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When you start a Web site, one of your first steps should be to let the right people know that you exist. Maybe you'll want to send out a printed press release and pay for print advertising. But it makes much more sense and is far less expensive to use the Internet itself to reach an Internet audience.
Search engines such as AltaVista, Excite, and Hotbot index the contents of Web pages for free for the benefit of people who want to find information on the Internet. They send out webcrawlers -- robot programs that automatically find and retrieve Web pages and add the information to their indices. They find Web pages from links to them on other pages. If your Web site is new, there are probably very few links to it; and it could take many months for the webcrawlers to find you on their own. So go to each of the search engines and near the bottom of the home page your see "Add URL". Click on that, and then enter the base URL for your site (if you have hundreds of pages) or the URLs for each page (if you only have a dozen or two). Then your information will be indexed within a day (AltaVista) or within two weeks (HotBot), and people will be able to find you.
(For more details on how to use AltaVista and how design your pages to improve the chances that you'll be found by the right people, you might want to check my book The AltaVista Search Revolution, available in book stores and from Amazon.com You also might want to check the newsletter from Cobb/Ziff-Davis Power Searching with AltaVista, for which I write a monthly column.)
While AltaVista indexes every word on every page, directories like Yahoo are categorized lists, which help take you to the home page of sites that might be of interest to you. These directories are usually hand-assembled based on information provided by the Web sites that are listed. Many of these directories are subject-specific. Depending on the kind of information at your site, you might want to do some research to determine which of these specialized directories might be important for you.
There are a number of sites which are set up to help you submit information to many different general directories at one time. For example, Submit It! lets you fill out forms for such directories as: Yahoo, Starting Point, WebCrawler, EINet Galaxy, Lycos, Harvest, What's New Too! Infoseek, Whole Internet Catalog, Open Text Web Index, World Wide Web Worm, Apollo, Jump Station, New Rider's WWW Yellow Pages, The YellowPages.com, Netcenter, NIKOS, and Pronet. (The list keeps expanding.)
Expect a 2-4 week delay from when you submit the information to when people can find you through one of these directories. (For Yahoo, which is one of the most popular, it sometimes takes as long as two months for a submission to be entered.)
Other similar services include wURLd Presence and SubmitAll.
If your site is for a school (K-12), then register with Web 66, the Internet's oldest and most comprehensive list of school web sites.
If your site is for a retail business, you should consider getting listed in "Malls" -- many of which consist largely of pointers to other sites and many of which provide these pointers for free. For a list, check the Index of Commerical Databases and Malls, posted by the Multimedia Marketing Group http://www.mmgco.com/top100.html
Many sites are setting up telephone-book style directories that have "yellow pages" sections for businesses and include phone number, address, email, and URL, when that information is available. Some accept and post this information for free. Others post basic information for free and charge for more extensive information. Most of these start with info extracted from regular phone books, but will accept business listings from companies that aren't included in the printed "yellow pages" books. Keep an eye on these sites. The rules of the game keep changing, and new opportunities keep opening up. Here's a starters list of such sites:
With another announcement service -- PostMaster at http://www.netcreations.com/postmaster/index.html -- you fill out a form and your announcement is posted to more than a dozen Web sites for free. For a price, they'll send the posting to a much larger list of web sites, and print and broadcast media outlets. There are also a number of other service companies that will help you for a fee (check Netpost at http://www.netpost.com ).
Whatever way you decide to go, make sure that you can tailor your messages for the audience -- you don't want your submission to look the same as hundreds of others and hence go unnoticed. You also want to be able to keep records of who you send your messages to and to track success.
Remember that while it's hard work to do it all individually by hand, you're liable to learn a lot more about the Internet doing it yourself rather than depending on someone else to do it for you.
Whatever the subject matter of your Website, there's probably at least one and maybe dozens of newsgroups that would be appropriate for a brief announcement.
The group for general announcements of new Web sites is: comp.infosystems.www.announce
Always read samples from a newsgroup before posting there to make sure your message is appropriate and so you can tailor your message to the audience. You can probably get a list of newgroups from your newsreader software or your Internet provider. Another source on the Web, which also has useful how-to and netiquette explanations is at the University of Indiana -- http://scwww.ucs.indiana.edu/NetRsc/usenet.html
For example, if you site is non-commercial and related to education, you might want to try some of the following: k12.ed.soc-studies (social studies), k12.chat.teacher (teachers), k12.library (school librarians), alt.education.alternative , or alt.education.distance
There are numerous public email lists which are similar in content to newsgroups. Typically, you sign up using automatic subscription software (sending messages in fixed format to the appropriate address). Just like with newsgroups, people do not want to be bothered with irrelevant messages and unsolicited advertising.
Two of the many sites which maintain lists of such email lists and instructions on how to use them are: http://www.nova.edu/Inter-Links/listserv.html and http://tile.net/listserv They can tell you the right format in which to send your email messages to subscribe and unsubscribe to these groups. Some require you to be a subscriber before you can post, and others are open to any appropriate postings. Be sure not to post a commercial message to a clearly non-commercial list or you will get inundated with hate mail. And beware of subscribing to too many lists yourself -- a single list might generate dozens of messages a day, which is great if you're very interested in the subject matter, but otherwise soon becomes a nuisance. And if you do send messages to these lists, keep them as short as possible, as a courtesy to others. If you want to convey a long message, point them to a site where they can fetch it, or invite individauls to send you email requesting that document.
For a searchable directory of over 48,000 email discussions/distribution lists, try Liszt http://www.liszt.com/
Some non-commercial lists related to education include:
The best of the many email and Web discussion lists dealing with the topic of Internet Marketing died in June of 1996. Glenn Fleischmann had done an excellent job of moderating and maintaining this free service, which reached an audience of about 10,000 people. The archives of Internet-Marketing Discussion are still maintained at http://www.i-m.com/
The readers and contributors who feel its absence should consider the following alternatives:
Business on the WWW chat session http://www.boston.com/ enter keyword "chat"
Scheduled for Thursdays, noon to1 PM (Eastern time in the US). Host = Richard Seltzer
This is the home site for a listserv for people in Asia who are trying to figure out how to best use the Internet for marketing. (To join the list, "subscribe aim" on first line of an email to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Guerrilla Marketing Online http://www.gmarketing.com/tactics/forum.html
Forum for sharing marketing ideas.
Web Consultants mailing list (1200 subscribers) http://just4u.com/webconsultants/
The site have the archive of the mailing list discussion but a directory of consultants and other Internet marketing resources. The discussion is available by email either complete or as a digest. To subscribe to the digest send a message to email@example.com in the body of the message type: subscribe webcons-digest To subscribe to the complete discussion list send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org In the body of the message type: subscribe web-consultants
Intranut -- nuts about Intranets (on-line magazine) http://www.intranut.com/
Articles plus a (forum) discussion area.
Internet Marketing Communications Mailing List (IMARCOM)
Discussion moderated by Robert Raisch, The Internet Company, and others within The Internet Company and IWORLD/Mecklermedia. To subscribe, send to IMARCOM @INTERNET.COM Subject: SUBSCRIBE IMARCOM Message: Your Name, Your Company's Name
International business discussion group for small businesses (ISBC BDG)
Send e-mail to email@example.com Include the appropriate one of the following in the body: subscribe isbc-bdg <your e-mail address> or info isbc-bdg Or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Internet-Sales Discussion List (spun off from Internet Marketing in November, 1995) -- 2200 subscribers http://www.mmgco.com/isales.html or IS-SUB@mmgco.com
Marketing Lists on the Internet http://www.bayne.com/wolfBayne/htmarcom/mktglist.html.
List of marketing-related discussion groups.
Internet Developers Association http://www.association.org
Intended for Internet content providers, this association maintains a discussion listserv for its members.
Internet Entrepreneurs Support Association http://www.iess.com/
To join a discussion group for entrepreneurs and businesses doing business on the Internet, send e-mail to email@example.com Include the appropriate one of the following in the body: subscribe iesslist <your e-mail address> or firstname.lastname@example.org
ISBC Business Discussion Group newsletters http://www.isbc.com
As one of the main aims is to foster international business relations editions in french, spanish, german, dutch, russian and chinese are already in place or are being set up.
Abracadabra! (Charles Puls & Company mailist) http://www.abracadabra.com
To join in marketing discussion send email to mailist@abracadabracom with the word SUBSCRIBE in the body.
Conference on "Sales & Marketing Via the Internet" July 22-25 at Michigan State U. http://www.vmarketing.com/odgroup/inet
This is the list that Internet-Marketing originally spun off from. To subscribe, send email to email@example.com in the body of the message, write subscribe Market-L <your name>
This mailing list is a group dedicated to Canadian Internet Marketing. The list is open both to consumers and sellers of goods and services on the Canadian Market. Non-Canadians are welcome to participate. To subscribe, simply send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word subscribe in the body of the message.
This list is dedicated to New-Age Marketing. It is open both to consumers and sellers of goods and services in this market. To subscribe, simply send a note with the word "subscribe" (without the quotes) to: email@example.com
This is a brand new list trying to pick up with Internet Marketing left off. To join send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It seems that new publications of this kind appear every week. Search Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com) and Lycos (http://www.lycos.com) for the latest.
Here's a list of some of them, with the email addresses of editors. Be sure to read the publications before sending them email:
Many traditional print publications now have Internet editions. Search Alta Vista http://www.altavista.digital.com/ and Yahoo http://www.yahoo.com/ for the print publications and editors you are familiar with and want to reach.
Find sites that appeal to an audience that is similar to the audience you want to reach and try to negotiate mutual pointers (for free). Search Alta Vista and Yahoo to find such sites. Similarly, contact any natural allies who are already on-line and negotiate.
Whatever you do on the Internet, strive to understand and respect the culture. This new business environment has enormous potential -- don't pollute it. One of the many useful reference documents on this subject is maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/Provider/Style/Etiquette They also maintain a detailed "Style Guide for Online Hypertext" http://www.w3.org/hypertext/WWW/Provider/Style/Overview.html
To participate in an on-line with Richard Seltzer, discussing Business on the World Wide Web, connect to the Boston Globe's Web site http://www.boston.com/ and enter the key word "chat" Thursdays from noon to 1 PM US Eastern time.
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