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Bigger is NOT Better! Monopoly vs. Microbusiness

Bigger is NOT Better! Monopoly vs. Microbusiness

Thousands of small business webmasters briefly lose their domain names at expiration, due to a simple lack of understanding about the roles of three key players in the drama: domain name registrars, web hosts and internet service providers. Fortunately for most, they learn quickly how to save their web site from oblivion by using the 30 day redemption period for expired domain names enforced by ICANN. One simple solution is to extend domain registration for the maximum ten years. The other solution is to treat domain registrar data as the critical business element it is.

Search the WHOIS database to see who your Registrar is on your business domain! Transfer your domain name to take advantage of our lower prices.

I Can't Remember Where I Purchased My Domain Name!

It wasn't until my third client had called asking how to regain control of her domain name that I realized that it was a common problem for small business webmasters to forget where they had registered their domains. WHOIS my registrar? Why didn't I get an email about renewal? Why did my site stop working today?

People rarely realize how important it is to keep their domain registrar notified of changes to their email address and and other contact information. The registrar will send renewal notifications to the email address last on file. For most domain owners, the only time they think about contacting a registrar is the day they reserve their domain name. If they move to a new city and get a new internet service provider, it doesn't occur to them that the old email address will change and that meeans that the registrar can no longer contact them through the previous address, or phone or fax as each of them change and we rarely notify the controller of our domain of those changes.

Sometimes the first indication a business owner will have that there is a problem is the day their web site stops working. If they failed to notify their domain registrar of changed email address, they may never have received their domain renewal notice. Since many registrars honor a 30 day "redemption period" allowing expired domains to be redeemed, it may be possible to save the registration within 30 days following expiration by contacting registrars during 30 day domain redemption periods.

The following URL leads to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (AKA ICANN) discussing the grace period and redemption period rules it enforces.


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I Wanna Be Rich, But Not Famous
by Mike Banks Valentine

Everyone wants perfection, but they'll settle for good enough, they want riches without earning them, success without the work. Convenience may not be possible while preserving privacy on the web, universal standards without monopolizing browsers, or even operating systems, may not be possible.

This is all crap of course but it's the talk of "lesser evils" that monopoly-corporate-megagoons engage in to justify ruling the world, or at least the world wide web. Microsoft .Net is the same as IBM Websphere is the same as Sun microsystem's net variant. Comcast is watching you while you surf and everyone is up in arms about it while AOL is doing precisely the same and MSN no doubt has it's plans to do that if they aren't already.

Business competition is the only thing short of government regulation that keeps the biggest monopoly from accomplishing domination of their industry . We need more variety in browsers, operating systems and authentication schemes but our biggest-is- best mentality prevents or squashes that need with convenience.

Microsoft is struggling to make Windows the only operating system while AOL wants to be the only Internet provider ("It's so easy, No wonder it's number one!"). Of course Microsoft would lose the browser war for good if AOL became the only internet provider because AOL has their own browser, two, if you count the wheezing Netscape browser that they bought and then destroyed.

This absurd runaround between two or three companies destroys innovation by buying it up and swallowing it whole as Netscape was eaten alive and destroyed by AOL in that senseless buyout.

Innovation dies as the small entrepreneurs first become successful and then begin to compete to become the biggest instead of the best. The strategy then becomes buying out your competitors rather than continue to compete with them.

Apple makes wonderful computers because it must do so if it is to maintain it's tiny market share. That's the way it should be in a free market society.

I'd like to propose that our economy is in a shambles today only because we trudge endlessly toward bigger-is-better when we should be looking for better solutions. Where there is competition, there is innovation and growth and improvement because better-is-better. Bigger is what leads to an Enron.

Bigger leads to arrogance and disregard to all but profits. Then it is only better if it is more profitable, not really any better. All the little people that were spewed out by corporate failures and mergers are the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. They are out there innovating and creating and inventing the big ideas that will take down the behemoths that they left. They innovate to survive, invent to make things better. I want to do the same. But I think I'd like to stop when I get rich, before becoming famous and arrogant.

Mike Valentine does Search Engine Placement for the Small Business http://SEOptimism.com

WebSite101 "Reading List" Weekly Netrepreneur Tip Sheet Weekly Ezine emphasizing small business on the Internet http://website101.com/arch/
Guest Article
Online Advertising Sinks into the Abyss!
by Lee Traupel

Back in the ancient days of 1994 when Mark Andreesen and his band of hardy programmers were inventing a ground-breaking product/application/way of life called a browser, a dedicated group of entrepreneurs started publishing Netsurfer Digest a modern day "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" for the web. I subscribed to this wonderful newsletter and reference guide back in those heady days of yesteryear and have been a loyal subscriber and advocate since then. Sadly on this past Sunday I received notice that Netsurfer was moving to a paid subscrip- tion only model and would no longer be able to continue publishing their three primary newsletters by utilizing inserted ads as their sole source of revenue.

Netsurfer became the proverbial canary in the coalmine that succumbed to the hazardous winds blowing across the online advertising market. They simply couldn't build a sustainable business model via ad inserts, even by delivering a million impressions a month to an upscale, well educated, target rich demographic group. This denouement has broad implications to many who are dependent on advertising supported business models. If this wonderful award winning publication with excellent graphics, topical information delivered in snappy "let's get to the point" journalism can't make it then it's time to batten down the hatches - the rough ride is still underway for online advertising.

What's worse in my opinion is the founders of Netsurfer Communications said they were throwing in the towel and moving to a paid subscription model because they didn't want to be a part of the intrusive (my words paraphrasing a bit) online ad technology that has become so "annoying." You have to give them significant karma points for this brave stance, especially when you contrast it to the "greed is great" news that's been hitting us all via the Enron debacle - thank God for real entrepreneurs who are putting their ethics ahead of their revenue stream, there may be some hope in the business community after all.

So, what does this mean to the broader community? It means it's getting increasingly difficult to make a buck/euro selling advertising without selling your soul to the devil by deploying increasing invasive (does anyone really like pop ups?) technology that may irritate the hell out of your customers. Ad rates are plummeting, even the once mighty Yahoo is struggling to make revenue and their sales reps even return calls now, which is definitely au contraire to their I'm too busy to talk with customers .com glory days.

You couldn't read a Fast Company or a Business 2.0 the last two years without reading some slick article by another reporter breathlessly telling us how the Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones) was pioneering the concept of building a viable online content subscription revenue model. This is hogwash, if we all had the type of branded content, excellent editors and the sterling reputation of one of the top five newspapers published in the world then this model would work for thousands of unique content publishers. But, most do not even have the subscriber base and branded content of a Netsurfer Digest - stay tuned to see if this model works for the Netsurfer folks (I hope so); but don't hold your breath, I don't think they will be ordering their $1,500. Herman Miller chairs right and left like the folks at Webvan and Quokka Sports - VC bucks don't come around like they used to, but that's another article.

I don't have any silver bullets for those who are headed down the track of trying to sell advertising supported newsletters and/or shift to a subscription model. The obvious advice is this may work, but you better have other revenue sources that leverage your demographics. And, if you don't have mutually reinforcing revenue streams, then take a hard look at your business and modify accordingly. The greatest shift in online advertising is via opt-in e-mail marketing - we all want to receive information that is timely, informative and presented in a compelling manner. So, find a business model that lets you narrowcast products and services to a community of people who want to receive content (contact) from your company - good luck to all and by the way, signup for Netsurfer's paid subscription newsletter - I did, we all have to vote with our visa cards once in a while to keep the karmic balance on an even plane.


Lee Traupel has 20 plus years of marketing experience - he is the co-founder of Intelective Communications, Inc. http://www.intelective.com, a marketing services company which provides strategic and tactical marketing services exclusively to small to medium sized companies. His articles on interactive marketing have been widely published via: Internet.com, Europublic, Adventive, Yahoo, SitePoint, WorkZ, Wilson Web, BuyerZone, National Business Association, Traffick, and many other sites and publications.

He can be reached at Lee@intelective.com


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