The New Economy - The Tales of Three Businesses

by Tom Snyder on May 17, 1999

Company A says: We have no need to be on the Web…The Internet is the CB Radio of the Nineties. It’s just a fad.

Company B says: We have a Web page. I think it’s on the Thomas Register Web site, or in one of the online malls. My I.S. guy took care of it, so he knows where it is.

Company C says: We’ve been on the Web at since 1995. The Internet is the business platform of the new economy – it’s here to stay.

Company A says: We’re not making any money on the Web, but nobody else is either.

Company B says: We have a Web site with a printout form that allows customers to mail us their orders. But I think we’ve only gotten a couple.

Company C says: We knew that working on the Web would force us to change our marketing strategy and preconceived notions about how our customers are doing business these days. It’s a plan that includes promoting the Web site on all our catalogs, print, promotional and media campaigns to drive people to the site. Because we are customer focused, we still allow Web site visitors to do business with us in the ways they prefer: by fax, by calling a 1-800 number, by means of printout form, by requesting a print catalog, or by online shopping cart (via secured transaction, as well as non-secured for the people whose browsers or countries don’t allow it). We’ve not only seen a huge spike in sales directly off the Web site, but we’ve set up the mechanism to track our phone orders, mail, fax and catalog orders to measure ALL the business that our Web site has been responsible for.

Company A says: We have a Web site, our URL is

Company B says: We have a Web site, our URL is

Company C says: We not only have registered as our domain name (that’s the one we actively promote), but we also have registered several common misspellings and have mapped them to our Web site, just in case. We also have registered several domain names that incorporate the name of our primary products. And just for added insurance, we have registered, and to keep our detractors from registering them and putting up sites to attack our reputation. We also have our legal department surfing the Web and the newsgroups daily to watch for customer complaints, copyright infringement and personal attacks.

Company A says: I think my email address is, but it doesn’t matter because I hardly ever check it.

Company B says: My email address is I try to make sure I check it every day.

Company C says: Email has become a primary means of communication with our customers, employees, retailers and distributors. We make sure that incoming email is properly and automatically routed to the person who is empowered to take care of any issues. Our company policy is to guarantee a timely and helpful response to every email we receive. We also generate regular outbound emails to the list of Web site visitors who have opted-in on our mailing list.

Company A says: The boss’s nephew builds computers, so we had him design our Web site.

Company B says: We outsourced our Web site design. Although we considered several quotes, the prices were all over. So we went with the lowest price. I think that company is out of business now, so I’m not sure what we’ll do about updates. But we’ll figure something out.

Company C says: We knew that our Internet presence was an important undertaking. Although we considered several quotes, we wanted to make sure that the company we went with would not only do a great job, but would be here for the long haul. We went with one of the higher bids. It cost us more, but if you’re not going do it right, why do it all?

Company A says: I guess we should update our site one of these days. I can’t remember the last time we did that.

Company B says: We try to update our site regularly. We’d like to do it every couple months, but sometimes it’s just pretty hard to remember to do it. It hasn’t been updated since our sale last Fall.

Company C says: Our Web site design company has us on a maintenance plan that allows them to be pro-active in updating the site. We have them on all our snail-mail lists and press release distribution lists so they get every thing we distrubute in print. Even if we’re too busy to do an update, they automatically update the site with the latest info, the moment they receive it. As part of the maintenance plan, we’ve also set up a schedule to update our new product area every month. They automatically check with the head of that department every month and if the photos don’t exist, they come in, take them, get the product info and put the stuff in the site. It’s their job, so even if we’re too busy, it still gets done. There hasn’t been a month since we’ve been up that the site hasn’t been updated.

Company A says: It’s a good thing we didn’t spend the money on a Web site… now that we’re going out of business, it would have been money down the drain!

Company B says: Gee… Company C is growing again. I wonder what they know that I don’t.

Company C says: Cha-Ching, Cha-ching!

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