several times and ways, including giving my bride's name instead of mine. Still did not work. Which is strange, as my number is listed ... I want you to find me!

So, although Bill likes this site, I'm so-so. It works - sometimes.

NYTimes.com is another of Bill's favorites. Mine, too. Like Bill, I signed up for their online service.

The major stories of the day are carried free. You receive E-announcements of their offering; front page, business, international, sports and more. With a one sentence description and the link to the full story. If you ask you can also receive news breaks as they happen through-out each day.

Registration is necessary - the service is free. If you want the entire paper online (and everything is everything, ads and all) it costs about as much as getting daily delivery of the paper version.

While on newspapers, I also like USAToday.com and the ArizonaRepublic.com - the Phoenix, Arizona daily. USAToday comes to me in HTML, with a very easy to read layout. Each headline has a hot link to the full story. It covers pretty much all of each days paper. And offers the opportunity to read yesterdays, too.

The Arizona Republic sends short text E-mail messages several times every day; morning, noon time, later in the day. With news breaks in between.

As Bill says, "There's no 'best' place for airline tickets. He likes Travelocity.com best, although he's tried them all. Me ... I still like Kilian, my travel agent for more than a decade.

My family recently took a trip across the pond. Daughter Julie arranged it all through Orbitz - the airlines' answer to all the other travel sites. With 7 people involved, living in 4 locations in the USA, it was a challenge to pull it altogether. She did - and saved something approaching $1500.

Of course we flew on different airlines at different times from different places - only meeting as a unit when we got to our destination. Meaning we not only missed the family fun of 6 hours flying together - we landed at different airports at different times. Yet, it worked, and was a great saving.

If price is your ONLY issue in travel, find a site that works for you. Me - I E-mail Kilian. He always does a good job for me.

The various map sites have a looooong way to go before I'll believe them. Within the last 30 days I've had a pair of bad experiences. First was a visiting friend using a web site map to get to his next stop. It was wrong by over 100%.

Next was me using a map given to me - downloaded off a web site. It left small towns and state highways out - was, in my estimation, useless. I dug in my files for a several year old AAA paper map - and got to where I was going.

Bill likes MapQuest for "usually accurate driving directions ...". Still, he goes on to say; "Occasionally the routing isn't perfect ... ". That is a major understatement by my standards. When I want to go on a "Sunday drive", I'll do it. When I need to get from here to there - I want a map that does the full job. Not just a piece of it.

As you can tell, I'm not a fan of the map sites.

WeatherUnderground.com offers both free and paid weather services. Free gets you ads along with your weather. Paid washes the ads away. Personally, I don't mind the ads when I'm seeking weather info - they're just there. And who knows, I may learn something from an ad!

When you ask, WU will send you periodic updates of the weather from any part of the country. Most often way ahead and much more complete than your local TV station is capable of doing.

Another weather site I like is CNN.com and their 5 day forecast. Which is helpful in planning ahead. When 5 days is not enough and 10 is better, visit weather.com within AOL.

Bill has a few more favorites - I've saved one - SpamCop.net - to wrap with. Because, if there is a man in America doing more to eliminate spam from our life, I don't know who it is. Let me quote from Bill;

"I depend on SpamKiller to get most of the junk aimed at me.
Unless the message is from somebody I've designated as a friend,
any message containing one of about 100 spammer phrases
will be trashed.

"Any mail from China will be trashed. With one exception, any mail
from Russia will be trashed. Any mail from Korea will be trashed.
Anything from most of Central Europe will be trashed.

"If a 'get rich quick message' gets through my defenses I report it,
because spam is a major threat to the Internet. If people decide it's
too much trouble to wade through the daily onslaught of crap, they'll
stop using the Internet."

Well, you get the message ... SpamCop is the place to go to report the spam that drops into your E-mail box.

Enough for now. More next time Bill and I find a few good sites to share with you.

Anonymous

Several friends have recently shared customer service / relationship stories. Some good - some not so good.

Which leads to this from Anonymous;

"Your customers are smarter than your consultants."
Anonymous

Which, of course, they are! Everyone knows this is true. So, why then, do we not talk to our customers more than to others. Customers teach so many things.

"Quotes with Direction" has been a part of my web site collection from day one. If you like quotes visit the archives ... www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/. There's a new batch up every 4 weeks.

 

The Search Engine Game

The chatter in the marketplace about search engines is enough to fill a book.

And Google is getting much of the ink.

Which is all fine and good. I guess.

Earlier in this issue of The Works of Marketing with Ray I shared a number of favorite sites from my friend and Web Master Bill Blinn. Google is his favorite. Here's what he has to say ...

"My current favorite search engine is Google.com It's fast and
usually finds what I'm looking for on the first try. I use to be an
AltaVista user, but AV seems to have lost its way. The links aren't
as current as Google."

And ... I like another one, also with another unusual name, BulletBid.com.

Google is doing a number of new things to get profitable. Something which as evaded them thus far. One is a service; answers.google.com. This site lets visitors ask questions and name the price they are willing to pay for an answer. Answers come from people like you and me, sitting at our computer almost anywhere. The fee is split 3/4 for the researcher (what they are called) and the balance to Google.

This concept tickled me - so I visited. And tried to register to become one of the folks answering the questions. i.e., making a few bucks using my knowledge of marketing, direct marketing and sales.

To begin, the sign-in process is difficult. In order to protect privacy, Google asks lots of questions, and have a double-opt-in process to even register. All which is fine and good - except it takes far, far too long. Still, I persisted! And eventually made it. I think. At least the E-mail confirmation was received.

It said "In the future, your Google account will enable login access to all
Google services, including Google Groups posting, Google AdWords,
the Google Store, the Google in Your Language program, and more.
"

If I read this right - this is all "in the future". Which is okay ... yet, what about now?!

Well, not being one to make up a problem, I looked at the type questions being asked. On the day I visited there were 286 posted questions. With offers from US/$4. to $50. being suggested for the answer. Without looking at all, it appeared 80% of the questions had already been given an answer. Time will tell if I make any pocket change out of this.

Let's go back to the search engine piece of Google. They are being seriously challenged. Several interesting competing sites include both AlltheWeb.com and Metor.com ... each a multiple search site that looks many places to find what you're seeking. i.e., Metor visits AltaVista, Excite, FAST Search, Google, HotBot, Lycos, Northern Light and Overture.

AlltheWeb took my favorite motorcycle name ... Harley-Davidson ... and found me hundreds of sites in seconds. Including the Motor Company listed first, one of two dealers I visit in the top 5, and scores of other options.

Teoma.com, owned by Ask Jeeves is one. BulletBid.com run by a group who share each day what they call "useless facts", in a more or less funny E-zine another. And Wisenut.com ... plus the long term favorite for many, AltaVista.com are others worth considering.

Teoma appears to be an advanced site, and getting more so. They are building a larger database. And although not as vast as some others, they say they are more up to date. With fewer 'dead' links.

Wisenut offers (on the day I looked) nearly 1.6 trillion pages, and counting. For Harley-Davidson they had over 186,000 documents. If I can be specific in my need, I can find it here.

Personally, I've had luck with AltaVista ... even thou WebMaster Bill Blinn feels they going down, vs. up. And BulletBid is a comer. They are fresh, new, young, inexperienced, it appears without much backing - and I hope make it.

Take your pick. And let me know what works best for you.

The Works of Marketing with Ray INDEX

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