Dot Bomb, Dot Gone, Where did Everyone Go?
January 15, 2001

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Reaching Great Minds Online
January 15, 2001 Issue #73
Mike Valentine, Editor,

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Where Did Everyone Go?!
by Mike Banks Valentine

Sunday evening I was updating a page on my site that lists
ezine directory submission pages for my site "members" when
I discovered that nearly a third of those listed directories
were no longer there! Besides apologizing to my faithful site
members for all of the dead links, I spent a substantial part
of my evening discovering other dead links on my site and
taking the time to do a bit of house cleaning.

I'm far from finished in the clean-up, but I have my work cut
out for me over the next few weeks. I thought I would call it
quits for the night when I discovered that the autoresponder
responsible for the majority of my newsletter subscriptions
was no longer working! AAAAAaaargh! No wonder the level of
new subscribers has dropped dramatically over the last few

So I removed the form from a couple of pages and now found
that the third-party service I used to collect "members" at
my site scrambles the list in some unrecognizable fashion
instead of listing the most recent members all in one place
so that I could add them to my own records. I now have to
search for their "sign-up date" from a vast list of everyone
that has ever joined the site. It also includes even those
members that have long since unsubscribed! Oh my . . . !!

I've resigned myself to a bunch of extra work this week.

I guess it's time to stop using free third-party services.

That means I have to implement a paid service. I'm not going
to make the same mistake and use dozens of separate solutions.
I'm going to a single source which will dramatically ease my
administration duties and automate all of the drudgery. I've
wanted to do this for some time but have delayed due to the
substantial cash outlay required to make my work easier.

As with all business expenses, it's just a bit more than I
thought I could afford.

I wrote an article back in September complaining out loud
about the failure of "free" business services and the need
to invest in paid services when they are critically important.

I quote:

"We all have a budget to work within to operate a site profitably
but would it cost you more if that free web host went down than it
would cost to pay for your web hosting? If your email doesn't get
delivered because your free email account suffers from a system
failure, would it hurt your sales or customer relations? If that
online fax service stopped working when you were waiting for a
big contract from a new client, would you be better off upgrading
to the paid version of the service with more benefits?"

<--- Endquote --->

See that article at: Click on #66

Even now I wish I had taken my own advice when it came to the
most important asset I have -- my client list and subscribers!

It's not the first time I've stuck my foot in my mouth when
giving advice. I'm eating humble pie and I'm not even hungry.

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by Bob McElwain

My garage is a mess. It would only take an hour or so to
tuck stuff away where it belongs and toss the rest. But I just
don't seem to get to it.

Leaves that generated precious shade all summer, now cover
the gardens about the house. What's it take to change this?

One of the four bulbs in the wagon-wheel chandelier in my
office has been burned out for months. Bulbs can be found 30
feet from where I sit. And I can replace one while standing
on the floor; I don't even have to get a ladder or a stool.

So what's the problem? Why don't I get these things done?
'Cause I don't wanna.

A Business-Killing Bug

I visited your site, Charlie, as you asked me to. I didn't
find any obvious blunders. No spelling or grammatical errors.
But some of the copy is pretty rough; more polish is clearly
called for. Some fresh content would spruce things up a lot.
And there's a need to spiff up those sales presentations, to
lead your visitors more directly to them.

What was your reply to the above? Something about the lack
of time. I remember that. And you felt all you needed was just
more hits. What you were really saying, Charlie, was, "I don't

When we speak of chores about our home that need doing,
that's one thing. But to say the same about known failings on
our site, it's another. "I-don't-wanna" can be a deadly virus
to any business, one that can destroy it in the end.

Your Newsletter Matters

Your latest newsletter kind of bothered me some way, Jill.
But when I mentioned this to you, your comment was, "I just
don't have the time."

What you meant, Jill, is, "I don't wanna." You feel you
have more important things to do than take the time required
to produce a quality newsletter as you used to do.

It won't work, Jill. Without a top notch newsletter, your
business is headed downhill.

And Growth Matters

We all need more targeted visitors and to grow our subscriber
list. Most know how to accomplish these tasks. But in many
cases we are too quick to rattle off our list of rationalizations
for ducking the chore. Most of which boil down to, "I don't

Search engines and directories are helpful. But it takes
a lot of time to attract a significant number of visitors from
them. Competition is fierce, and it's bound to become even more
intense. Still, we can not afford to ignore these resources.

Then there are reciprocal links, joint ventures, strategic
alliances, and so forth. And above all, advertising.

But in speaking with Pete the other day, he told me flat out
that links don't work for him. And Paula told me she'd lost a
bundle on advertising, that it hadn't produced a dime. When I
suggested a joint venture to Bill, he replied with a long list of
failed efforts. When I asked Betsy how she was doing building
strategic alliances, she asked what the term meant.

Do It, Whether Or Not You Wanna

If your site is not right, more hits won't do you much good.
Fix things right now. Only then does it make sense to look for
ways to produce more targeted traffic.

Then build some links, and consider some form of joint
venture or alliance. If these fundamental tools have not yet
worked for you, figure out why. Then make it happen.

And for sure get to advertising. Remember Ted Turner's words
of advice:

Early to bed, early to rise,
Work like heck, and advertise.

To say advertising does not pay off is to deny the reality
of the world around you. While a case can be made that literally
billions of dollars are wasted on advertising every year, this
says nothing about the potential. You do not need to look far to
find excellent examples of quality advertising that brings great
results. So get to it. Figure a way to make it work for you.

So What About Me?

Just now I'm going to turn off this computer, go clean up my
garage, rake those leaves, and replace that light bulb. Then I
will like the place in which I live better than I do just now.

Then I'm going to crank up this computer again and get down
to business. I'm going to follow my own advice. And I will also
enjoy the results this brings.

Try it! It will work for you!!!

Bob McElwain
Want to build a winning site? Improve one you already
have? Fix one that's busted? Get ANSWERS. Subscribe
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Copyright 2000 Mike Valentine

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  June 10, 2001